Insects

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    Insects

    Q

    Do spiders eat earwigs?

    A

    Thanks for your question. Most spiders are predators of other arthropods, this would include most of the insects. Although earwigs do have a fairly hardened exoskeleton (hard, outer covering of all arthropods), I would think it is possible for spiders to use them as food. Spiders do not exactly "eat" their prey, like we would eat food. Instead they inject digestive enzymes into their prey and wait for the insides to liquefy. The spiders suck the juice out of the prey instead of chewing it.

    I have not personally seen spiders use earwigs as prey, but I would think it is possible. 

    Posted on 26 Aug 2008

    Erin Hodgson
    Extension Entomologist

    Q

    Do you know of any pest control companies that have an effective treatment for controlling box elder bugs in the fall before they get in the house?

    A

    Start by making sure window screens are in good repair and caulking around windows,  doors, corner trim, and attic vents, etc.  A residual type spray such as Sevin, Permethrin, or other products can be applied to building sides where bugs congregate.  This will reduce entry indoors.

    Posted on 13 Jun 2008

    Shawn Olsen
    County Director, Agriculture Davis County

    Q

    Does Utah State University offer any beekeeping courses in the Layton, UT area? If so, what information is available?

    A

    I don't know of any beekeeping courses in Layton.  I closest I know of would be the Wasatch Beekeepers Association which meets at Jones Bee, 2586 South 500 West in Salt Lake, at 7 pm on the third Thursday of every month except July and December.  See their info at www.wasatchbeekeepers.com.  You could also contact USU Extension Entomologist Erin Hodgson at email: erin@biology.usu.edu.  Erin was involved with an applied beekeeping workshop that was held in Colorado last July and there may be a similar workshop planned for 2009.

    Posted on 9 Dec 2008

    Shawn Olsen
    County Director, Agriculture Davis County

    Q

    Every spring I get larger black ants coming into my house mostly in the kitchen. I also see them outside the house and climbing around the base structure. I have determined that they are not termites. I tried using a bate last year but unlike all of the smaller colonies of ants that I gave the bate to (which I haven't seen in the house only in the driveway and sidewalks) which immediately started loading it up to take back to the nest, these ants weren't interested. Is there a reason? What kind of ant might they be and therefore what kind of bate do I need to use?

    A

    If they are larger ants that don't respond well to baits,  they are likely carpenter ants. Carpenter ants have a more diverse feeding habit than do some other common pest ants.  They will eat protein, sugary things, and also vegetative material.  Baits are formulated with specific eating habits in mind, and in some cases for a particular type of ant.  Some of the carpenter ants may have picked up bait, but since they have such diverse eating habits they did not all swarm to it and take it back to the nest.

    We might try using a gel and a granular bait that is geared more specifically toward carpenter ants. To really treat carpenter ants, though, you have to treat possible moisture issues in your house that keep them around.

    In the meantime, I just finished a fact sheet on carpenter ants. You can access this fact sheet by copying and pasting this URL, http://extension.usu.edu/files/publications/factsheet/carpenter-ant08.pdf

    Posted on 4 Jun 2008

    Ryan Davis
    Arthropod Diagnostician, Utah Plant Pest Diagnostic Laboratory

    Q

    Help! I have a gigantic ant problem (millions of small black ants) in my garden. They are everywhere: in the flower beds, the veggie garden, the lawn, under the sidewalks and driveway. I have tried the sprays and spreadable pesticide from Lowe's, but nothing seems to work. They seem to multiply by the day, and are making work in the garden creepy and painful (they bite too). What can I do? There is no obvious food source around; except they seem to be eating the iris' roots. I live just above Orchard Drive and Bountiful High School. What can I do?

    A

    Sounds like you have a lot of ants! Interestingly, I havethe same problem at home, but I choose to just let them go.  Ants, generally speaking, are difficult to eliminate. Spraying (using insecticides against) worker ants (all of the ones you see) with chemicals is ineffective in the overall fight against the ant colony.  Because ants can reproduce very quickly they can replace the worker ants almost as fast as you can spray them.

    At the Utah Pest Plant Diagnostic Lab we believe (as do many others) that the control of any insect should begin with proper identification. Most people think that ants are just ants.  That is a very bad assumption; ants are one of the most diverse and abundant groups on the planet.  Different ants eat different things, have one, two or many sizes of workers.  They can have one to many queen ants, can reproduce colonies in various ways, and may or may not have mating flights one to multiple times in a year, and much more.

