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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
Ant and Termite Differences

Ants, Termites, and Lady Bugs

Posted by John Fulton -

The alternating warm and cool weather has brought about many interesting things, both inside and outside the house. Inside the house, we have the Asian ladybugs to deal with. We also have them outside, but that is less of a concern. As we begin to clean up flower beds, or piled leaves around the house, we will disturb resting places of the ladybugs. This will cause them to seek a new place, and if it is warm and sunny enough, they may just create a little bit of a nuisance outside. Inside, we have a population coming out of hibernation. They have been there all winter, but have been under or behind things so you didn't know they were there. The best control around the house seems to be a cup of coffee or a glass of water for them to fly into. Seriously, sucking them up with a vacuum, or spraying areas with an aerosol flying insect killer is about as good as you can do.

Another insect becoming active with the warm weather is the ant. We are seeing winged ants being brought into the office on a regular basis. Ants become winged when they are overcrowded in their old colony, and are seeking to start a new one. Many are concerned about the identification of these winged insects to make sure they aren't termites. The process is relatively simple. Just look at the last body segment, and if it has a "pinched" waist, it is an ant. Termites don't have that hourglass figure, but are shaped more like a cigar. There have also been a few termite samples brought in.

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