“Is That A BUG in my Christmas tree?” Read more to learn which bugs can get into your Christmas Tree and put a damper on your holiday, and how to get rid of Christmas tree bugs.
The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) can become a serious nuisance pest when large numbers are able to invade your home in the fall.
The word marmorated means having a marbled or streaked appearance; which is fitting since BMSB adults are about 1/2 inch long and have
shades of brown on both the upper and lower body surfaces.
BMSBs can be identified by looking for white stripes on the antennae, alternating bands of brown and white on the other edges (lower left and right) of the abdomen; and faint white bands are also on the legs.
Where did they come from?
The BMSB (Halyomorpha halys), is a plant pest, that was accidentally introduced into the United States from Japan, Korea, and China. It first was seen in 2001 in Allentown, PA, but since, it has spread throughout the Mid-Atlantic States and is very slowly moving South.
Eat your Fruits & Veggies – Before they do!
The BMSB feeds on crops by sucking the juices out of the inside tissues with its straw-like mouth (stylets). This feeding not only causes direct damage to the crop, but pathogenic bacteria and yeast can be transmitted causing rot.
What to do and NOT to do
- Perform a “light leak test” and seal up any cracks and crevices
- Rake away all debris and edible vegetation from your home’s foundation to keep from attracting pests.
- If your home has a fireplace, cap or screen the top of the chimney to keep out pests.
- To get rid of dead (and alive) BMSB, hand-pick them up and toss them back outside. They may release the “stink” when they are threatened – so be gentle.
- Don’t squish them – they release a very foul odor – kind of like the powerful smelling spice – coriander.
- Do not leave a bunch of dead MBSB around as they will still stink and can attract other insect pests and they can stain surfaces.
How do I control weeds throughout the summer?
Summer is the perfect season for a great vacation, but it is also peak season for weeds.
Weeds do not easily invade a healthy stand of turf that is properly fertilized, watered and mowed at the correct frequency and height. Weeds like bare and thin areas which can be caused by:
- Improper fertilization
- Too much or too little of the correct nutrients and/or improper timing of application
- Too much or too little watering
- Overly moist soils are subject to various sedge weeds that can be really tough to eliminate once they take hold
- Failure to control diseases and insects
- For example: fungus, grub worms, mole crickets and moles
There are 3 main ways to control your lawn’s weed population:
The best cultural practice for weed control in your lawn is frequent mowing (weekly if possible). This breaks the weed’s life cycle by cutting the seed heads before they mature, thereby preventing them from spreading. Many weed species do not tolerate frequent mowing.
Mowing at the correct height for the turf type is equally as important as frequent mowing. Mowing too low can cause injury to the turf, and mowing too tall will result in excessive thatch buildup.
Many professional lawn care companies apply pre-emergent herbicides in late winter to early spring, then again in late April to early June.
Pre-emergent is a type of herbicide that prevents the germination of seeds. It typically lasts 4 to 6 weeks depending on environmental factors like rainfall and temperature. Late June, July and early August can be prime time for weeds to flourish based on the last application time of the pre-emergent. When the effects lessen over time, weeds are able to germinate and start to appear in your lawn.
Did you know? If you have a newly sodded home, you cannot use pre-emergent for 6 months as it is a root inhibitor.
3. Post-Emergent Herbicides
Post-emergent is a type of herbicide that kills weeds after they have germinated.
After weeds appear, many lawn care companies will not apply post-emergent weed control when daytime temperatures are over 93 degrees for fear of killing the turf.
Did you know? For new sod, you have to be careful with using post-emergence herbicides until after the turf is well-established.
There are many beautifully maintained DIY lawns out there. If you would like some DIY tips, give us a call. But for many of us, the service and expertise that professional lawn fertilization companies provide is well worth the investment. The burden of results is placed on the professionals, which allows you to utilize your free time for more enjoyable activities.
If you are in the Midlands of South Carolina, contact us today for a quote on professional lawn care toll-free at 866-781-4991 or email us at LawnHelp@ClarksTurfPro.com. Thank you for your business!
Why are they called Fire Ants?
Red imported fire ants get their common name from 2 factors:
- They have a reddish appearance (the color of fire);
- Their ability to inflict painful bites and stings. Some say the pain caused by the sting is same as the pain caused by a fire burn.