    It is really important to know what your ants like to eat. In the nest, ants like to share food with each other. It is this sharing of food that can be used against an
    ant colony. Ant baits are slow-acting insecticides that the ants eat, take back to the nest, and then feed to developing ants (larvae), etc.  If you are lucky the worker, or the larvae, will feed the queen ant(s) and you will have stopped the production of eggs. Over time the colony will go away.  This takes patience, however, and may not work if the particular ant species will not feed on the on the bait formulation you have selected, or if the queen ants are not affected.

    So, you can try an all-purpose ant bait that you can purchase at your local garden store, or you can do it properly and send in a sample for me to identify.  If you do choose to use baits there are a couple things to keep in mind... 1) put the baits along ant trails (the long trails of ants that usually follow foundations, sidewalks etc.). Placing baits randomly in the middle of the yard won't get the job done. 2) Keep the baits away from small children. 3) Do NOT spray worker ants that are feeding on the baits.  They need to be alive to carry the chemical back to the nest.  This is slow acting material so you need to give it time. There are different formulations of baits: liquids, gels, granules and solids.  You can try using some or all of these at the same time. Baits can be found at your local garden center, or at a place such as Lowes.

    Here are the addresses to our website, and directions to submitting a sample to the lab.  The more ants you can send, the better.  And make sure they are in some kind of liquid (rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover preferred).

    UPPDL home page: http://www.utahpests.usu.edu/
    Submission Directions: http://utahpests.usu.edu/uppdl/submission-form

    Given the widespread distribution of your ants it will be difficult to acheive complete control. It may take a couple years of baiting to eliminate all of the ants, and subsequent treatments to keep them out of your yard. I recommend getting these to a tolerable level in the areas you most frequent.

    If you have more questions, please send me an email.

    Posted on 23 Jun 2008

    Ryan Davis
    Arthropod Diagnostician, Utah Plant Pest Diagnostic Laboratory

    Q

    How do I get rid of nightcrawlers? My lawn is getting real lumpy.

    A

    Night crawlers are beneficial as they provide natural aeration of the soils and should be tolerated whenever possible. Their feeding and excrement helps recycle nutrients and fertilize the soil. Night crawlers also feed on thatch, a layer of live and dead plant material that can accumulate at the soil surface and reduce the penetration of water and fertilizer. However, large populations can cause lumpiness and, in extreme cases, reduce the value of the turf for recreation. Vertical mowing can help reduce the lumpiness and also the amount of food available for night crawler development. Vertical mowing is best done in late summer, mid-August through September. Do not do vertical mowing in hot weather as it causes stress to the lawn. If you must power rake (vertical mow) in summer, water thoroughly and frequently until the lawn has fully recovered from having slices cut into it. Power rakes may be rented from garden centers and rental companies. Do not use rollers to flatten night crawler mounds. This compacts the soil which adversely affects the turf.

    If you suspect it might be white grubs, billbugs or some other type of insect – then I would recommend other management options. But if you are certain they are night crawlers – I would try to tolerate them as much as possible. I hope this answered your question. Please let me know if you have other questions about insects. 

    Posted on 30 Apr 2008

    Erin Hodgson
    Extension Entomologist

    Q

    I am interested in beekeeping, and am currently reading several books on the subject. All of the books have said, "contact your local extension office to find out about apiary organizations and to register your hives." I've looked all over your site and can't find anything on this subject for Washington County. Where can I find information on apiary organizations in this area?

    A

    I am not aware of an apiary organization in Washington County. We do have a couple of commercial bee keepers and some hobbyist as well. If you are interested in beekeeping I suggest you contact one of the individuals listed below. They can help you get started. You will need to obtain a hive, queen, and bee keeping supplies. The Utah Dept of Agriculture is where you will register your hives. Their number is 634-5708. 

    Art Jones 628-6539

    Brett Chamberlain 628-1923

    Posted on 2 Jun 2009

    Rick Heflebower
    Horticulture Agent, Washington County 

    Q

    I came up the stairs this morning, thinking there was a wad of cat hair...Ohhh was I wrong! It was a beetle almost 3" long! HUGE! Scared me to death! WHAT is it??? I have pictures of it along side a ruler. Brownish...legs were quite 'barbed'. Big antenae. Ewww.

