This year we are dealing with quite a few pests in and around our lawns. I wanted to inform you of some management practices for some insects in our landscapes.
Mosquito populations are quite high this spring due to the large amounts of rain we have dealt with over the past month. The first three life stages of a mosquito are completed in or near bodies of water, typically standing water, the adult is the only stage not in the water. The steps in reducing mosquito populations in your yard would be to:
- Eliminate standing water from your property
- Dump buckets and old tires that may have water in them
- Check for low areas in your landscape that may have water sitting in it
- Clean birdbaths and pools weekly
- Use larval control disks in those areas to kill the mosquito larvae and not harm other animals
- Mosquito dunks can be obtained at the Gage County Extension Office thanks to Public Health Solutions in Crete or at many nursery and garden centers
- keep your lawn mowed properly and not overgrown
- Adult mosquitoes are often found resting in the edges of lawns where the native grasses and landscape plants are taller and overgrown
- When spending time outdoors during the summer, it is best to use bug sprays
- The most effective are those that contain DEET.
Ticks could be more of a problem this year than in past years because the wet conditions have led to an increase in growth of areas where ticks live. Ticks live in grassy areas near the ground level clinging to grass and other plant materials waiting for a person or animal to walk by so they can grab onto that animal as it moves by. Ticks are common in wooded areas or in tall grass. If outdoors in areas where ticks are commonly found:
- Wear light-colored, long-sleeved shirts and long pants
- Wear closed toe shoes
- reduce exposed areas where ticks can attach to your skin
- use insect repellents any time you are outdoors
- the repellents with DEET have the highest efficacy
We are reaching the time of year when white grubs begin to show up in our lawns and the time for treating for them. White grubs will create areas of dead grass in a lawn and if you pull up the dead grass, it will contain little to no roots. If you have had problems in the past with grubs or you have problems now, you may want to treat your lawn with an insecticide to control them. Treatment for white grubs should be done in the third week of June with a product containing Imidacloprid such as Merit.
On a good note, the Periodical Cicada, also called the Seventeen Year Cicada, has already begun to emerge in the forests of extreme southeast Nebraska. This is a cicada that is black with orange-red colored eyes. It is likely that they will be reaching peak numbers during the first few weeks of June. Do not miss the opportunity to see thousands of them flying among the trees and calling each other with their unique songs. They can be found at Platte River and Indian Cave State Parks as well as other locations from Omaha south into Kansas and east into Iowa. The next emergence is scheduled for 2032 so don’t miss this event! Periodical cicadas cause humans no harm and only cause minimal damage to our trees when they lay their eggs in slits made in branches, so no management is necessary.