“Sharp, sudden, mildly alarming. Like walking across a shag carpet and reaching for the light switch.”
This is how Dr. Justin Schmidt (“The King of Sting”) describes the sting of the Red Imported Fire Ant (aka RIFA). He rates the pain level of the Fire Ant as a 1.5 on a scale from 1 to 4 on THE SCHMIDT INSECT STING PAIN INDEX (See below).
Ouch! What do I do if there are fire ants on me?
If you somehow get fire ants on you, it may be your first instinct to try and shake them off in a state of panic. Though it is important to remove the ants quickly, shaking will not work. They’ll likely latch on, and shaking will only make them hold tighter. The most effective way to remove them is to quickly and repeatedly brush them off of the skin. If they are stinging through clothes or shoes, promptly remove the clothing and ensure they are gone before re-dressing.
What should I do if I get stung by fire ants?
There isn’t much you can do, except watch the affected area for excessive swelling, itching or redness, or other symptoms like shortness of breath, thickening of the tongue, sweating, etc. that could indicate a severe systemic allergic reaction. If this occurs, seek medical attention immediately.
Is my pet at risk of fire ant stings?
Due to the amount of time dogs spend outdoors, the possibility of them being stung by fire ants is high. Dogs can easily disturb a fire ant mound just by playing or digging nearby. The areas most vulnerable to stings are those with little or no hair, such as ears, nose, or abdomen. Additionally, dog food attracts fire ants. Fire ants often swarm a food bowl, making it not only difficult but also dangerous for your pet to eat. If fire ants sting your dog, move him or her from the source of the fire ants immediately and remove all ants by brushing them off.
Did you know?
Fire ants are attracted to the electric fields created by the high voltage devices. They tend to build nests close to the high voltage switch boxes, invade the electrical equipment, short out electronic gadgets, and cut through the metal wires.
Fire ants can form waterproof clusters up to thousands of ants. They keep the queen and larvae in the mound’s center for protection while the outside ants take turns cycling from the top of the mound to the bottom. The ants can do this for several days while they search for dry land.
Whiteflies usually occur in groups on the undersides of leaves. They derive their name from the mealy, white wax covering the adult’s wings and body. Adults are tiny insects with yellowish bodies and whitish wings.
Whiteflies are tiny, sap-sucking insects that are frequently abundant in vegetable and ornamental plantings. They excrete sticky honeydew and cause yellowing or death of leaves. Whiteflies develop rapidly in warm weather, and populations can build up quickly in situations where natural enemies are destroyed and weather is favorable. Most whiteflies have a wide host range that includes many weeds and crops. Like aphids, whiteflies excrete honeydew, so leaves may be sticky or covered with black sooty mold. The honeydew attracts ants, which interfere with the activities of natural enemies that may control whiteflies and other pests. Management is difficult.
Whiteflies can be controlled through a variety of means including biological and chemical means as well as removal. Clark’s Pest Control offers a variety of solutions for your lawn and garden and can address problems you are having with both whiteflies and ants in your yard.
Aphids 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. All are small, pear-shaped insects with long legs and antennae. When the weather is warm, many species of aphids can develop from newborn nymph to reproducing adult in 7 to 8 days. Because each adult aphid can produce up to 80 offspring in a matter of a week, aphid populations can increase with great speed.
Aphids are small, soft-bodied insects with long, slender mouth parts that they use to pierce stems, leaves and other tender plant parts and suck out plant fluids. Almost every plant has one or more aphid species that occasionally feeds on it. Large populations of aphids cause curling, yellowing and distortion of leaves and stunting of shoots; aphids can also cause a plant to produce large quantities of a sticky substance known as honeydew, which often turns black with the growth of a sooty mold fungus. Some aphid species inject a toxin into plants, which further distorts growth. Ants are often associated with aphid populations, especially on trees and shrubs, and often are a tip-off that an aphid infestation is present. If you see large numbers of ants climbing up your tree trunks, check for aphids (or other honeydew-producing insects) on limbs and leaves above. To protect their food source, ants ward off many predators and parasites of aphids. Management of ants is a key component of aphid management.
Aphids can be controlled through a variety of means including cultural, biological and chemical means. Clark’s Pest Control offers a variety of solutions for your lawn and garden and can address problems you are having with both aphids and ants in your yard.