Multi Colored Asian Lady Bug Beetle A native of eastern Asia, the multicolored Asian lady beetle, Harmoniaaxyridis, was introduced into the United States by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a biological control agent. This tree dwelling beetle, of the family Coccinellidae, is an important predator of aphids and scale insects. It was originally released in Ohio and Pennsylvania in 1978 and 1981, but the first overwintering beetles were not recorded until 1993. This beetle’s recent population increase in Ohio, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, and other northern states may not have resulted from the earlier USDA releases. Instead, they are thought to be from a new source that was accidentally introduced in New Orleans from an Asian freighter. Adult multicolored Asian lady beetles were first observed in Ohio, Pennsylvania during the fall of 1993. Large numbers were found congregating on windows, doors, and porch decks. These beetles become a nuisance when they inundate homes from September through April. Multicolored Asian lady beetles are slightly larger than native lady beetles, with adults measuring 9/32 inch (7 mm) long and 7/32 inch (5.5 mm) wide. They are oval or convex in shape, and yellow to red in color (with or without black spots on the wing covers). The beetles’ spots, which can vary in size and pattern, number from no spots to as many as nineteen. The head is usually concealed beneath the disk-shaped pronotum, which is cream to yellow in color with a black ‘M’ design in the center. Asian lady beetle larvae are elongated, flattened, and covered with minute tubercles or spines. The eggs, which are laid upright in clusters of about twenty, are oval and yellow. Life History In Pennsylvania, the life cycle from egg to adult to egg takes about three to four weeks depending on temperature and food abundance. There are multiple generations per year. The eggs are laid on the undersides of leaves of low-growing ornamentals, forest trees, roses, wheat, tobacco, soybean and numerous other plants. They take from three to five days to hatch. During the first twelve to fourteen days after hatching, the larvae use their chewing mouthparts to feed on aphids. Adults emerge several days after pupation and can live for more than one year. Beginning about the first of October, during a sunny, warm afternoon following a cold night, the multicolored Asian lady beetles congregate outside houses, sheds, and other buildings in search of overwintering sites. The beetles are apparently attracted to the sunlight reflecting off of the south or southwest-facing sides of the building. A similar behavior is seen in their native Japan where the beetles fly to south-facing rock cliffs and outcroppings. There they enter cracks and crevices to overwinter. Females overwinter (without mating) along with the aggregate population. Mating occurs later the next spring. Damages The greatest damage caused by the multicolored Asian lady beetle is the discomfort they give to homeowners. It is not uncommon for tens of thousands of beetles to congregate in attics, ceilings and wall voids, and due to the warmth of the walls, will move around inside these voids and exit into the living areas of the home. In addition to beetles biting (which they do), they exude a foul-smelling, yellow defensive chemical which will sometimes cause spotting on walls and other surfaces. Most people are only annoyed by the odor of these chemicals. However, some individuals have reported experiencing an allergic reaction to the defensive excretions. Rhinoconjunctivitis (sinus irritations) and mild skin irritations have been reported subsequent to encounters with the multicolored Asian lady beetle. It is probably not an over-reaction to wash hands or other skin after contacting the beetles. In at least one controlled study, the severity of rhinoconjunctivitis subsided with the removal of beetles from the home. Management Before Beetles Enter the Structure: Mechanical exclusion seems to be the best method of control to keep Asian lady beetles from entering homes and buildings. Cracks around windows, doors, siding, utility pipes, behind chimneys, and underneath the wood fascia and other openings should be sealed with good quality silicone or silicone-latex caulk. Damaged screens on doors and windows should be repaired or replaced. Attics, fireplace chimneys, and exhaust vents should be covered with number 20 (or smaller) screen mesh. Exterior applications of insecticides may offer some relief from infestations where the task of completely sealing the exterior is difficult or impossible. September or early October just prior to beetle congregation. After Beetles Have Entered the Structure: After the beetles have gained access to the wall voids or attic areas, it is not advisable to use an insecticide to control them. Insecticidal treatment of the voids may kill thousands of beetles, but there is the likelihood that another household pest, carpet beetles, will begin to feed on the dead lady beetles and might subsequently attack woolens, stored dry goods or other animal products in the home. If numerous lady beetles are entering the living areas of the home it is advisable to locate the places where the beetles gain access. Typically, beetles will emerge from cracks under or behind baseboards, around window and door trim, and around exhaust fans or lights in ceilings. Seal these openings with caulk or other suitable materials to prevent the beetles from crawling out. A temporary solution is to use tape to stop the beetles. A helpful hint to remember: the beetles are attracted to light and can see light entering through cracks in the walls or ceilings. Initially, concentrate on sealing cracks in the rooms where beetles are most prevalent. Finally, the use of a vacuum is still the most efficient method of collecting beetles in the home. The major complaint for this method is that the beetles become agitated and expel the yellow, foul-smelling repellent, which is then circulated into the air by the vacuum exhaust. Also, it is advisable to empty the bag and beetles after each vacuuming
Stink Bug With the arrival of autumn comes the annual invasion of brown marmorated stink bugs(BMSB) as they seek winter refuge inside homes and businesses. A native of Asia, BMSB first appeared in the United States in the middle 1990’s in Ohio and Pennsylvania and are now found in 38 states ranging from coast to coast, border to border, with the epicenter in the middle Atlantic region. How has this pest spread so rapidly? Due to its penchant for hiding in sheltered locations to pass the winter, this pest often invades recreational vehicles and campers. One vacationer reported driving hundreds of miles away from a home in Ohio or Pennsylvania, opening the camper, and unwittingly releasing BMSB in a new location.
