March 9, 2017
While watching a movie one evening last weekend, my wife said something to me about, “They’re Back!” This sounded like a line out of some cheap horror movie, but then I realized what she was talking about. With most of our lights turned down, the TV attracted a lady bug that was walking across the screen. With warmer temperatures recently, our house, like many, has seen or will see an increase in the activity of these pests.
Multicolored Asian lady beetles seem to invade homes in the spring, but they actually invaded homes last fall and have been overwintering under siding and between walls. With warm weather, they become active and accidentally move indoors instead of returning to the outdoors.
While they may be a nuisance in the home, and lady beetles can bite, they are harmless to people, plants or pets... and their bite is harmless, too. These insects will not survive or reproduce in the home. They are frequently drawn to sunny windows as they look for a way to return outdoors. Once outside, lady beetles are beneficial because they feed on a major crop pest, soybean aphids, as well as other aphids and insect pests that may attack gardens, trees, shrubs and other ornamentals.
If you have many lady beetles in your home, sweep or vacuum them up to control them. If you use a vacuum, here is a suggestion. First, cut a leg off a pair of pantyhose or use a knee high nylon to trap them before they reach the container on your vacuum. Stick the toe end of the nylon down the hose with the open end folded over the outside of the end of the hose. Then put the attachment you’ll use on the end of the vacuum hose to hold the nylon in place so it is not sucked into the bag or canister. Then, as soon as you are done vacuuming up these six-legged pests, remove the nylon and release them outside or flush them down the toilet.
The reason to trap them before they reach the bag or canister of your vacuum is twofold. First, if the ride didn’t kill them, they may crawl back out when you are done using the vacuum. The second problem is, they do give off an odor and even if they die in the vacuum, each time you use it, you will notice their odor until you dump the canister or change the bag.
Another pest we may encounter in the next few weeks is the clover mite. These tiny red mites are found on sunny walls and windows in early spring. Wiping them up with a wet washcloth or paper towel will control the mites for the couple of weeks they may be a nuisance indoors. Their life cycle is similar to lady beetles in that they actually got under siding or into walls last fall and are now or soon will become active, trying to find their way back outside.
Spraying or fogging with an insecticide indoors is not effective or recommended for either of these pests. Once their coming out of winter hibernation period ends, these pests will not be much of a problem until next fall when they look for a protected place to overwinter.
To keep them out of the home next fall, caulk cracks, crevices, and around conduit; use weather stripping around windows and doors, and keep screens in good repair. This should reduce the pests entering your home and also help reduce your heating bill. If these pests seem to be concentrated in a particular room this spring, focus your inspection on the wall and foundation outside this room.
For more information on controlling multicolored Asian lady beetles or clover mites in your home, contact you local Nebraska Extension office.
Last Chance: Private Applicator Pesticide Training
Attention Snow Birds and Procrastinators: Your last chance to attend a training session to recertify as a private pesticide applicator or to become certified if you have never been certified or allowed your certification to lapse are limited. Take advantage of one of these sessions so you don’t get caught later this year wanting to purchase a restricted use pesticide and your ag chemical dealer reminds you that you are not certified. That’s usually when I get a frantic call.
There are several opportunities to attend this training in this area. They include:
Tuesday, March 21, 1:00 p.m. - Extension Office, Fremont
Thursday, March 23, 6:00 p.m. - Lifelong Learning Center, Norfolk
Tuesday, March 28, 1:00 p.m. - Lifelong Learning Center, Norfolk
Thursday, March 30, 6:30 p.m. - St. John’s Lutheran Church, Schuyler
Thursday, April 6, 9:00 a.m. - Lifelong Learning Center, Norfolk
Other sessions are available, but are even farther away. For a complete listing of private pesticide applicator training sessions, go to the Nebraska Extension Pesticide Education website at http://pested.unl.edu/ and click on “2017 Private Pesticide Training Dates” at the top of the right column under the heading “Hot Topics!” Once you have all the training sessions listed, you can sort them by clicking on the heading at any of the columns. So click on "Date" to get a list that easily sorts out the remaining training sessions.