    A

    Was this your beetle (click link below)?

    http://bugguide.net/node/view/18882/bgimage

    If it is not, please send me your pictures!

    Posted on 26 Aug 2008

    Ryan Davis
    Arthropod Diagnostician, Utah Plant Pest Diagnostic Laboratory

    Q

    I found a possible red and blue leaf hopper on a plant in my yard. Some experts I have contacted say we don't have them in the west. Could it be identified by you to species if I catch one and bring it in? I do have a photo of it.

    A

    Thanks for your question. We have a Plant Pest Diagnostic Lab here in
    Logan. Our Insect Diagnostician would be happy to look at your
    leafhoppers. Please visit this website to get submission instructions
    and also the form you will need to include with your sample.
    http://utahpests.usu.edu/uppdl/forms

    Please let me know if you have any questions regarding our lab.

    Posted on 25 Jul 2008

    Erin Hodgson
    Extension Entomologist

    Q

    I had a small fly with speckled wings basically destroy my peaches this year, about the size of a small "housefly". They lay eggs through the skin that go to the pit and then if left hatch into small worm type larvae. They got into every peach, but did not start getting there until the peaches were starting to ripen. It at first looks like a small round spot, but with time rots the fruit and turns it brown. What are they and how do you get rid of them?

    A

    Based on the information provided it appears that you have the “Walnut Husk Fly”.  As the name implies, this is a common pest on our local Walnuts.  However, when grown in proximity to a peach tree, the fly will also infest the peach fruit.  Insecticides that offer control are Malathion, diazinon, or pyrethrin.  Also, here is a very informative link for you to learn more. http://jenny.tfrec.wsu.edu/opm/displaySpecies.php?pn=160  Please feel free to contact me if you have any further questions. 

    Posted on 1 Oct 2008

    Seth Ohms
    Millard County

    Q

    I had some trouble with Squash Bugs attacking my Spaghetti Squash. Now my plants looks as if it may have Cucurbit Yellow Vine Disease (CYVD). Should I try to determine if its really CYVD and if it is, what do I need to do?

    A

    We can send samples to Oregon State for disease analysis.  Please read the
    link about collecting/submitting a proper sample.  Their services are
    expensive, so please send a good sample.  Our fee is $5.00 per sample.
     
    http://www.science.oregonstate.edu/bpp/Plant_Clinic/submit_sample.htm


    Please let me know how you would like to proceed.

    Posted on 15 Jul 2009

    Ryan Davis
    Arthropod Diagnostician, Utah Plant Pest Diagnostic Laboratory

    Q

    I have a big problem with a little pest in my house. I would call them fruit flies, but they don't hang around fruit. They mostly bug me as I sit here at this computer, and often times in the bathroom by the mirror. How can I get rid of these tiny flies?

    A

    It's difficult to know what kind of fly you have, but there are several nuisance flies that could be the problem. Fruit flies are usually brought into the house with fruit, then spreading throughout the house. Have you noticed a problem in your kitchen? Fungus gnats (sometimes called drain flies) could also be the culprit - have you noticed these flies around your houseplants as well? Please read this attached fact sheet - it may help you pinpoint your fly identification. 

    Let me know if you have more questions after reading this.

    Posted on 21 Jan 2009

    Erin Hodgson
    Extension Entomologist

    Q

    I have a house in Kanab with a lot of Desert Poppies and Blue Flax Grass that is pretty tall surrounded by Junipers in the front yard. I think I may have Noseeums. If so how do I get rid of them? I got bit up pretty bad last weekend working in the yard.

    A

    Thanks for your question about biting flies. Actually it’s very difficult to control biting and/or nuisance flies around the yard. Usually they like to breed in or around standing water because the larvae (immature flies) require moisture to survive. I wouldn’t normally think of Kanab being a particularly wet area in Utah. The adults move from marshy areas and can become a problem around households. Most females flies require blood to lay fertile eggs and they usually prefer to feed on birds and small mammals. But sometimes they have no choice but to move to larger mammals (us!).

    Here are a few tips for reducing biting fly problems:

    1. Try to reduce or eliminate standing water around the yard (e.g., wheelbarrows, tires, watering cans, bird baths, kiddie pools, drainage ditches, etc.) to discourage females from laying eggs.
    2. Install proper screening for windows and patios to prevent no-see-ums from entering residences and outdoor areas. Most biting midges can pass through 16-mesh insect wire screen and netting, so a smaller mesh size is required.
    3. The small mesh size does limit air flow through the screens, and an alternative is to treat screens with a long-lasting insecticide (e.g., permethrin) that will be fatal to the no-see-ums that land on the screen.
    4. No-see-ums are very small and weak fliers; ceiling and window fans can be used at high speeds to keep no-see-ums out of small areas.
    5. If it is necessary to go outdoors into areas where biting flies are prevalent, wear protective clothing. Long sleeved shirts, long pants will protect arms, legs, and head from bites. If necessary, apply a repellent labeled for biting fly protection. Reapply as needed and as recommended on the label. Most repellents do not work as well for biting flies as they do for mosquitoes; therefore they have to be reapplied more often.
    6. Many biting flies are active at certain times. Avoid outdoor activity during these peak biting times. Horse flies, deer flies, black flies, and stable flies are usually most active during the day. Sand flies usually are most active around sunrise and sunset. Most of the biting flies are also most active at certain times of the year. Deer flies and black flies are most prevalent in early to late spring. Stable flies are most abundant in late August through October or November. Sand flies are most abundant during summer months, but may bite at any time during the year.
    7. Biting flies usually rest on vegetation or the sides of houses before entering or before biting people. Numbers of biting flies around houses can be reduced by applying outdoor barrier treatments to places flies would contact before biting or entering the house. Be sure to apply all products according to label directions and to locations listed on the label.

    Biting flies are usually an area-wide control effort. Meaning, even if you try all the things listed above, flies can travel long distances and still be a problem. I am sorry I don’t have a more definite control recommendation for you. I hope the flies aren’t as bad this year for you. Best of luck,

    Posted on 23 Jun 2008

    Erin Hodgson
    Extension Entomologist

    Q

    I have a young peach tree that has a bug on it I can't identify. It's a flying beetle type insect...black wings and red head. There isn't any fruit on the tree of course. The bugs are on the leaves but don't seem to be eating the leaves. They fly around the tree and are not constantly there. They seem to come and go. Any ideas?

    A

    There have been several recent inquiries on beetles in peach trees that are similar in description to your's.  I think it may be a soldier beetle.  Soldier beetles are predators on small insects, such as aphids.  It is likely that the peach tree had some green peach aphids earlier this summer.  Aphids suck the sap from leaves and cause the leaves to curl.  Aphids produce sticky honeydew.  I think that the aphids attracted the soldier beetles to the peach trees.  The soldier beetles would eat the aphids, so they are a beneficial insect.

    Here is a link to an image of a solider beetle:
    http://farm1.static.flickr.com/219/502648903_218d90d7e9.jpg?v=0
    It is not the same species as the one in your peach trees, but it is similar.

    Posted on 25 Jul 2008

    Diane Alston
    Hort-Entomologist Specialist 

    Q

    I have an indoor ant problem. They are tiny, reddish, with a long petiole before a heart-shaped abdomen. They especially like grease and meat. Raid has been somewhat effective, but new colonies show up in odd rooms (I am in an upstairs condo). Yesterday a new colony found my leopard gecko, and attacked her. Her toes were targeted especially, but when I found her the wounds didn't seem too bad, but she must have been stung a lot since she went lethargic and died later in the day. Most websites recommend identifying the species before trying to control them but I haven't been successful in finding a good identification guide. From what I can tell, they aren't sugar, carpenter, grease, white-footed, or other common indoor ants. Any suggestions?

    A

    Pear-shaped abdomen, huh?  Those could be acrobat ants...  It would be ideal
    if you could capture some, put them in alcohol, and send to the lab for
    identification.  If not, you hinted that they liked proteinaceous foods
    (grease and meat).  This could be used against them in the form of
    proteinaceous baits (MaxForce, etc.).  They do make different formulations
    of baits, and some work better than others.  The key to baits is that
    worker ants must pick it up and take it back to the nest to share, hopefully
    feeding some to the queen.  Baits are designed to be slow-acting as to
    exploit ants social feeding behaviors and may take a few days to weeks to be
    effective. Raid only kills workers, and will have no effect against ant
    colonies, unless you spray the nest and queen directly.

    Here is a link to pictures of acrobat ants:
    http://bugguide.net/node/view/36399/bgimage

    Please let me know what you would like to do.
     

    Posted on 28 Oct 2008

    Ryan Davis
    Arthropod Diagnostician, Utah Plant Pest Diagnostic Laboratory 

    Q

    I have an infestation of giant willow aphids. How do I get rid of them? What damage will they do?

    A

    These type of aphids often appear in large numbers on twigs, branches, and trunks of willows.  They can deform leaves and make a mess with sticky honeydew.  They can also be a nuisance around homes by collecting on the sides of the house.  One option is a strong spray of water to wash them off.  Insecticidal soap products can sprayed on the aphids but avoid applying this product to windows.  The plant can also be sprayed with horticultural oil.  Another option is to treat the base of the willow or other ornamental plant with imidacloprid insecticide.  This product moves through the plant and kills most plant feeding insects for up to a year.  Do not use this product on edible plants. 

    Posted on 12 Dec 2008

    Shawn Olsen
    County Director, Agriculture Davis County

    Q

    I have ants all over my yard. I also have domestic cats and wild birds. Is there any organic or other non-toxic way to kill the ants without putting poison in my yard? If not, what is the most effective, least toxic substance I can use?

    A

    There are some organic ant control products on the market, but I have not seen an evaluation of their effectiveness.

    The best first step in ant control is to have the ant identified.  If you collect a bunch of ants in a vial or jar with rubbing alcohol, they can be sent to the lab and I can identify them (go here:http://utahpests.usu.edu/uppdl/forms for more information). If that is not an option, then we will have to work under the assumption that we are dealing with pavement ants. I have had a few people, including myself, collect ants that were all over their yard, around the house
    foundation and in cracks in the concrete.  In all cases they were pavement ants.

    The best way to get rid of these ants is to use baits. Spraying ants with insecticides is not a very effective control. To kill ants you have to kill the queen.  When myou use baits, the slow-acting insecticide in them allows the ants to carry it back to the nest where they feed it to other ants, immature ants, and hopefully the queen.  The chemical in the products is slow acting, so it may be a while before you notice a significant impact.

    Eliminating ants from your yard without repeat and continuous applications of insecticides (which I do NOT recommend) is unrealistic.  You will have to live with some ants in your yard and around the house.  You should target the areas where you spend the most of your time, and ones that invade your residence.

    There are multiple formulations of ant baits: liquid, gel and granular.  Since you have cats and birds, spreading granular baits around is probably not a good idea.  You can find Maxforce baits (liquid and gel) at your local garden store or a place like Lowes.  The bait stations are either covered or not.  If they are not covered, then you might consider putting a wire cage around the baits to keep your pets away from them. Using both formulations is better than one, and remember that you want to use a sweet (sugary) bait (some ants like protein-rich baits instead of sweet ones).

    Let me know if you need more information, and I'd be happy to help.

    Good luck!

    Posted on 30 Jun 2008

    Ryan Davis
    Arthropod Diagnostician, Utah Plant Pest Diagnostic Laboratory

    Q

    I have been fighting a battle with snails and slugs for the past 10 years. I can't find diatomaceous earth that is free of serious pesticides and I can use around my vegetables. (It seems to be more like typical non-garden pesticide in the form I find it.) I also wonder about copper barriers and what sort of copper I could use for that.

    A

    Thanks for your question on slug and snail control. Here is a brief summary from UC Davis found at this website:http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7427.htmlI bolded in blue the most important thoughts.Please let me know if you have other questions regarding snail/slugs or other pest control for your home. Thanks, Erin Hodgson

    MANAGEMENT

    A good snail and slug management program relies on a combination of methods. The first step is to eliminate, to the extent possible, all places where snails or slugs can hide during the day. Boards, stones, debris, weedy areas around tree trunks, leafy branches growing close to the ground, and dense ground covers such as ivy are ideal sheltering spots. There will be shelters that are not possible to eliminate—e.g., low ledges on fences, the undersides of wooden decks, and water meter boxes. Make a regular practice of trapping and removing snails and slugs in these areas. Also, locate vegetable gardens or susceptible plants as far away as possible from these areas. Reducing hiding places allows fewer snails and slugs to survive. The survivors congregate in the remaining shelters, where they can more easily be located and removed. Switching from sprinkler irrigation to drip irrigation will reduce humidity and moist surfaces, making the habitat less favorable for these pests. Choose snail-proof plants for areas where snails and slugs are dense. Copper barriers can be useful for protecting especially susceptible plants. Though baits can be part of a management program for snails and slugs, by themselves they don’t provide adequate control in gardens that contain plenty of shelter, food, and moisture.

    Choice of plant can greatly affect how difficult your battle with snails and slugs will be. Snails and slugs favor seedlings and plants with succulent foliage and these plants must be vigilantly protected. Some plants that are seriously damaged include basil, beans, cabbage, dahlia, delphinium, hosta, lettuce, marigolds, strawberries, and many vegetable plants. On the other hand, many plants resist damage from snails and slugs including begonias, California poppy, fuchias, geraniums, impatiens, lantana, nasturtiums, and purple robe cup flower, and many plants with stiff leaves and highly scented foliage like lavender, rosemary, and sage. Most ornamental woody plants and ornamental grasses are also not seriously affected. If you design your landscape using plants like these, you are likely to have very limited damage from snails and slugs.

    Handpicking

    Handpicking can be very effective if done thoroughly on a regular basis. At first it should be done daily. After the population has noticeably declined, a weekly handpicking may be sufficient. To draw out snails, water the infested area in the late afternoon. After dark, search them out using a flashlight, pick them up (rubber gloves are handy when slugs are involved), place them in a plastic bag, and dispose of them in the trash; or they can be put in a bucket with soapy water and then disposed of in your compost pile. Alternatively, captured snails and slugs can be crushed and left in the garden. Household ammonia diluted to a 5 to 10% solution in water can also be sprayed on collected slugs to kill them.

    Traps

    Snails and slugs can be trapped under boards or flower pots positioned throughout the garden and landscape. Inverted melon rinds make good traps. You can make traps from 12" x 15" boards (or any easy-to-handle size) raised off the ground by 1-inch runners. The runners make it easy for the pests to crawl underneath. Scrape offthe accumulated snails and slugs daily and destroy them. Crushing is the most common method of destruction. Do not use salt to destroy snails and slugs; it will increase soil salinity.

    Beer-baited traps have been used to trap and drown slugs and snails; however, they are not very effective for the labor involved. Beer traps attract slugs and snails within an area of only a few feet, and must be refilled every few days to keep the level deep enough to drown the mollusks. Traps are buried at ground level, so the mollusks easily fall into them. It is the fermented product that attracts them and a sugar-water and yeast mixture can be used in place of beer. Traps must have deep, vertical sides to keep the snails and slugs from crawling out and a top to reduce evaporation. Snail and slug traps can also be purchased at garden supply stores.

    Barriers

    Several types of barriers will keep snails and slugs out of planting beds. The easiest to maintain are those made with copper flashing and screen. Copper barriers are effective because it is thought that the copper reacts with the slime that the snail or slug secretes, causing a flow of electricity. Vertical copper screens can be erected around planting beds. The screen should be 6 inches tall and buried several inches below the soil to prevent slugs from crawling through the soil beneath the barrier.

    Copper foil (for example, Snail-Barr) can be wrapped around planting boxes, headers, or trunks to repel snails for several years. When banding trunks, wrap the copper foil around the trunk, tab side down, and cut it to allow an 8-inch overlap. Attach one end or the middle of the band to the trunk with one staple oriented parallel to the trunk. Overlap and fasten the ends with one or two large paper clips to allow the copper band to slide as the trunk grows. Bend the tabs out at a 90° angle from the trunk. The bands need to be cleaned occasionally with a vinegar solution. When using copper bands on planter boxes, be sure the soil within the boxes is snail-free before applying bands. If it is not, handpick the snails and slugs from the soil after applying the band until the box is free of these pests.

    Instead of copper bands, Bordeaux mixture (a copper sulfate and hydrated lime mixture) or copper sulfate alone can be brushed on trunks to repel snails. One treatment should last about a year. Adding a commercial spreader or white latex paint may increase the persistence of Bordeaux mixture through two seasons. Barriers of dry ashes or diatomaceous earth, heaped in a band 1 inch high and 3 inches wide around the garden, have also been shown to be effective. However, these barriers lose their effectiveness after becoming damp and are therefore difficult to maintain and not very useful in most garden situations.

    Baits

    Snail and slug baits can be effective when used properly in conjunction with a cultural program incorporating the other methods discussed above. However, baits alone will not effectively control snails or slugs. Several types of snail and slug bait products are available. Baits containing the active ingredient metaldehyde are most common. Metaldehyde baits are particularly poisonous to dogs and cats, and the pelleted form is especially attractive to dogs. Metaldehyde snail baits should not be used where children and pets cannot be kept away from them. Some metaldehyde products are formulated with carbaryl, partly to increase the spectrum of pests controlled to include soil and debris-dwelling insects, spiders, and sowbugs. However, carbaryl is toxic to soil-inhabiting beneficials like ground beetles and earthworms and should be avoided if snail and slug management is all that is required. Metaldehyde baits containing 4% metaldehyde are significantly more effective than those products containing only 2% metaldehyde; however, they are also more toxic to dogs and wildlife. Most currently available 4% products are formulated for use in enclosed bait stations to minimize their hazard.

    Avoid getting metaldehyde bait on plants, especially vegetables. Baits containing only metaldehyde are most reliable when temperatures are warm or following a rain when snails and slugs are active. Metaldehyde does not kill snails and slugs directly unless they eat a substantial amount; rather, it stimulates their mucous-producing cells to overproduce mucous in an attempt to detoxify the bait. The cells eventually fail and the snail dies. When it is sunny or hot, they die from desiccation. If baiting is followed by cool and wet weather, they may recover if they ingest a sublethal dose. Do not water heavily for at least 3 or 4 days after bait placement; watering will reduce effectiveness and snails may recover from metaldehyde poisoning if high moisture conditions occur. Most metaldehyde baits break down rapidly when exposed to sunlight; however, some paste or bullet formulations (such as Deadline) hold up somewhat longer under conditions of sunlight and moisture.

    A recently registered snail and slug bait, iron phosphate (available under many trade names including Sluggo and Escar-Go), has the advantage of being safe for use around domestic animals, children, birds, fish, and other wildlife and is a good choice for a garden IPM program. Ingestion of the iron phosphate bait, even in small amounts, will cause snails and slugs to cease feeding, although it may take several days for the snails to die. Iron phosphate bait can be scattered on lawns or on the soil around any vegetables, ornamentals, or fruit trees to be protected. Iron phosphate baits may be more effective against snails than slugs.

    Sprinkle baits in areas that snails and slugs regularly frequent such as areas around sprinkler heads. Placing baits repeatedly in the same areas maximizes control because molluscs tend to return to food source sites. Never pile bait in mounds or clumps, especially those baits that are hazardous, because piling makes a bait attractive to pets and children. Placement of the bait in a commercial bait trap reduces hazards to pets and children and can protect baits from moisture, but may also reduce their effectiveness. Thick liquid baits may persist better under conditions of rain and sprinklers.

    The timing of any baiting is critical; baiting is less effective during very hot, very dry, or cold times of the year because snails and slugs are less active during these periods. Irrigate before applying a bait to promote snail activity and apply the bait in the late afternoon or evening. Application on a warm, humid evening is ideal. Apply bait in a narrow strip around sprinklers, close to walls and fences or in other moist and protected locations, or scatter it along areas that snails and slugs cross to get from sheltered areas to the garden.

     

    Posted on 30 Apr 2008

    Erin Hodgson
    Extension Entomologist

    Q

    I have black beetles about an inch long in my home. They do not like the light, and look similar to a blister beetle, but the head is more compact to the body. I only see one or two at a time, but for every one I kill, one more shows up. What are they, and how do I get rid of them?

    A

    Your beetles might be roaches.  Check out these pictures and see if any
    match: 

    http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7467.html
    http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/insect/05553.html
    http://bugguide.net/node/view/177/bgimage?from=0

    Let me know what you think, and then we can go from there. The first two
    publications have control recommendations as well.

    Posted on 15 Jul 2009

    Ryan Davis
    Arthropod Diagnostician, Utah Plant Pest Diagnostic Laboratory

    Q

    I have large burrowing bees or wasps that live in my sandbox. They do not sting but are very annoying. What is the best way to get rid of them?

    A

    The pests you describe may be a species of bees (most don’t sting) or wasps (many do sting). Since they are burrowing in the sand you could drop a teaspoon of Sevin granular into each burrow thereby forcing the insects to consume the pesticide. However, since this is a sandbox in which your children play you may prefer to dampen the sand thoroughly, then cover the box with clear plastic and let the rays of the sun heat the box beyond the survival temperatures of the pests. This may take a few days during which the sandbox would be off limits. Then spade up the sandbox to make sure the coast is clear. A cover over the box would help prevent a reoccurrence.

