Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween! Today I discuss spiders!

If you have heard me speak about indoor pest control, you most likely have heard me talk about trying to encourage people to not kill spiders they find in the house. The spiders can help to capture and take care of other insects that may be a problem in the home, so leaving them in place is part of a good IPM program. I also often answer the question of what I do for pest control in my own home. Since hubby and I are both entomologists, we really don't get too worked up about many things being in the house. Most things we either leave alone or capture and throw outside. There are some things that I do squish- flies that drive me crazy in the kitchen while I'm trying to cook or silverfish that plague the bathroom (one day the wallpaper will be gone and hopefully with it the silverfish problem). The fire ants in the yard are also baited for each spring and fall followed with treating any mounds that pop up with boiling water.

But spiders....we tend to leave them be. We've had the spider in the photo hanging out right by the kitchen sink for over a month now. No, it's not for Halloween decorating purposes (although that would also be suitable), it's not harming anyone so I leave it alone and it takes care of any other things that wander along. I have a window right above my kitchen sink along with a fly light just to the right of the sink, so it's a great place for a spider web. As you can see it's captured a beetle for breakfast.

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