Stink Bugs

Brown marmorated stink bug adult I believe the first time I really took notice of stink bugs in our area was in 2012 or 2013, though they were probably in the Northwest Ohio area prior to that. They have since become problematic for the agriculture industry, home gardens and around (inside & outside) our homes. The good news is that the stink bug does not bite humans and is otherwise harmless to us (with the exception of damaging our food supply and for those with certain allergies). The pest is active during the growing season with peak activity in fall as the insect attempts to find shelter for the winter. Keeping the stink bug out:

  • Seal cracks around windows, doors, chimneys, siding, etc.
  • Repair broken screens
  • Keep lawn debris away from foundations

Stink bugs may be targeted with a [dish] soap/water mixture. This spray must come in direct contact (sprayed on the pest) with the stink bug for it to be effective in terminating the pest. This is a great video of someone trying different mix rates of soap and water specifically for stink bug control: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m6m9xzhphLs Bifenthrin has also shown promise in controlling these pest.

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Tick prevention & tips

May is right around the corner and also marks Lyme Disease Awareness Month.

In an article posted on Yahoo Health ( https://www.yahoo.com/health/ticks-are-early-abundant-and-urban-this-year-117256478987.html?soc_src=unv-sh&soc_trk=tw ) has noted that tick activity this year is expected to start earlier than usually and possibly be more abundant than usual, especially in areas that were blanketed with snow during the winter.

Tick Facts

  • Ticks will usually wait for a host by resting on tall vegetation, when the host rubs up against the plant the tick will then ‘grab’ onto him/her and begin to search for an appropriate feeding site.
  • Ticks can locate to a new area by hitching a ride on a host, be it a deer, bird of other animal.
  • When a tick feeds, it may transmit a variety of different diseases. Read about the different diseases here: http://www.cdc.gov/ticks/diseases/

Protect Your Home

  • Keep your lawn mowed
  • Clean up leaves & debris
  • Keep shrubs trimmed
  • Prune low branches
  • Keep wood piles off the ground and at least 20′ away from the home
  • Create a mulch or stone pathway barrier at least 3′ in front of wooded areas to deter ticks from crossing from woods to your lawn (if your lawn abuts a wooded area)
  • Deter deer and rodents from your lawn
  • If ticks are a concern, you can have your lawn sprayed (or a perimeter) with insecticides

Protect Your Family

  • Wear light colored clothes when playing or working outside to make it easier to spot a tick
  • Wear products with DEET (applied to the skin – always read and follow label instructions) to repel ticks and other insects
  • Use products that contain permethrin for your clothing and shoes
  • After outside activity, check for tick activity on yourself, others and pets

Want more? Check out these sites too:

http://www.cdc.gov/features/stopticks/

http://www.cdc.gov/ticks/life_cycle_and_hosts.html

http://cfaes.osu.edu/news/articles/out-for-blood-ticks-lyme-disease-cases-the-rise-in-ohio

Spotting spiders moving about

Spider
Spider

I spotted a spider in the basement last night and it reminded me that spring is just around the corner, they must be getting as anxious for this winter weather to taper off as I am! For many years I have had a [very unfounded] fear of spiders, my fear has not been ‘cured’ by any stretch of the imagination, though I am getting better about tolerating some of them – not all of them, but SOME of them.

With that being said, this article is about spiders and how to get rid of them. It’s important to note that they can live up to several months without a food source and some spiders have a lifespan of 20 years! In Ohio, our indoor spiders may live up to two+ years and it should be noted that we are fairly lucky in the lack of poisonous spiders. Black widows are found in Northwest Ohio & Southeast Michigan, they tend to build their webs and homes in debris, wood piles or other safe places that are seldom disturbed. The reason I point this particular spider out is that she is the most likely poisonous spider that may be encountered in our service area. When working outside or in storage areas, wear gloves to help protect your hands as you move things around.

Yellow Sac Spider
yellow sac spider

Another common culprit in NW Ohio / SE Michigan that may cause [sometimes serious] reactions from bites are yellow sac spiders (pictured above). These little guys are often found on flat surfaces and build ‘sac’ webs to hide out in. I have seen many of them in my house and they do have a heck of a bite that will leave behind a small (pin prick) lesion that will scab over. It may be painful and itchy – in most cases their bite does not need medical attention. They are nocturnal, aggressive and may bite multiple times.

How to reduce the number of spiders in your home:

  • You may opt to simply whack them with a shoe or rolled up paper.
  • Some sites recommend vacuuming them up, although this will work, it is important to note that they usually have a relatively long life span and can go some time without food, meaning they may escape the vacuum and return to your living areas. If you do vacuum them up, discard of the bag shortly after (if you have a bagless vacuum, make sure to wear gloves while empting the container. Take the debris to your garbage can immediately).
  • Dish soap mixed with water and sprayed directly on the insect or in areas they frequent (leaving a residue) will help to break up their exoskeleton and dehydrate them to death. As a mother with young children, I have used this method many times with good results.
  • Glue traps: these are sticky, flat surfaces that you can place about your home to help trap spiders and other insects. Place them in areas that are not often disturbed as this will be the common route most bugs will take.
  • Destroying webs: this will deter spiders from continuously making their homes in some places.
  • I have read, though have not tried, spraying white vinegar mixed with water will immediately kill spiders and other insects. Will try this soon and update.
  • Insecticides: There are many on the market and a variety of active ingredients. We use a product with an active ingredient of Bifenthrin that has a relatively good residual. This product is labeled for both exterior and interior structures as well as lawn & ornamental. If spiders have become more than just a nuisance we do offer a bug shield to apply on the exterior or in your lawn.