    Posted on 10 Jul 2009

    Dean Miner
    County Director, Agriculture Agent, Utah County

    Q

    I have little black beetles in my home do you know what they are and how to get rid of them?

    A

    They could be root weevils just migrating in and will do little if any damage.  Seal the home up and vacuum up insects.  For positive identification, please bring a sample into your local USU Extension office

    Posted on 1 Jun 2009

    Jerry Goodspeed
    County Director, Horticulture Agent, Weber County

     

    Q

    I have millions of tiny black jumping bugs in my garage. They go in and out of the cracks in the floors, all over the concrete, walls, etc. I see very few in the day time; However at night millions everywhere. I have tried every spay I know of but nothing seems to kill them. Please Help.

    A

    Springtails are one of the most abundant organisms in soil and plant litter around the world.  They feed on fungus and decaying material, and do not bite humans. Our cool, wet spring has been perfect for building populations of springtails.  No we that the sun has returned the leaf litter/soil outside is starting to dry out.  When this happens, these insects migrate into homes in search of moisture.  That sounds exactly like what has happened in your home.  Read below for more information.

    Here the links for good information on springtails:
    http://www.ext.colostate.edu/PUBS/insect/05602.html
    http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn74136.html

    Please read these factsheets and send questions if you have any.

    Posted on 15 Jul 2009

    Ryan Davis
    Arthropod Diagnostician, Utah Plant Pest Diagnostic Laboratory

    Q

    I have seen small white worms crawling on the fround around my home. Can you tell me what they are? They move very very slow and are in a group as they move.

    A

    Can you send a picture?  Our lab does not normally diagnose worms, so I'd have to see a picture to have something with which to compare.

     

    Posted on 18 Jun 2009

    Ryan Davis
    Arthropod Diagnostician, Utah Plant Pest Diagnostic Laboratory

    Q

    I have spider mites on my IIiamna rivularis. It looks like I also have spider mites on my Mirabilis jalapa. I don't remember of having any problems with growing Mirabilis jalapa before. They have always been an easy plant for me to raise. I have read the article on spider mites and I am wondering if I should just let them go or buy an insecticide like Bayer Advanced 3 in 1 Insect, Disease and Mite control. The spider mites are taking over my yard.

    A

    Spider mites are most active during the hot dry months of the summer - if there is large infestation you may actually see "webs" thereby the name of spider mites is that they produce silk like webs.  The actual spider mites are too small to see without a magnifying glass or under a microscope. The result of spider mites on your plants is a speckled mottled appearance and yellowing.  A way to control spider mites it to hose the underside of the leaves to knock off the mites.  Usually a chemical control is not necessary, because these general broad spectrum insecticides have the potential of harming beneficial insects in your garden.  Also there are predatory mites that feed on spider mites that would be knocked out and often times, the target pest becomes a bigger problem because the natural predators are killed off by the chemical control.  Another method would be use an insecticidal soap or summer horticulture oil sparingly (oil and soap in hot months may burn leaves) to control the mites. Horticultural oils can be used on perennial and woody ornamentals during the summer at the 1 to 2 percent rate. Higher rates of horticultural oil (3 to 4 percent) or dormant oil are useful for killing mite eggs and dormant adults in the fall and spring. The insecticidal soaps are useful in the warm season. Remember that mites are very tiny and soaps and oils work by contact only. Therefore, thorough coverage of the plant is necessary for good control.

    Posted on 30 Jul 2008

    Maggie Shao
    Horticulture Agent, Salt Lake County

    Q

    I have these little tiny beetle bugs. I suspect they are the mexican jumping bug thing. They are all over my tomatos, they eat the leaves until I wonder if the tomatoes will survive. What can I do to get rid of them? P.S. They eat my potato plants too.

    A

    I think you have black western flea beetle.  We had information on control of flea beetle in our last vegetable newsletter.  Please read it and let me know if you need more information.

    http://utahpests.usu.edu/ipm/files/uploads/Advisories-SFV/2008/SFV-IPM-0
    5-16-08.pdf

    Here is a factsheet for flea beetle on pepper from UC Davis: http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/r604300611.html

    Read over the cultural recommendations and biology. Chemicals recommended on the UC Davis fact sheet may not be registered for use in Utah, so go with our recommendations.

    Please feel free to email me more questions.

    Posted on 13 Jun 2008

    Ryan Davis
    Arthropod Diagnostician, Utah Plant Pest Diagnostic Laboratory