What kind of damage do stink bugs cause? While noted as an occasional pest of crops in Asia, in 2009 we heard dire reports from growers in the middle Atlantic region who sustained significant losses to peaches, pears and apples to stink bugs. The next year was even worse, with regional losses to apples alone exceeding $37 million. This development was particularly disagreeable from a pest management standpoint. Much to our dismay, it has become abundantly clear that BMSB are more than just a pest of fruits. Over the past few years damaging numbers of stink bugs have been seen in soybean fields across the region. This rascal has spread to more than 20 counties in Virginia, leaving a broad swath of damage to soybean along the way. In 2010, we witnessed record numbers of stink bugs in fields of sweet corn. By plunging their sturdy beaks through the corn husk, they remove the nutritious contents of developing kernels. In some cases, so many kernels were damaged that the ear of corn failed to fill out. Stink bugs are not just problems for conventional vegetable growers. With fewer options for insecticidal control, organic vegetable growers in the region have been overwhelmed where stink bugs are common. Community gardeners and homeowners have been vexed when hordes of stink bugs lined ripening tomatoes, poking holes in the skin and draining the juicy tissues below leaving speckled, puckered, and pockmarked fruit. Similar injury has been reported on peppers and many other vegetables. Although populations of BMSB cropped up in new states in 2011, in general, stink bug populations were lower throughout our region and this trend continued through the spring and summer of 2012. The reasons for the decline have been attributed to weather, better management by growers and greater activity of natural enemies of stink bugs, but the exact cause or causes remain a mystery. For many urbanites, stink bugs in apple orchards or corn fields probably seem like a remote problem. However, the nuisance potential of BMSB is almost without equal. In 2011, a homeowner in western Maryland captured more than 26,000 BMSB from January through June as they moved about his home seeking egress from their overwintering refuge. That’s a lot of nuisance! Why do stink bugs enter homes and man-made structures in the first place? Many folks incorrectly believe they enter to be warm for the winter. Bear in mind that millions of years ago when BMSB evolved, there were no mansions or man-made structures to invade. In chilly locations where winter halts the growth of deciduous trees and shrubs and withers herbaceous plants, food for the plant-eating stink bug all but disappears. Cold brings movement and development of BMSB to a standstill. During this inimical season, BMSBs seek refuges to chill-out, protected from the harsh weather and dangerous predators. Until recently, these natural winter redoubts were thought to be rocky crags and piles of leaf litter. However, a new study revealed that the loose bark of large, freshly deceased but still standing trees may be a prime winter hideout for BMSB. However, for a BMSB leaving a senescing field of soybeans, the siding on a home might look like a mighty fine place to spend the winter.
Silverfish and Firebrats Silverfish and firebrats, are insect species that belong to the order Thysanura and are usually found in homes. They are mostly a nuisance pest, but they can destroy cereals, books, papers, wallpaper, and other starchy items with their excrement. During severe infestations, these starchy targets may develop irregular-shaped holes from the insects’ feeding. Silverfish and firebrats do not feed on wool or other animal products. Description Silverfish and firebrats are often referred to as the bristletails (or fishmoths, tasseltails, or fringetails) because of the three, tail-like appendages that protrude from their last abdominal segment. Silverfish have silvery-metallic scales covering their body and antennae as long as their body; they can grow to 12 mm in length (head to tip of abdomen). Firebrats have tufts of brown scales that create a mottled appearance and antennae which are longer than the length of their body; they are similar in size to silverfish. Both species move rapidly (including sideways), and their flat bodies let them hide in narrow crevices. The immature bristletails look similar to the adults, but do not have scales until after several molts. Development and Behavior Silverfish can live for two to three years, or more, and produce more than 50 offspring. Eggs, deposited one to three at a time, take from 19 to 43 days to hatch (temperature dependent); these offspring can reach sexual maturity in a few months or up to 3 years. This variability is due to environmental conditions and quality of food sources. Firebrat have similar lives, but they can produce more than 100 offspring, and eggs are deposited in batches of about 50. Little is known about bristletail behavior. Most behavioral studies examined food preference or food suitability. Although most people think that bristletails feed on book bindings and carbohydrates, they actually prefer dried beef, beef extract, dead insects, and other items high in protein. Silverfish cannibalize dead and injured insects. They can survive for weeks without food and water, and more than 300 days if water is available. Both firebrats and silverfish prefer high humidity, although firebrats are more resistant to dryer environments. Silverfish desire cooler temperatures and are usually found in basements. Firebrats prefer warmer temperatures (over 90°F) and are often near furnaces, hot water pipes, attics, and roofing shingles. Management Managing silverfish and firebrats is difficult. A complete strategy that involves sanitation, de-humidification, habitat modification, and insecticides can eventually produce satisfactory results. However, none of the following methods alone will eliminate these pests from your home. Use them together to achieve proper control. 1. Reduce food sources. Keep cereals, flour, meal, pastas, pet foods, and pet treats in airtight containers. Vacuum carpets, flooring, and upholstered furniture regularly. 2. Reduce water sources. Use dehumidifiers in damp basements. Install plastic sheeting on the ground in dirt crawl spaces and ridge vents in roofs let humid air escape. Keep exterior areas caulked and well painted, gutters and downspouts free of debris, and landscaping graded to allow water to drain away from your home. 3. Reduce harborages. Seamless interior walls limit access to sites such as wall interiors and spaces between ceilings and walls. Bristletails can gain access to these harborages through crevices and cracks under and behind baseboards, windows, and door trim and holes in walls and floors where pipes pass. Use caulking, spackle, or expandable foam to eliminate these openings. 4. Direct insecticide application. Various insecticides and chemical formulations are available for bristletail control. Diatomaceous earth and silica aerogel that cause insects to loose moisture are known as desiccants. Apply them as a dust to cracks and crevices or inject them into wall voids. They are only effective if they remain dry, and work best in when water sources are reduced. You can apply synthetic pyrethroids such as deltamethrin, cyfluthrin, lambda-cyhalothrin, cypermethrin, sumithrin, or tralomethrin to cracks as a water-based spray. When injected into dark crevices, the materials have a longer period of efficacy because they are not in direct sunlight.
