A nuisance pest is anything that causes us grief. Ones that I
would target as nuisance pests right now include Asian lady
beetles, ants, crickets, boxelder bugs, elm leaf beetles, and
woolly bear caterpillars. All these things are in and around the
house and generally making things miserable for us.
nuisance pests, the best offense becomes a good defense. We can
start with a barrier pesticide application on the foundation of
the house (and the adjacent foot or two of soil around it) with
something like permethrin insecticide. This puts down a barrier
that insects crawl through when trying to get in or on your
house. Insects may not die immediately but shouldn't last long
after crawling through this barrier. In severe cases of insects
congregating on outside walls, entire walls can be treated. Just
make sure you test apply the chemical to a small section to make
sure you don't discolor siding.
Of course, if insects are already in the house, the barrier
won't stop them. Inside the home, only aerosol products should
be used. The safest of the group are the ones that are for
flying insects and contain pyrethrins or their derivatives.
These products basically kill insects that you get the spray on,
and the sprays are inactivated by hitting the wall, floor or
other surfaces. You can spray the air in a particular room and
vacuum up the dead insects in an hour or so. This is one way to
get insects inside the house. Remember the toxic principles of
pyrethrins and pyrethroids on dogs and cats, particularly with
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Another useful tactic, particularly with ants and crickets, is to
use baseboard-type sprays. These products are typically labeled as
ant and roach products and may last for several weeks. Just spray in
the high insect traffic areas, along baseboards, to put down a
lasting barrier inside the house.
For ants, the bait stations also
offer us the opportunity to kill the entire nests. The bait stations
are probably the most effective, but they should be used alone for
at least a week. Then you can also use the baseboard sprays. The
idea is to let live ants get to the bait and take some to the nest.
For those who don't like to use chemical products, the use of
sticky boards (like the type used for rats and mice) offer an
option. Place these in areas where many insects are seen, such as
room corners and under stairs in the basement. The vacuum cleaner is
also a good option for cleaning insects from draperies and the like.
Fall lawn basics
Time to finish up and check! Finish up any seeding you wish to do
this fall. Waiting later, especially with bluegrass, will hurt your
chances of getting seed started this fall. Also, check for grub
numbers now, especially with the moisture we have had since August.
You can cut a small square of lawn and check for the number of grubs
in an area. It generally takes eight to 10 grubs per square foot to
cause substantial damage to turf. Springtime treatments are
generally not effective.
Fulton, unit leader,
University of Illinois Extension,
Logan County Unit]