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John Fulton

John Fulton
Former County Extension Director

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In The Backyard

Horticulture columns and tips done on a timely basis

Nuisance Pests

Posted by John Fulton -

The number of Asian lady bugs and millipedes has exploded in the last week. The lady bugs are seeking food (mainly aphids) and warmth. The lady bug population is usually behind the curve of the food source, and that has occurred again this year. Area soybean fields developed fairly large numbers of soybean aphids, and the lady bug population has increased to feed on them. Of course the aphid population was on the decline as the lady bug population was on the rise. That leaves lots of lady bugs on the hunt for aphids. We also had aphids in the trees (they caused the sticky sap drips). The Asian lady bug warms itself in its native habitat on cliff sides. Without many cliffs in our area, the insects cluster on the side of houses and other structures to catch the sun. They are beneficial insects, but a real nuisance.

Millipedes are different. They are not even insects, and they like damp, warm places. They feed on decaying organic matter, and are usually found under mulch, compost piles, and leaf piles. Keeping these items from around the house foundation will help prevent at least some of these from getting in the house.

Foundation sprays will help prevent both insects from getting into the house. Bifenthrin and permethrin are the most commonly used. If you have huge numbers of lady bugs that prevent you from enjoying the outdoors, treatments of congregating areas with one of these products will reduce their numbers. Once in the home, sprays of aerosol products for flying insects and the vacuum cleaner are the best options.

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