Urban IPM

Friday, October 17, 2014

FREE Webinars! Alien Invasions! Zombie! Decapitation! (it is getting close to Halloween.....)

Did you miss the webinar from this month?  It's right in theme with the month of October and even has zombies!

All Bugs Good and Bad Webinar Series

Alien Invasions, Zombies Underfoot and Billions of Decapitated Fire Ants

This webinar was presented by Dr. Sandford Porter, a Research Entomologist in the Imported Fire Ants and Household Insects group of USDA ARS Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology.  It was moderated by Nelson Wynn, Regional Extension Agent, Alabama Cooperative Extension Service.

To watch the recorded webinar, go here and click the watch recording button on the top right.

The next webinar will be held on Friday, November 7, 2014 at 1PM CDT.  The topic is a good one entitled "Where have all the honey bees gone? Hope for the future."

Why do we have fewer honeybees these days?  What caused the decline?  What can we do to help?  These questions and more will be answered in this webinar presented by Dr. John Skinner, a Professor in the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology at the University of Tennessee. Moderated by Sallie Lee, Regional Extension Agent, Alabama Cooperative Extension System.  Click here to login as a guest and participate in the live event.  For more webinars in this series, see All Bugs Good and Bad 2014 Webinar Series. The webinars are brought to you by the following eXtension Communities of Practice: Imported Fire Ants, Urban IPM, Bee Health, Invasive Species and Gardens and Landscapes; and by the Alabama Cooperative Extension System

Again, if you want to see the FREE bee webinar, then click here on Friday, November 7th at 1PM CDT.  If you can't make it then, it will be recorded for viewing later.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Baiting for fire ants in the fall

Broadcast baiting for imported fire ants in the fall can help reduce the number of fire ant mounds see in the fall and spring.

Tips for baiting:

  • Make sure the bait is fresh
    • fire ants pick bait up as food, if bait is rancid they will not pick it up
    • fresh bait should have a nutty or corn-like scent (unless it's spinosad bait which smells differently than other baits)
    • rancid bait smells sour
  • Apply bait when fire ants are foraging
  • Red imported fire ant mound.
    • on hot days, fire ants forage in the evening when it's cooler
    • if you are unsure if fire ants are foraging, place out a hotdog slice or potato chip next to a mound and check back for activity after about 15 minutes
  • Broadcasting baits can save time by not having to locate each mound in your yard
    • Broadcasting can also help to get smaller mounds that you may not notice
    • Baits applied at lower rates (1-2 pounds per acre) should be applied using a hand held spreader set on the LOWEST setting
    • Baits applied at rates higher than 1-2 pounds per acre may be applied using a push/ drop spreader calibrated according to label instructions
  • Do NOT water in baits
    • If baits get wet, they become unattactive to fire ants
      • apply baits when rain is not expected for at least 24 hours
      • turn off sprinkler systems
      • apply baits after dew has burned off the grass
  • Organize a community wide fire ant management program
    • Having neighbors bait for fire ants at the same time can help push re-invasion boundaries further out
      • studies show community wide management can reduce the number of fire ants within the community, reduce the amount of money spent on fire ant management and reduce the amount of chemical placed into the environment
  • Make sure to read & follow all label instructions, including utilizing the correct application equipment


Friday, September 19, 2014

Green June beetles

It's the time of year that Green June beetles are spotted in large clusters around Central Texas.  These beetles are velvety green, about one inch long and 1/2 an inch wide.  The top is a dull green with yellow-brown markings on the wings and the underside is bright, metallic green with yellow-orange markings.  Larvae are creamy white, c-shaped larvae with well developed head capsules and legs.  Larvae (also called grubs) can grow over an inch in length.

Green June beetle. Photo by Drees.
Adults are large and conspicuous.  They like to eat thin-skinned fruits (such as grapes, peaches, figs and others) or fermented fruits and some flowers.  Adults may also be found on trees that are oozing sap, but the beetles are not causing the sap to ooze from the tree. Larvae feed in the soil and eat plants such as turfgrass, vegetables and ornamental plants.  Grubs often will emerge from the soil at night and crawl on their backs instead of using their short legs.  Grubs may cause small mounds of soil on the turf that may be mistaken for fire ant mounds or earthworm castings.

To check for grubs, which are the damaging stage, cut several 4" x 4" soil sections in different areas of the turf and look in the root zone and soil for presence of grubs.  It is possible to have grubs in the turf and not see any damage.  If a turf is kept healthy, then it can withstand some damage from insects.

If you feel the need to treat for grubs, you can try nematodes or pesticides.  When choosing nematodes, be aware that they require moist soil to move and parasitize prey.  If you are under watering restrictions, this may not be a feasible option.  Pesticides come in granular or liquid formulations with systemic (i.e. the active ingredient imidacloprid) or contact (i.e. the active ingredient cyfluthrin) modes of action.  Contact products need to come in contact with the grub for it to kill the insect, so it will require watering in to carry any pesticide to the soil where the grubs are located.  Systemic products also require watering in, but the turf will take up the active ingredient into the roots and the grub will get a dose when it feeds on the turf.  Granular products should be applied with a properly calibrated spreader and then watered in.  Always read and follow all label instructions.