Earwigs Earwigs are among the most readily recognized insect pests in home gardens. Although earwigs can devastate seedling vegetables or annual flowers and often seriously damage maturing soft fruit or corn silks, they also have a beneficial role in the landscape and have been shown to be important predators of aphids. Although several species occur, the most common in Ohio gardens is the European earwig, which was accidentally introduced into North America from Europe in the early 1900s. The striped earwig, occurs in Southern California and can annoy residents when it is attracted to lights. It has a very disagreeable odor when crushed. However, the striped earwig doesn’t damage plants. IDENTIFICATION The adult earwig is readily identified by a pair of prominent appendages that resemble forceps at the tail end of its body. Used for defense, the forceps are somewhat curved in the male but straighter in the female. The adult body is about 3/4 inch long and reddish brown. Most species have wings under short, hard wing covers, but they seldom fly. Immature earwigs look like adults except they are smaller and lack wings. Contrary to popular myth and despite their ferocious appearance, earwigs generally don’t attack humans, although they are capable of biting if trapped in clothing or sat upon. LIFE CYCLE Earwigs feed most actively at night and seek out dark, cool, moist places to hide during the day. Common hiding places are under loose clods of soil, boards, or dense growth of vines or weeds or even within fruit damaged by other pests such as snails, birds, or cutworms. Female earwigs dig cells in the ground in the fall and winter where they lay masses of 30 or more eggs. Eggs hatch into small, light brown nymphs and remain in the cell protected and fed by their mother until their first molt. Second-instar nymphs may forage at night but still return to the nest during the day. Third- and fourth-instar nymphs are darker and forage on their own. Generally there is one generation a year, but females produce two broods. Part of the earwig population hibernates during the winter as pairs buried in cells in the soil. In the hotter parts of California, earwigs may be relatively inactive during the summer. In milder climates, some remain active all year. DAMAGE European earwigs feed on a variety of dead and living organisms, including insects, mites, and growing shoots of plants. They are voracious feeders on soft-bodied insects such as aphids and insect eggs and can exert significant biological control under some circumstances. In yards that are planted to turf and contain mature ornamental plants, damage by earwigs is unlikely to be of concern. European earwigs can cause substantial damage to seedling plants and soft fruit as well as to sweet corn. Damaged seedlings may be missing all or parts of their leaves and stem. Leaves on older plants, including fruit trees, have numerous irregular holes or are chewed around the edges. This damage may resemble that caused by caterpillars. Look for webbing, frass (excrement), or pupae that would indicate the presence of caterpillars. Earwigs may attack soft fruit such as apricots, strawberries, raspberries, or blackberries but don’t harm hard fruit such as apples. On stone fruit, look for shallow gouges or holes that extend deeply into the fruit. On strawberries, distinguish earwig damage from that of snails and slugs by checking for the slime trails snails and slugs leave behind. On corn, earwigs feed on silks and prevent pollination, causing poor kernel development. Earwigs may also seriously damage flowers including zinnias, marigolds, and dahlias. To confirm that earwigs are causing the damage, go out at night with a flashlight to observe the pests in action. Earwigs may seek refuge indoors when conditions outside are too dry, hot, or cold. Large accumulations of earwigs can be annoying but present no health hazards. Sweep or vacuum them up and seal entry points. Earwigs eventually die indoors because there is little for them to eat. MANAGEMENT Management of earwigs requires an integrated program that takes advantage of their habitat preferences. As moisture-loving insects, earwigs wouldn’t normally thrive in California’s arid climate without the moisture and shade provided by irrigated gardens. Where earwigs are a problem, consider reducing hiding places and surface moisture levels. Initiate a regular trapping program. If these measures are followed, insecticide treatments shouldn’t be necessary. Baits are available for earwigs but often aren’t very effective. Keep in mind that earwigs are omnivores and are beneficial in some situations, such as when they feed on aphids, and don’t need to be managed in many situations. Trapping A key element of an earwig management program is trapping. Place numerous traps throughout the yard, hiding the traps near shrubbery and ground cover plantings or against fences. A low-sided can, such as a cat food or tuna fish can, with 1/2 inch of oil in the bottom makes an excellent trap. Fish oil such as tuna fish oil is very attractive to earwigs, or vegetable oil with a drop of bacon grease can be used. These traps are most effective if sunk into the ground so the top of the can is at soil level. Dump captured earwigs and refill cans with oil. Other common types of traps are a rolled-up newspaper, corrugated cardboard, bamboo tubes, or a short piece of hose. Place these traps on the soil near plants just before dark and shake accumulated earwigs out into a pail of soapy water in the morning. Earwigs can also be dropped into a sturdy plastic bag and crushed. Continue these procedures every day until you are no longer catching earwigs. Sanitation and Other Controls Complement the trapping program by removing refuge sites for earwigs, such as ivy, weeds, piles of rubbish, and leaves. Never allow heavy ground cover such as ivy to grow near vegetable gardens. Watch out for mulches; they often harbor earwigs. Natural enemies including toads, birds, and other predators may play an important role in some gardens. Chickens and ducks will consume many earwigs. For fruit trees keep weeds, brush, and suckers away from the base of the trunk throughout the year, as this overgrowth provides refuge for earwigs. Monitor populations with folded newspapers or burlap bags placed at the base of trees. On the lower trunks of older fruit trees, carefully scrape off all loose bark. Trunks can be treated with Tangle foot, a sticky substance that prevents earwigs from climbing up the trunks to reach ripening stone fruit. Also, keeping fruit trees properly pruned, thinning heavy crops, and picking fruit as soon as it ripens will help keep earwigs from becoming pests. Remember that earwigs can be beneficial in trees when they are feeding on aphids, so keeping them out isn’t always recommended unless the tree produces soft fruit. Inside the Home Indoors, earwigs can be swept or vacuumed up; be sure to kill and dispose of them promptly so they won’t reinvade. If earwigs are a regular problem in a building, inspect the area to see how they are getting into the house and seal up cracks and entry points. Remove materials outside the perimeter of the building that could provide harborage, such as ivy growing up walls, ground cover, bark mulches, debris (especially leaves in gutters), wood piles, leaf litter, piles of newspapers, or other organic matter. Also, keep water and moisture away from the structure by repairing drain spouts, grading the area so water drains away from the structure, and ventilating crawl spaces to minimize moisture. Insecticide treatments indoors aren’t recommended, since they will do little to prevent invasions. If earwigs are attracted to outdoor lighting, use yellow or sodium vapor lightbulbs, which are less attractive to these insects.
