Urban IPM

Friday, December 7, 2018

2018 Holiday Gift Wish List

It's that time of year again!  Do you have an arthropod lover in your family?  If so, then here are some great gift ideas!

Metal "beetle" art piece by Paul Sumner.
Metal "beetle" art piece by Paul Sumner.
First up is an art piece that I find utterly charming.  The artist is Paul Sumner and you can find his work here. I think that he calls his pieces beetles, but I think they look more like cockroaches (big shock why I love them....).  I found this one particularly unique because it is made from a can of Black Flag insecticide.  What can be more ironic?

Cicada brooch by Molly Burgess Designs.
Cicada brooch by Molly Burgess Designs.

The next one is fiber art cicada brooch by Molly Burgess Designs.  You can find her items on both Instagram and Etsy.  She has both larger plush items that you can hang on the wall, or smaller plush items that can be worn as a brooch.  She also takes custom orders if you are interested in that.  I am awaiting the piece that I ordered from her and very much looking forward to it!

Bee spoon ring by Spoonier.
Bee spoon ring by Spoonier.
Item number three is a piece of jewelry- a bee spoon ring- from an artist that I purchased from earlier in the year (my items had a dragon and griffin on them instead of insects).  Spoonier takes antique spoons and turns them into spoon rings and bracelets.  You can find their items for sale on Etsy, but you can also follow them on Instagram.

Plush spider by Alvamade Toys.
Plush spider by Alvamade Toys.
Alvamade Toys makes plush toys and sells on Etsy.  I love her plush spiders!  You can also follow her on Instagram here.  She not only makes plush spider toys, but also other items such as Pokemon, mushrooms, owls, raccoons, pigs, cows, and various other creatures.

Butterfly wing pendant by Elemental Urchin.
Butterfly wing pendant by Elemental Urchin.
If you are looking for a necklace charm, Elemental Urchin has created beautiful pendants that encase butterfly wings.  She also has some really cute whales, octopodes, and other creatures.  You can buy her items on Etsy and follow here on Instagram here.

Pillbugs by Art by Ariel.
Pillbugs by Art by Ariel.

The next item is another clever piece of art that my husband came across. It's from Art by Ariel and she sells on Society 6 here and you can follow her on Instagram here.  I love the print because it's such a good pun.....get it? .....Pillbugs.....

Yellies! by Hasbro.
Yellies! by Hasbro.

The last item is mass-produced, but still fantastic.  One of the "hot toys" of the season is called a Yellies!  It's a mechanical plush spider, but that's not all.  Apparently, the more you yell at it, the faster it moves.  That's some serious therapy for arachnophobes out there!

Here's hoping that you have a wonderful holiday season!

Friday, October 19, 2018

Rain and imported fire ants

imported fire ant moundSo last time I posted about rain and mosquitoes.  I thought I needed to follow up that post with one on rain and imported fire ants, especially since it's still raining.

I've been getting a fair number of inquiries about imported fire ants as of late.  There are usually two categories of questions that I've been fielding:

1. What happens to fire ants when it floods?

2. How do I control all the fire ants that are popping up?

I have covered both of these topics before and they are also covered on other sites with great information, so I will link you to sources for more information.

Question 1

Flooding and fire ants from a previous blog post

Scientific American article on how fire ants form rafts to survive floods

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Disaster Education Network article on fire ants after flooding

Question 2

Do you have fire ants? from a previous blog post- covers different basic types of treatments

Baiting for fire ants in the fall also from a previous blog post

Treating fire ants in certain backyard situations also from a previous blog post- this one covers "odd" areas like veggie gardens, compost bins, etc.

IPM action plan for fire ants from eXtension.org


Friday, October 5, 2018

Rain and mosquitoes

With all of the rain that we have received lately and more on the way, it's understandable for people to be concerned about mosquitoes.  I'm not going to rehash everything here in this post, but I will direct you to past posts on mosquito topics.

I do want to let people know of floodwater mosquitoes which are different from our normal culprits.  I usually get the statement of the "huge mosquito" or a "mosquito that REALLY hurts when it bites" or a "mosquito that tried to carry them away".  These are the floodwater mosquitoes that come out after we have heavy rains.  These mosquitoes lay their eggs in areas that water will reach during flooding conditions (or heavy rainfall).  Fortunately, they can also be repelled with mosquito repellent.  The EPA has a site that can help you choose a mosquito repellent here.

As for other mosquito information, remember the following:
  1. Stay indoors during peak mosquito hours*- dawn & dusk
    1. *please note that some Aedes mosquitoes are day time feeders while some Culex are night time feeders in addition to being active at dusk and dawn, so precaution should be taken whenever outside
  2. Eliminate standing water
    1. Dispose of old tires or cover them with a tarp to keep off rain
    2. Clean out gutters and downspouts
    3. Bird baths, pet water dishes, etc. should be emptied and refilled twice a week
    4. Store containers so they do not hold water
  3. Keep grass mowed to a proper length & vegetation trimmed (mosquitoes like to rest in thick vegetation)
  4. Repair leaky faucets or A/C lines that produce condensate
  5. In permanent standing water areas, use things like mosquito fish or Bt israelensis (dunks)
  6. Keep window screens in good repair
  7. Use repellents when going outside (follow label instructions).
For mosquito & mosquito disease information see this page for more information:

For information about heartworms (transmitted to pets by mosquitoes) see this page: