Other Pests… F-M
Filth-breeding flies, as their name implies, utilize garbage, feces or manures, dead animals and other sources of “filth” for reproductive purposes. The bacteria and waste materials from these sources turn flies on. They lay eggs on such sources and the larvae or maggots which hatch from said eggs thrive in these conditions. The adults enjoy a taste-treat when visiting these places of fly-delight. They suck it up with their sponge-tube mouth parts. Now none of this would be a problem, if only these insects would remain static, as being one with the pile — as flies do play an essential role in the drama of life on earth, but we’ll get to that in a bit. They don’t stick in one place for long, though, because, also as their name implies, they fly. They visit houses and farms, restrooms and restaurants, backyards and bathrooms. And try to have a picnic. If flies are in the neighborhood, they’ll probably visit you and your picnic-fare. The foods, too, they’ll stand ankle deep in while they eat. And this where the problems begin: flies spread germs. When flies are tap dancing on your watermelon, having a good old time, dead animal and poop-pile bacteria are hoping off, thanking the flies for the ride. Flies and pestilence are synonymous. They have been known to spread bacteria which cause diseases.
In retaliation, we kill them. You can start with sound manure management (substitute “manure” with your filth of choice). Clean it up; compost it; haul it off; these are all good ways to deal the stuff flies are bred on. Trapping also helps. Especially with those pesky flies which fly in from other places — before they decide to breed somewhere on your lot. There are many kinds of traps which, basically, all have one thing in common: a stinky bait of some sort. Some of the traps come with a bait prepared and enclosed (just add water), while others provide the bait and/or a recipe to make it yourself. The recipes tend to be a bit on the disgusting side. Another way to deal with flies it to employ some of their natural enemies. There are many fly pupae-parasitic species which are commercially available. All have small differences which make some species more productive at times, while others more productive at other times. This is why “Fly Parasitoids” are typically supplied as a mixture of species. They are usually implemented in a series of releases throughout the fly season so as to obtain their maximum benefit. Species include Muscidifurax raptor, M. raptorellus, M. zaraptor, Spalangia cameroni, S. endius and others fly parasites work very well. Parasitic nematodes can also be effective if used against the larval maggots. And one last thing, which is pretty new, is to use a probiotic on the manure. A probiotic will eliminate the fly-attracting odors and thus reduce the influx of adult flies. Between all of these choices, control is an obtainable thing without the chemicals.
Fleas are bloodsuckers and prey on mammals. They attack most dogs and cats, and many pet owners as well. They get into homes and breed in lawns. Mighty big pests for being such little ‘uns. However, the bigger they are (in the pest sense), the harder they fall. And fleas fall hard. Keeping them off your dog or cat is the key to keeping them out of your home. But we have no solid information on how this is done without using chemicals. Fleas can be controlled in the home and in the yard with a couple of things. These are diatomaceous earth (DE) and Parasitic Nematodes. DE, when sprinkled on carpets and swept into the fibers kills all sorts of household pests, fleas included. And the feedback we’ve gotten about the use of plain-Jane Steinernema carpocapsae parasitic nematodes to kill fleas in lawns is truly outstanding. If your pet stays in the yard, Parasitic Nematodes can solve all of your flea problems. Killing them at the source keeps them off of your pet (again, if he or she stays in the yard) and will thus keep them out of your home. It does work and it works well.
Flea beetles are small, about two to three millimeters, depending of species. They are blue to black in color, shiny — some metallic — and they hop like fleas; hence their name. Alone they do minute amounts of damage. A little hole or two. But flea beetles don’t work alone and, when combined in vast numbers, their damage is akin to that of which would be caused by some bird shot. Their tiny larval and pupal forms are found in areas lying adjacent to your green and cole crops. The adults move from overwintering places in the spring. They feed on your plants as soon as they find them. Additionally, they lay eggs near these plants, and the subsequent larvae feed on the roots. Fortunately the larvae and pupae fall victim to parasitic nematodes. The same is true of row covers. Between blasting millions of them with soap when your timing is right and you find them moving in, and using Parasitic Nematodes to take care of the offspring of the ones which do make it through, you will find control.
These large yellow-tan to green two to five centimeter insects spell doom by way of large-scale crop losses for many growers-especially for those farmers who make use of the wide open spaces out west for the production of grains, grasses and corn. Grasshoppers eat plants causing ragged holes in the leaves. In fact, grasshoppers can take down entire plants. And if enough grasshoppers reside in, or swarm to, areas in sufficient numbers, mass destruction of complete fields may ensue. These pests lay their eggs in the ground, but parasitic nematodes would have little effect as grasshoppers prefer dry, sandy soils and nematodes require moisture for hunting and survival. There is one product, though, which does seem to work well, and is inexpensive enough that it can be utilized by the large-scale farmers in the west. This product is a bran flake bait which is tainted with a pathogen called Nosema locustae. This pathogen spells disfigurement and death to grasshoppers. Timing, though, is very important. The grasshoppers must consume the bait in their immature stages — specifically their second to third instar of development. Other controls may be noteworthy. Some neem-based products are labeled for grasshopper control but, like N. locustae, timing is critical because the active ingredient in neem is azadirachtin, which is an insect-growth regulator (IGR ), and targets the immature stages — it prevents them from developing into adults.
The larvae of these moths have been really bad. They eat trees. Many species of trees fall prey to these unremarkable-looking, smoke-colored to brownish defoliating caterpillars-with a preference for oak. They begin life as eggs protected in tan patches made of a felt-like material firmly attached to the trunks of trees. They then grow to about five centimeters as larvae, before they pupate and emerge as adults capable of egg-laying before the end of the season. There are two types of Gypsy moths: the Asian species and the European. The female moths of the Asian species can fly. Consequently, if that species invades by way the modes of international trade, it could become a widespread pest in a short period of time. The female of the European species-which is well — known in the east where it has become a gradually spreading pest — cannot fly. It is the larvae which can out-maneuver the adults of the European species. The larvae hang from the limbs on which they feed, gradually lowering themselves toward the ground on silken threads, waiting until passersby obligingly carry them away or for wind gusts to “balloon” them to new grounds. The female’s lack of flight has slowed the progress of the invasion of the European species. These moths run in cycles. Using Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), a little bit-o-tree-banding and, of course, the ever-popular attack the egg-masses located within reach.
Other Pests… N-S
Rolly-pollies, pill bugs: The names may be different, but the shape is the same. They look like one centimeter (more or less) blunted armadillos with antennae. Color varies from all shades of grey, to brown, to black, with exotic shades of blue thrown in for good measure. You touch them and they curl up into little balls. They are odd creatures, but not strange insects; they are strange crustaceans. They live under leaf litter, plant debris, within organic matter, and under logs and rocks. They are not terrible plant pests — especially if the plants you’re growing are well established and the sow bugs are in small numbers. If, however, you’re dealing with large numbers of these creatures, or if your plants are mere seedlings, sow bugs can become overwhelming. So what’s to be done? Upon talking to some people who’ve had to deal with them, some solutions were offered. One was a saucer of beer (like that which is sometimes effective for slug and snail control) used to lure and trap these “bugs”. Another simple remedy which was mentioned was to sprinkle corn meal in areas where these pests are seen. Our understanding is that they eat the stuff and can’t digest it. The general consensus has been that the corn starch disappears, the sow bugs thin, and the people who’ve tried it don’t really know to what it should be attributed. Another suggested the use of European quail. The person who suggested this uses these biocontrol agents in a conservatory which was once plagued with sow bugs. The sow bugs are kept in control by the birds. If the situation can tolerate the birds, why not? There many are other recipes for success-mostly baits to poison or trap these creatures. But if none of it works, flipping over logs and stones and debris every morning and simply squashing these pests will.
Ever see a plant which looked like someone spit of it? The spit was probably from spittlebugs. They produce and live in this frothy excretion. The bugs themselves are rarely seen, but average about six millimeters in size and are usually pale yellow in color. They do suck plant juices and, if in abundant numbers, may cause some stunting of plants, but we’ve never heard anyone truly complain about feeding damage or virus transmission as of a result of the presence of these insects. Most comments are directed to the discomfort of offering plants for sale with globs of spit tucked into the branches. Though it is nothing some hose-water can’t take care of. In some crops spittlebugs’ er, nests, are commonly seen. Strawberries is one. You can actively disrupt them with hose water, and yields were excellent.
The larvae of these three centimeter nondescript gray-colored moths are serious pests of conifers. The caterpillars tunnel into needles, twigs, buds and cones of several types of coniferous trees causing extensive damage yearly to conifer-offering nurserymen. Also affected are those who grow Christmas trees and those in the lumber industry. Fortunately, Bacillus thuringiensis (K) (Bt) variety Kurstaki, if sprayed at the right time, will control these pests. Do, however, expect to have to spray a lot of the bacteria-containing substance, especially if you have a large stand to treat (and this is likely with these caterpillars). Trichogramma spp. moth-egg parasitoids may also impact populations of this pestiferous moth species. Again, though, timing will be important. Other non-chemical remedies, to the best of our knowledge, do not exist. Good luck.
Growing to two centimeters, these dark patterned shield-shaped true bugs can be very damaging to squash, melons and others of that family. Their feeding will cause whole shoots to wilt and eventually die back completely as they drain away the plants’ life-giving juices. We wish we could tell you about all kinds of excellent controls for squash bugs, but we can’t. They have no commercially-produced natural enemies. Nor are they taken down by Parasitic Nematodes or Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) strains. Row covers are effective if used until pollination is needed and are placed over planting spaces free of leaf litter and plant debris. Experimentally, we suppose, spined soldier bugs, Podisus maculiventris, could be lured or introduced into a the melon patch — they’re very opportunistic and may predate the squash bugs’ nymphs, but we’re not sure. Moreover, products containing garlic or capsicum wax may repel these pests, or deter their feeding.
Squash Vine Borers
The larvae of these moths are not just interested in squash plants as their names implies, they love many of the cucurbits. The moths are red and gray-black and quite large at approximately three to four centimeters in length. The adults are not damaging, though. They lay their eggs near the base of their preferred plants, and the resulting larval forms burrow into the plants. It is they who cause the stem wilting and dieback. Row covers provide a means of preventing the moths from laying their eggs. However, since the plants require pollination, the covers must be removed when flowering begins. Parasitic Nematodes provide another avenue of control, but must be introduced at the proper time — as the eggs are hatching but before the larvae have a chance to bore into and enter the crown and stems. If your timing is not right, you can still gain the upper hand by injecting the nematodes into the affected stems by way of the bored holes, but this is not a practical solution in anything other than a small scale plot. The injection method of applying nematodes is very time-consuming. Speaking of time consuming, it has been recommended in some books to perform surgery on affected plants by slitting the stem and physically removing the larvae. Additional control can be obtained from azadirachtin, the active ingredient in neem-based products.
Strawberry Root Weevils
These black, armored weevils grow to about eight millimeters and can be major strawberry pests. Moreover, they can impact other fruits, including cane berries, grapes, fruit trees and even some conifers. Like black vine weevils, these insects distinctively notch the leaves of their victims. Additionally, their presence is also felt in the root zone where the larval stages of these pests also feed. Also like black vine weevils, on a very positive note, strawberry root weevils are efficiently controlled with Parasitic Nematodes. Temporary control, due to pollination requirements, can be obtained in certain crops by covering them with a floating row cover. However, this may contain those weevils which began life in the soil of the root zone of the covered plants. It is, therefore, necessary to treat with nematodes prior to covering the plants. Other goods, like garlic and capsicum wax sprays may help repel these pests or deter them from feeding.
Vikane also is the proven solution for many challenging and severe residential and commercial pest infestations including wood-boring beetles, cockroaches, spiders, mice and rats.
A Valuable Asset
The ability of Vikane ® gas fumigant to eliminate all life stages of pests makes it a powerful and essential tool for pest management companies to meet their customers’ needs.
While not as common as drywood termites, wood-destroying beetles are a serious economic threat to a home or other property. A treatment with Vikane gas fumigant penetrates deep into the infested wood for 100 percent pest elimination.
Cockroaches are found all over the United States, and populations can increase rapidly. A treatment with Vikane gas fumigant eliminates infestations in areas that conventional treatments miss or cannot reach.
A high-anxiety pest for most people, some spiders, such as the brown recluse and black widow, can pose a human health threat. A treatment with Vikane gas fumigant penetrates areas where spiders hide.
Mice and Rats
Managing a rodent problem usually involves three steps: cleaning out the infestation, monitoring and maintenance, and sealing openings to prevent entry from the outside. A treatment with Vikane gas fumigant is a proven, effective way to eliminate a rodent population and does so at a relatively low application rate.
*We may not treat all these pests. This page is informational*
There are many other pests that you will encounter while selling, and it is important to know how to identify them, and what their habits are.
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Description: Bed bugs are a reddish brown color, and often found around sleeping areas. They feed during the night on blood. They are attracted to humans through thermal detection. Rather than suck blood, bedbugs bite humans several times extracting whatever blood they can from each site. The multiple bites and the residual saliva often causes rashes or hives. Bed bugs cling to just about anything, and so are often introduced to a home through used clothing, suitcases, brushing against them when in a hotel or a public sleeping area. During the day they hide in the creases of a mattress or in the cracks and crevices of furniture. You can tell if you have bedbugs because of the bite marks, which usually leaves bloody residue on sheets.
Life Cycle: Bedbugs can live up to a year. Small black eggs are laid in the cracks and crevices of furniture or inside the creases of mattresses. The eggs look like feces because they are so small.
Description: Carpet beetles can live just about anywhere in the home where there is textile, carpet, clothing, or food such as a pantry. It can eat wool, hair, horn, dead skin, fathers, carpet, flour, wheat, and more. They are often found outside in the spring and summer, but can come inside through plants. They can also fly through open doors and windows. In times where there isn’t food present, they can live up to two years surviving on their own discarded skin.
Life Cycle: They lay 30-60 eggs early summer. The eggs hatch quickly after about two weeks.
Description: Centipedes, like spiders, eat other insects. They have a poisonous bite similar to a bee sting. They are extremely fast and grow more legs as they molt with age. Centipedes are nocturnal, but can still be seen during the day in moist and dark areas.
Life Cycle: Centipedes lay their egg in the soil during the summer, and move inside as it gets hot or cools down. Centipedes live anywhere from 1-5 years.
Description: They are reproductive masters, laying more than 500 eggs at a time. They are very attractive to spiders and centipedes, and mostly live outside. They can be very annoying when they get inside though, as males rub their wings together to create a noise to attract females.
Life Cycle: With the ability to lay more than 500 eggs at a time, up to 3 times each year, crickets can be a nightmare if they colonize inside the home.
Description: These insects don’t often climb inside the ear, and their pincher is not strong enough to cause much damage to the skin, although is used for defense. Instead they eat plant material, and can often be found around mulch, decaying matter, and inside the home where there is some rot or decay.
Life cycle: Earwigs lay 50 eggs at a time, which can result in infestations in enclosed areas.
Size: about 1/16” to 1/8”
Description: These brown or black bugs can transmit plague and murine typhus. Fleas typically are more of a nuisance and danger to pets such as dogs and cats than they are to humans. Because fleas suck blood, chances are high they are inside the home if you allow pets inside. Fleas can jump about 6”, allowing them to catch a ride inside your home by jumping onto your shoe or pants. If you are in an area where fleas are common, it is often necessary to treat pets with a shampoo or food that changes the composition of oil of the pets that repels fleas.
Life Cycle: Fleas lay 5-8 eggs every time they feed, resulting in over 500 eggs laid during their lifetime. Eggs hatch as quickly as in 2 days, allowing for infestations to occur quickly. Fleas don’t always suck on fresh blood. In fact, most fleas are required to chew on dry fecal blood to finish developing. When fleas hatch, they stay in a cocoon for up to 20 weeks before emerging. The cocoons aren’t affected by pesticide, so it is often hard to treat for fleas using traditional methods. Vibrations from vacuuming the carpet encourage the fleas to come out and allows for better treatment.
Size: 1/16” to 4 1/2”
Description: These bugs live in moist and dark areas. They typically live outside in mulch or under rocks, but as those areas get too wet, they are forced out in masses, often into the home. They reproduce and molt extremely fast, so usually when one is seen, more are soon to follow. They don’t bite, but do secrete an oil that causes blisters if in contact with skin.
Life Cycle: 100-300 eggs are laid in soil or decaying matter during the summer. When the eggs hatch, most survive over the winter and will mate the following year. Most will live several years.
Description: These are also called roly-polies, because of the way they curl into a ball when threatened. This bug isn’t an insect, but an arthropod. Pillbugs are sensitive to water loss, and so spend most of their time under rocks, trash, mulch, or other decaying material. They can only survive inside if there is a lot of immediate water available, due to them being a land dwelling crustacean.
Life Cycle: Eggs are laid in a pouch of the pillbug. After about 45 days the eggs will hatch. They live for about 2 years.
Description: Silverfish are nocturnal and like to hide, but can often be seen after a light is turned on. They have a dust on their body that is hard to clean after being smashed. Silverfish have a unique diet, and prefer to eat starchy foods, such as book bindings, wallpaper, toothpaste, newspaper, etc. They look like a teardrop shaped fish, with several appendages. They can cause damage to all kinds of silk, cotton, synthetic fibers, glue, and even leather.
Life Cycle: They can live for several years, and can survive without food for a year. Eggs are laid daily.
Description: Scorpions come in many different colors, but most are reddish brown or yellow. Scorpions are active at night, and like spiders eat other bugs, including other scorpions. Scorpions like cool areas to live, so typically live inside retaining walls, concrete walls, inside air ducts, or in attics. It is common for them to travel along the outside of water pipes and find their way into bathrooms and kitchens. Because scorpions are so active and curious at night, by the time morning comes along, they will hide just about anywhere, which is why they can be found in shoes, clothes, sand boxes, etc. They have both claws (pedipalps) and a stinger, that is similar to a wasp sting. They capture food using their pedipalps, then sting the prey repeatedly.
Life Cycle: Babies are born straight from the female, and then live on the mother’s back anywhere from a week to a month. Adults can live for several years.
Description: Ticks require three hosts throughout their lifetime. When they first hatch, they often host on small rodents while larvae. They eventually molt into nymphs and host on small animals, like squirrels, or rabbits, but as they get bigger and molt past the nymph stage, they require a bigger host. It is during the nymph stage that dogs, humans, and deer get bit. When they attach, they survive by drinking blood, and can transmit Lyme Disease.
Life Cycle: Ticks begin as eggs, then molt into larvae, then after feeding will molt into nymphs. Nymphs will molt again after feeding for about a week, at which point it becomes an adult tick. Ticks usually drop from above by sensing prey with its legs. After a final feeding, a female will lay 1000-8000 eggs, then die.