Millipede and Centipedes Millipedes and centipedes are often seen in and around gardens and may be found wandering into homes. Unlike insects, which have three clearly defined body sections and three pairs of legs, they have numerous body segments and numerous legs. Like insects, they belong to the largest group in the animal kingdom, the arthropods, which have jointed bodies and legs and no backbone. Their bodies are covered with a shell-like covering called an exoskeleton.
MILLIPEDES Identification Millipedes (sometimes called thousand-leggers) are brownish, elongated, and cylindrical to slightly flattened creatures with two (more common) or four pairs of tiny legs per body segment. Millipedes don’t really have a thousand legs; even the largest ones have somewhat fewer than a hundred. When they walk, their legs move in an undulating, wavelike manner. Adult millipedes vary from 1/2 to 6 1/2 inches in length. When prodded or at rest, most millipedes curl up. The three species found in California are the common millipede, the bulb millipede, and the greenhouse millipede. Millipedes may be confused with wireworms because of their similar shapes. Wireworms, however, are click beetle larvae, have only three pairs of legs, stay underneath the soil surface, and are more flattened top to bottom. Habitat and Importance Millipedes normally live in and feed on rotting leaves, rotting wood, and other kinds of moist, decaying plant matter. Generally, their role is a beneficial one in helping to break down dead plant matter. However, when they become numerous, they may damage sprouting seeds, seedlings, or strawberries and other ripening fruits in contact with the ground. Sometimes individual millipedes wander from their moist living places into homes, but they usually die quickly because of the dry conditions and lack of food. Occasionally, large numbers of millipedes migrate, often uphill, as their food supply dwindles or their living places become either too wet or too dry. They may fall into swimming pools and drown. When disturbed they don’t bite, but some species exude a defensive liquid that can irritate skin or burn the eyes. Life Cycle Adult millipedes overwinter in the soil, and eggs are laid in clutches beneath the soil surface. The young grow gradually in size, adding segments and legs as they mature. They mature in two to five years and continue to live for several years thereafter. Management Millipedes seldom need to be controlled. Keep in mind that they do no damage indoors and pose a minimal health hazard. Those that stray indoors can be swept out or picked up with a vacuum cleaner. Sealing cracks and other openings to the outside helps prevent millipedes from entering. Usually invasions are over within a few days. Eliminating moist hiding places around the home will kill or discourage millipedes. Outdoors, this includes removing rotting wood and decaying grass and leaves from around the house’s foundation. This also eliminates millipede food sources. If there is excessive moisture in subfloor crawl spaces or basements, take measures to dry out these areas. To discourage millipedes in garden areas, reduce mulch and other organic matter and avoid excessive moisture. CENTIPEDES Identification Centipedes (sometimes called hundred-leggers) are elongated, flattened animals bearing one pair of legs per body segment. The actual total number of legs in most species is closer to 30 than to 100. Adult centipedes are usually brownish and more than 1 inch long. The house centipede, a species that commonly invades buildings, has long legs that enable it to run rapidly. Other species of centipedes more commonly found in gardens may have somewhat shorter legs. Unlike millipedes, centipedes never coil up when disturbed. Garden symphylans may be confused with true centipedes but are white, less than 1/4 inch long, and have 12 pairs of legs as adults. Symphylids live in damp soil where they sometimes attack underground portions of plants. They are associated with soils that are high in organic matter. Habitat and Importance Centipedes are usually found in damp, dark places such as under stones, leaf mulch, or logs. Indoors, centipedes may occur in damp areas of basements, closets, or bathrooms, or anywhere in the home where insects occur. During the day they hide in dark cracks and crevices, coming out at night to search for insects to eat. House centipedes are actually beneficial, as they capture flies, cockroaches, and other small household pests. They never damage plants or household items. When provoked, a few large kinds of centipedes can inflict a painful bite that may cause localized swelling, discoloration, and numbness. Life Cycle Adult centipedes overwinter in secluded moist places. Eggs are usually placed in damp soil in the spring and summer. Some centipede species add segments and legs as they grow; others are born with a complete set. Centipedes require two to three years to mature and have been known to live six years. Management Centipedes seldom need to be controlled unless they become a nuisance in the home. Centipedes are predators and generally play a beneficial role in the garden. Their activities should be encouraged in the yard. Reductions in the number of household centipedes occur when their food source—other household pests—is reduced. Airing out damp places may help. Outdoors, centipede control is aided by removing debris as recommended for millipedes.
Clover Mite Clover mites are plant feeders that occasionally invade homes. These mites do not attack people, and although vast numbers of them can enter homes, they will not reproduce under indoor conditions and will perish shortly of their own accord. Since the conclusion of World War II, the mite has become more common as a household pest. This increase in activity may be related in some way to an increased use of lawn fertilizers. The soil nutrient level or plant vigor and the proximity of the lawn to the house are factors that appear to govern the incidence of infestation. Description Adult clover mites are one of the larger mites that infest plants. They are 0.75 mm long, reddish or greenish in color, and have a greatly elongated first pair of legs. Featherlike plates or scales are sparsely arranged on the abdomen. The mites are frequently encountered on windowsills on the sunny side of homes and will move about at a relatively rapid pace. Life History The clover mite is a parthenogenetic species that will overwinter in any dry protected location chiefly in the egg stage; however, it can be found in all stages. The overwintering eggs appear in the cracks and crevices of concrete sidewalks, under the bark of trees, and between the walls of buildings, and often can be found in vast numbers within these confines. The clover mite adults will become active as soon as the temperature rises above freezing. The overwintering eggs hatch early in the spring (approximately April 1, or when temperatures are greater than 45°F) and typically will complete only one generation before they aestivate (a type of warm weather hibernation) for the summer. Another generation usually is completed in the fall. It is during the spring, however, that the mites become the greatest nuisances to homeowners. As early as mid-January, in Ohio, warm weather spells can produce activity from overwintering mites. Mites located in the vicinity of buildings may climb the exterior walls and gain entrance around windows or doors. If the mites are overwintering under the building siding or within the wall voids, they may become active and enter the living areas rather than exiting to the outside. Management Control can be achieved by applying a spray of one of the registered insecticides to the exterior of the house up to the bottom of the first windows, as well as to all shrubs and to the lawn up to 15 feet from the structure. When using a pesticide for this type of control, be sure that the material is labeled for the “site” (shrubbery, lawn, house exteriors, etc.). Misapplication could result in the staining of the home exterior or the burning of plant foliage. Since the eggs tend to hatch after a rain, repeated applications may be necessary. The removal of grass from a 6- to 24-inch-wide band adjacent to the foundation will act as a deterrent to mite invasions. Within the home, the best control method is to use a strong vacuum, which also will prevent the mites from staining surfaces. It is not necessary to chemically treat for mites within the home because they will die there within a few days from dehydration.
Box Elder Bug The western boxelder bug (Boisea rubrolineata) is often a nuisance pest around and in homes. Boxelder bugs usually feed on the leaves, flowers, and seedpods of the female or seedbearing box elder tree (Acer negundo). They may also subsist on male box elder trees and occasionally occur on maple and ash trees. They may feed on the fruits of almond, apple, cherry, peach, pear, and plum trees, and on grapes, where their feeding punctures cause the fruit to become deformed. Large numbers of the bug usually occur only on female box elder trees. Description Freshly laid eggs are straw yellow and turn red as the embryo develops inside. First instar nymphs are approximately 1.3 mm in length, wingless (with black wing pads) and have bright red abdomens. The legs and antennae are black. The nymphs become darker red as they mature through the five nymphal instars. The brownish-black adults are about 12 mm long and somewhat flattened on the top. Three longitudinal stripes on the thorax and the margins of the basal half of the wings are reddish orange. The adult's abdomen is also reddish orange. Life History With the approach of fall, this species congregates in large numbers on the south side of trees, buildings, and rocks exposed to the sun. It is during this period that homeowners become aware of the insects. Adult boxelder bugs will frequently attempt to enter cracks and crevices in the walls, in an attempt to secure a protected, over-wintering site, occasionally finding their way into the living areas of homes. In late April to early May, the bugs emerge from hibernation about the time buds on boxelder trees begin opening. They fly back to host trees where they remain active over the growing season. In spring soon after finding host trees, females lay eggs in crevices in the bark of the trees. Eggs hatch in 10 to 14 days into nymphs. Nymphs feed on foliage and seeds by inserting their piercing-sucking mouthparts into these tissues. They continue feeding until they mature into adults. Depending on weather conditions, one to two generations may be produced each year in Ohio. Damage Both nymphs and adults remove plant fluid from newly developing leaves that may result in distortion of the foliage. Severely infested foliage may appear chlorotic (yellow). In addition to foliar feeding, boxelder bugs may also damage flowers, tender twigs, and seeds of boxelder. Populations of this pest have been reported to prefer development on the female trees; thus, monitor for this species on these trees. It is, however, because of the boxelder bugs propensity to enter homes that causes the most alarm. Although the insects cause no direct damage to the structure, contents or the occupants, their presence is a nuisance. In heavily infested areas, thousands of boxelder bugs may enter the living quarters of buildings. Contrary to popular belief, over-wintering insects such as these do not reproduce within buildings. Management Ornamental Trees and Shrubs: An application of a registered insecticide formulation for non-edible ornamental trees or shrubs directed to the foliage can be made in early summer when nymphs are exposed and feeding on seeds and other soft host plant tissue. An alternative to outdoor chemical management of this pest is the removal of seed-bearing (female) boxelder trees that are growing close to a home. Before Bugs Enter a Building: Mechanical exclusion is the best method to keep boxelder bugs from entering homes and buildings. Cracks around windows, doors, siding, utility pipes, behind chimneys, and underneath the wood fascia and other openings should be sealed with good quality silicone or silicone-latex caulk. Damaged screens on doors and windows should be repaired or replaced. Exterior applications of insecticides may offer some relief from infestations where the task of completely sealing the exterior is difficult or impossible. After Boxelder Bugs Have Entered the Structure: It is not advisable to use an insecticide inside after the insects have gained access to the wall voids or attic areas. Although insecticidal dust treatments to these voids may kill thousands of bugs, there is the possibility that carpet beetles will feed on the dead boxelder bugs and subsequently attack woolens, stored dry goods or other natural products in the home. Although aerosol-type pyrethrum foggers will kill boxelder bugs that have amassed on ceilings and walls in living areas, it will not prevent more of the insects from emerging shortly after the room is aerated. For this reason use of these materials is not considered a good solution to long-term management of the problem. Spray insecticides, directed into cracks and crevices, will not prevent the bugs from emerging and is not a viable or recommended treatment. If numerous bugs are entering the living areas of the home, attempt to locate the openings where the insects gain access. Typically, boxelder bugs will emerge from cracks under or behind baseboards, around window and door trim, and around exhaust fans or lights in ceilings. Seal these openings with caulk or other suitable materials to prevent the insects from crawling out. Both live and dead boxelder bugs can be removed from interior areas with the aid of a vacuum cleaner.
Leaf-footed Bug DESCRIPTION OF THE PESTS Adult leaffooted plant bugs are relatively large insects, 0.75 to 1 inch in length. Both species are similar in appearance; they are brown in color with a narrow white band across the back, although this band is less distinct in L. occidentalis. The head appears pointed, and the hind legs have an expanded area that superficially resembles a leaf, hence its name. Leaffooted bugs overwinter as adults, typically in aggregations located in protected areas, such as in woodpiles, barns, under the bark of eucalyptus, cypress, or juniper trees. These pests can also overwinter in the orchard in plant debris, pump houses, or cracks along the tree trunk. In April and May, adults disperse to find food sources. These insects are primarily seed feeders and, once in the orchard, they will feed directly on the developing nuts or on ground vegetation seeds. Adults are strong flyers and can disperse from overwintering sites and quickly move into and within the orchard. Overwintered adults are long-lived, from September to October and April to May. Their eggs are laid in spring usually on leaves, twigs, and nuts; some Leptoglossus species deposit over 200 eggs. After nymphs emerge from a round hole on top of the egg, they develop into adults in 6 to 8 weeks. Because the adults are long-lived and can lay eggs over an extended period, the population can consist of all life stages by late June. There may be 2 to 3 generations per year, depending on temperatures and food sources. DAMAGE These insects are capable of causing two types of damage. The first type (epicarp lesion) is produced early in the season and is similar to that caused by other plant bugs. Nuts damaged during or shortly after bloom blacken and drop. If nuts are damaged during the period in which they are enlarging, the damaged tissue turns brown and necrotic and the outside will often become sunken and appear almost water soaked. The internal lesions often develop a white, netted appearance in the shell tissue, with no deep pitting. After shell hardening in June, leaffooted bugs may cause a second type of damage called kernel necrosis, which is not obvious on the shell. Externally all that is evident is a brown pinpoint mark. With kernel necrosis, the nutmeat is darkened, often develops a sunken or distorted area, and may have an off-flavor. If this occurs when humidity is high, a fungal breakdown of the nut causes it to turn slimy. Leaffooted plant bugs typically damage entire clusters. MANAGEMENT Leaffooted bugs normally do not appear in orchards until late in the season (August and September). However, if they overwinter in or near pistachio, they may be found earlier, usually feeding on nut clusters, and at this time they can cause considerable nut drop when their populations densities are high. Biological Control In most years leaffooted bug populations are controlled by natural mortality from temperature extremes and an egg parasitoid(Gryon pennsylvanicum). However, these natural controls can not be relied upon if there is a large overwintering population. This is especially true during the critical spring period as the egg parasitoid will only impact the adult's offspring, and it is the overwintered adult that will cause most damage. Cultural Control There are no cultural controls known to affect the density of the leaffooted bug or the damage it causes to pistachios. However, cultural controls such as cleaning debris from near the orchard may help reduce overwintering populations. Monitoring and Treatment Decisions Sample for nymphs using a beating tray; adult will either fly away or cling to the tree and not drop. Hold the tray under nut clusters while striking the limb sharply three times with a lightweight club. Immature leaffooted bugs will drop onto the tray and can be easily examined. If the bugs are present (e.g., 1 bug per 15 or 20 beats), particularly early in the season, treatment may be necessary. There are no reliable sampling methods for adults in spring. Instead, look for small, black nuts in clusters or on the ground in late April to early May for the first indication of bug presence in the orchard. Leaffooted bugs are capable of transmitting some pistachio diseases, such as Stigmatomycosis and panicle and shot blight, making control of these pests important.
House Crickets The chirping songs of the crickets are among the most pleasant sounds of summer and fall. There are many different kinds of crickets. Not all of them can produce sound, but when they do, it is the adult male that produces sound by rubbing his wings together. The male cricket uses sound to attract females, or sometimes to sound an alarm when he is disturbed.In some Asian countries crickets are kept in small cages in homes where they are prized for their cheerful songs. However, when crickets enter buildings uninvited, many people find those pleasant sounds annoying, and sometimes, crickets can damage a wide variety of materials. The information presented here will help you understand more about why and how crickets move indoors and how you can best prevent that from happening. Many crickets are attracted to areas where the moisture level is high and stable. They often move inside accidentally when a door or window is left open or sometimes in the fall when the temperature gets cooler. All crickets have chewing mouthparts. Usually they feed on decaying leaves, living plants, or even on other insects. Indoors, crickets can feed on fabrics, leather, and fur, and are especially likely to feed on items soiled with food, beverages or perspiration. They feed on the surface of fabrics, such as cottons, silks or woolens, leaving roughened areas caused by their picking and pulling to loosen fibers. Two common crickets that occasionally become pests are the house and field crickets. Description Both the house and field crickets have slender antennae that are longer than their bodies. They have large hind legs to help them jump. Their legs have short, sharp spines on them. Females and males have long antenna-like feeler at the end of their body and females also have an egg-laying guide. The adults and their young look alike, except the young are smaller and have no wings. House crickets are one inch or less in length and hold their wings flat over their backs. They are yellowish-brown in color with three dark stripes on the head. Field crickets are variable in size ranging from ½ inch to over one inch. Many are black, but some are varying shades of brown. Habits and Habitat House crickets can spend their whole lives inside buildings. They are usually found in warm areas where they can get enough moisture and food. Inside the safety of a building they can lay many eggs. In the winter they are often found near fireplaces, kitchens, water heaters, and furnace areas, but they may be found anywhere inside a structure. Field crickets usually are found in fields, pastures, and meadows, and can sometimes become agricultural pests. Field crickets are less likely to occur in large numbers inside because they lay their eggs in the soil. Usually, they are only an occasional invader. Outdoors both house and field crickets are often found in moist areas such as mulch, tall grass and weeds. Rock, brick and wood piles are also attractive to them. Both kinds of crickets are more active at night and may be attracted to light. Non-chemical Control The most important step to take for successful control is to reduce or eliminate the habitats that make it possible for the crickets to survive. These are areas that can stay moist most of the time. Mow tall grass and weed flower beds near the structure. Pay closer attention to areas around entry points like doors, or directly below windows, or vents. Keep heavily mulched areas away from the foundation, if possible. Stack wood off the ground, or even better, move wood piles away from the structure to eliminate habitats. Prevent trash cans from contacting the ground too. Crickets like to hide underneath them. Reduce lighting around doors and windows, or use yellow or sodium vapor lights that will be less attractive. Screening can be a good tool to prevent crickets from entering the house if kept in good condition. Indoors, vacuuming can remove crickets. Throw the vacuum bag away outside when you are finished. Glue or sticky traps placed around entry points may also be helpful. Chemical Control Use chemicals for indoor control only when a large infestation is present. In those cases, only apply the chemical to cracks and crevices paying special attention to possible entry points around doors and windows. With house crickets, treating attic areas sometimes may be necessary. Crawl spaces, garages, and basements may need a treatment too. Limit out door treatments to the perimeter of the structure. If treating mulch, decaying leaves or other thick material, make sure you get the chemical to go down deep where the crickets will be hiding. As with non-chemical methods of control, pay close attention to areas around entry points such as doors, below windows and close to vents.
