Friday, December 26, 2014

2015 All Bugs Good and bad Seminar Series

The eXtension All Bugs Good and Bad Webinar series is set to resume Feb. 6, 2015. Dr. Kathy Flanders, an entomologist with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, says the 2015 series will continue to emphasize good and bad insects that affect people every day.

“This webinar series will feature insects that affect homeowners and gardeners,” says Flanders. “These insects fall into two categories and we hope to provide information that is beneficial when treating your gardens or crops, pest-proofing your home and yard, and protecting your family and pets.  One webinar will venture outside the insect world to discuss the small mammals that share our backyards.”

Webinars will be held the first Friday of each month at 2 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The first webinar in the 2015 series will discuss how to use pesticides safely and effectively. "Pesticide Strategy: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly," presented by Kaci Buhl, Coordinator, National Pesticide Information Center, will be Friday, Feb. 6 at 2 p.m.

Charles Pinkston, a regional Extension home grounds agent, will be moderating the Feb. 6 webinar. He says it is imperative to follow the directions when using pesticides.

“All too often people think that if a little is good, more is better,” Pinkston says. “Using more pesticide than is directed is not only illegal, it can be dangerous and lead to secondary pest outbreaks.”

Upcoming webinar topics include fire ants, termites, beneficial garden helpers, and insect-borne diseases affecting people.

Flanders says The All Bugs Good and Bad Webinar series is designed to provide useful tips for those interested in solid, research-based information.

More information can be found at 2015 All Bugs Good and Bad Webinar Series including how to connect to the webinars.  On Feb. 6, participants can use this link to connect to the webinar. Participants can login as a guest within 15 minutes of the start of the webinar.  Webinars will be archived and can be found on the 2015 All Bugs Good and Bad Webinar Series page.

The 2015 webinars are a continuation of the nine webinars in the 2014 All Bugs Good and Bad Webinar Series,  That series included webinars on pollinator health, termites, spiders, ticks, mosquitoes, fire ants, kudzu bug and brown marmorated stink bug.  Links to view these archived webinars can be found here.

The 2015 Webinars are brought to you by the Imported Fire Ants, Urban IPMDisasters, and Pesticide Environmental Stewardship eXtension Communities of Practice; and by the Alabama Cooperative Extension System and the University of Georgia Center for Urban AgricultureKathy Flanders is the series coordinator.  Amanda Tedrow, University of Georgia Extension Agents, assists with marketing.   Shawn Banks, North Carolina State University Extension Agent moderates the text chat during webinars.

Upcoming Webinars in the First Friday of the Month 2014 Series

February 6, 2015 — Pesticide Strategy: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Presented by Kaci Buhl, Coordinator, National Pesticide Information Center
Moderated by Charles Pinkston and Danielle Carroll, Alabama Cooperative Extension System Regional Extension Agents

March 6, 2015 — Fire Ant Management Using Baits

Presented by Dr. Lawrence "Fudd" Graham
Moderated by Charles Pinkston and Bethany O'Rear, Alabama Cooperative Extension System Regional Extension Agents, and Vicky Bertagnolli-Heller, Clemson Cooperative Extension Consumer Horticulture Agent and Master Gardener Coordinator

April 3, 2015 —Common Termites of the Southern United States: Biology, Behavior, and Management

Presented by Dr. Robert Puckett
Moderated by Mallory Kelley and Ellen Huckabay, Alabama Cooperative Extension System Regional Extension Agents

Friday, December 12, 2014

Striped bark scorpion

With  the weather getting cooler, many pests may try to come inside to stay cozy through the colder months.  One of the common culprits we see in Central Texas is the striped bark scorpion.   If you discover them outside I would leave them alone. They are predators and can help cut down on some of the insects that you have in the yard. When I find them in the house, I scoop them up on a piece of paper and shuffle them back outside. If you don't quite have my love for critters with more than four legs, then you can use exclusion techniques to keep them outside where they belong.

Some ideas to keep scorpions outside include:

Striped bark scorpion.
  • Remove harborage areas around the structure.  I know it's really convenient to have your firewood stacked up next to the house and back door, but that is a perfect hiding place for scorpions. They then are not only really close to the door to get in that way, but they can be carried in with the fire wood.  You also should move any piles of rocks, bricks, landscape timbers or other debris away from the house.
  • Keep vegetation trimmed away from the house and the lawn mowed.
  • Do not store firewood inside or if you choose to do so (like me) don't be surprised to find some critters in there on occasion.
  • Make sure that weather stripping around doors and windows provides a good seal.  This will not only keep out unwanted pests, but can help reduce energy bills.
  • If you have a brick or stone facade on your home, use copper mesh to block weep holes.  You don't want to seal them completely as they help air to move through wall void areas.
  • Seal any cracks, crevices or pipe penetrations around the outside of the structure with sealant that will expand and contract with Texas weather conditions.
  • Trim back any trees that touch or overhang the house.  Scorpions and other pests (including furry ones) can use these as a bridge to get onto the roof and from there into the attic.
If you've done all of that and are still having problems, try a pesticide residual spray around the foundation of the home.