Sow Bug and Pill Bug Sowbugs and pillbugs are similar-looking pests which are more closely akin to shrimp and crayfish than to insects. They are the only crustaceans that have adapted to living their entire life on land. Sowbugs and pillbugs live in moist environments outdoors but occasionally end up in buildings. Although they sometimes enter in large numbers, they do not bite, sting, or transmit diseases, nor do they infest food, clothing or wood. They are simply a nuisance by their presence.
Recognition Sowbugs and pillbugs range in size from 1/4 to 1/2 inch long and are dark to slate gray. Their oval, segmented bodies are convex above but flat or concave underneath. They possess seven pairs of legs and two pairs of antennae (only one pair of antennae is readily visible). Sowbugs also have two tail-like appendages which project out from the rear end of the body. Pillbugs have no posterior appendages and can roll up into a tight ball when disturbed, for which they are sometimes called "roly-polies". Biology and Habits Sowbugs and pillbugs are scavengers and feed mainly on decaying organic matter. They occasionally feed on young plants but the damage inflicted is seldom significant. Sowbugs and pillbugs thrive only in areas of high moisture, and tend to remain hidden under objects during the day. Around buildings they are common under mulch, compost, boards, stones, flower pots, and other items resting on damp ground. Another frequent hiding place is behind the grass edge adjoining sidewalks and foundations. Sowbugs and pillbugs may leave their natural habitats at night, and crawl about over sidewalks, patios, and foundations. They often invade crawl spaces, damp basements and first floors of houses at ground level. Common points of entry into buildings include door thresholds (especially at the base of sliding glass doors), expansion joints, and through the voids of concrete block walls. Frequent sightings of these pests indoors usually means that there are large numbers breeding on the outside, close to the foundation. Since sowbugs and pillbugs require moisture, they do not survive indoors for more than a few days unless there are very moist or damp conditions. Control Minimize Moisture, Remove Debris The most effective, long-term measure for reducing indoor entry of these pests is to minimize moisture and hiding places near the foundation. Leaves, grass clippings, heavy accumulations of mulch, boards, stones, boxes, and similar items laying on the ground beside the foundation should be removed, since these often attract and harbor sowbugs and pillbugs. Items that cannot be removed should be elevated off the ground. Don’t allow water to accumulate near the foundation or in the crawl space. Water should be diverted away from the foundation wall with properly functioning gutters, down spouts and splash blocks. Leaking faucets, water pipes and air conditioning units should be repaired, and lawn sprinklers should be adjusted to minimize puddling near the foundation. Homes with poor drainage may need to have tiles or drains installed, or the ground sloped to so that surface water drains away from the building. Humidity in crawl spaces and basements should be reduced by providing adequate ventilation, sump pumps, polyethylene soil covers, etc. Seal Pest Entry Points Seal cracks and openings in the outside foundation wall, and around the bottoms of doors and basement windows. Install tight-fitting door sweeps or thresholds at the base of all exterior entry doors, and apply caulk along the bottom outside edge and sides of door thresholds. Seal expansion joints where outdoor patios, sunrooms and sidewalks abut the foundation. Expansion joints and gaps should also be sealed along the bottom of basement walls on the interior, to reduce entry of pests and moisture from outdoors.
Cicada Biology of Periodical Cicadas No insects attract public attention like the periodical cicadas. They were the first insects to be noticed by settlers in the New World, and today, when they emerge, they receive national and international scrutiny. What makes these insects so interesting is their unique life cycle and evolutionary strategy for survival. In a specific locality, every 17 or 13 years, they emerge in enormous numbers. The immature cicadas dig their way out of little holes, crawl up a vertical surface, split their nymphal skin, and slowly emerge as delicate white insects with red eyes. Scarred twigs and browning leaves as a result of cicada egg-laying. After about an hour, their wings begin to expand while their bodies slowly turn black. In some places millions of cicadas will emerge in just a few days, satiating their predators as a species survival strategy.
About a week after their emergence, the male cicadas begin singing in order to attract mates. This orchestra dedicated to cicada sex can be so loud that it affects human behavior. Indeed, Indiana University nearly cancelled one of its graduation ceremonies because the cicadas were so loud that the speakers could not be heard.
After about a month's time, the cicadas are gone. In their wake, the trees look like they have been hit by a strong hailstorm, with the new twigs broken and hanging from the branches, their leaves brown and shriveled as the result of egg-laying by the females. The ground is covered with the remains of millions of cicadas, and soon our parks and yards start to reek with the odor of decay.
Meanwhile, a new generation of cicadas begins a secret life. After about 6 to 8 weeks, the eggs hatch within twigs and the minute cicadas fall to the ground and dig into the soil. There they will spend the next 17 or 13 years feeding from tree roots. They build a feeding chamber or tunnel 10 to 12 inches below the surface, where they stick their piercing mouthparts into the roots of trees to feed on the plant juices. As they age, they move closer to the surface, spending the last 7 or 8 years of their lives between 4 and 5 inches underground. One clue that they are there is the gradual increase in mole activity in areas where an emergence year is approaching.
Seven species of periodical cicadas are now recognized. The 17-year cicadas include Magicicada septendecim, M. cassini, and M. septendecula. The 13-year cicada species are called Magicicada tredecim, M. neotredecim, M.redecassini, and M. tredecula. The suffix on the species names (-decim, -cassini, or -decula) is important because species that share the same suffix are more similar to each other in their color, size, and song than they are to the others. This similarity has led to questions about whether the 17-year and 13-year forms are truly distinct species or the same species on a different schedule.
The decim species are the largest, with bodies that are about 1.5 inches long, and they have extensive orange coloring on the underside of their abdomens. The cassini and decula species are both about one inch long, but the cassini are entirely black on their abdomens, whereas the decula species have narrow bands of orange. The species groups have different songs as well. The call of the decim species is often described as a hollow-sounding "pha-roah" that begins on a high note and drops in pitch on the second syllable. The song of cassini is a buzzing or clicking whir (sometimes compared to the sizzling of a hot skillet), and the song of the decula species a rhythmic clicking uncannily like a rotary sprinkler.
Only male cicadas sing. The songs are produced by a pair of organs called tymbals, which are found on either side of the abdomen. Each tymbal consists of a ribbed membrane that stretches like a drumhead across an opening in the abdomen, which is hollow and acts as a resonating chamber to amplify the sound. Males gather in trees in chorusing centers, where they sing to attract female cicadas. Interested females fly into the trees and perch nearby, flicking their wings in response to the males' calls.
The males hear this flick and reply with another call, and females follow suit with another flick. As the pair draws closer together, the male changes his call slightly and mounts the female while tapping her with his foreleg. After mating, a female will lay her 400 eggs in the new growth of trees in clusters of ten to twelve eggs. After she has exhausted her supply of eggs, she will die. Within a week or two, all of the adult cicadas will be dead, but their offspring will continue the cycle, waiting another 13 or 17 years until they too emerge as adults.
Female Aphid Wasp Giving Birth
Aphids Aphids are small, soft-bodied insects with long slender mouthparts that they use to pierce stems, leaves, and other tender plant parts and suck out fluids. Almost every plant has one or more aphid species that occasionally feed on it. Many aphid species are difficult to distinguish from one another; however, management of most aphid species is similar.
IDENTIFICATION Aphids have soft pear-shaped bodies with long legs and antennae and may be green, yellow, brown, red, or black depending on the species and the plants they feed on. A few species appear waxy or woolly due to the secretion of a waxy white or gray substance over their body surface. Most species have a pair of tubelike structures called cornicles projecting backward out of the hind end of their body. The presence of cornicles distinguishes aphids from all other insects. Generally adult aphids are wingless, but most species also occur in winged forms, especially when populations are high or during spring and fall. The ability to produce winged individuals provides the pest with a way to disperse to other plants when the quality of the food source deteriorates. Although they may be found singly, aphids often feed in dense groups on leaves or stems. Unlike leafhoppers, plant bugs, and certain other insects that might be confused with them, most aphids don't move rapidly when disturbed. LIFE CYCLE Aphids have many generations a year. Most aphids in Ohio's mild climate reproduce asexually throughout most or all of the year with adult females giving birth to live offspring—often as many as 12 per day—without mating. Young aphids are called nymphs. They molt, shedding their skin about four times before becoming adults. There is no pupal stage. Some species produce sexual forms that mate and produce eggs in fall or winter, providing a more hardy stage to survive harsh weather and the absence of foliage on deciduous plants. In some cases, aphids lay these eggs on an alternative host, usually a perennial plant, for winter survival. When the weather is warm, many species of aphids can develop from newborn nymph to reproducing adult in seven to eight days. Because each adult aphid can produce up to 80 offspring in a matter of a week, aphid populations can increase with great speed. DAMAGE Low to moderate numbers of leaf-feeding aphids aren't usually damaging in gardens or on trees. However, large populations can turn leaves yellow and stuntshoots; aphids can also produce large quantities of a sticky exudate known as honeydew, which often turns black with the growth of a sooty mold fungus. Some aphid species inject a toxin into plants, which causes leaves to curl and further distorts growth. A few species cause gall formations. Aphids may transmit viruses from plant to plant on certain vegetable and ornamental plants. Squash, cucumber, pumpkin, melon, bean, potato, lettuce, beet, chard, and bok choy are crops that often have aphid-transmitted viruses associated with them. The viruses mottle, yellow, or curl leaves and stunt plant growth. Although losses can be great, they are difficult to prevent by controlling aphids, because infection occurs even when aphid numbers are very low; it takes only a few minutes for the aphid to transmit the virus, while it takes a much longer time to kill the aphid with an insecticide. A few aphid species attack parts of plants other than leaves and shoots. The lettuce root aphid is a soil dweller that attacks lettuce roots in spring and summer, causing lettuce plants to wilt and occasionally die. In fall, this species often moves to poplar trees, where it overwinters in the egg stage and produces leaf galls in spring. The woolly apple aphid infests woody parts of apple roots and limbs, often near pruning wounds, and can cause overall tree decline if roots are infested for several years. Heavy infestations of crown and root aphids on carrots may weaken tops, causing them to tear off when carrots are harvested. MANAGEMENT Although aphids seldom kill a mature plant, the damage they do and unsightly honeydew they generate sometimes warrant control. Consider the nonchemical controls discussed below, as most insecticides will destroy beneficial insects along with the pest. On mature trees, such as in citrus orchards, aphids and the honeydew they produce can provide a valuable food source for beneficial insects.
Praying Mantis The praying mantis is named for its prominent front legs, which are bent and held together at an angle that suggests the position of prayer. The larger group of these insects is more properly called the praying mantids. Mantis refers to the genus mantis, to which only some praying mantids belong.
By any name, these fascinating insects are formidable predators. They have triangular heads poised on a long "neck," or elongated thorax. Mantids can turn their heads 180 degrees to scan their surroundings with two large compound eyes and three other simple eyes located between them.
Typically green or brown and well camouflaged on the plants among which they live, mantis lie in ambush or patiently stalk their quarry. They use their front legs to snare their prey with reflexes so quick that they are difficult to see with the naked eye. Their legs are further equipped with spikes for snaring prey and pinning it in place.
Moths, crickets, grasshoppers, flies, and other insects are usually the unfortunate recipients of unwanted mantid attention. However, the insects will also eat others of their own kind. The most famous example of this is the notorious mating behavior of the adult female, who sometimes eats her mate just after—or even during—mating. Yet this behavior seems not to deter males from reproduction.
Females regularly lay hundreds of eggs in a small case, and nymphs hatch looking much like tiny versions of their parents.