We do have the first May-June beetles out for the year. These
insects come from grubs in the lawn or garden.
This brings us
to the first frequently asked question of the week: "When do I
treat for grubs?"
To start with, there are several types of grubs. There are
the annual white grubs, true white grubs, Japanese beetle grubs
and green June bug grubs. There are others, and these are called
by many names as well, but this will suffice for the discussion
All these beetles have larvae called grubs and have a
complete life cycle. The cycle goes like this: egg, larva, pupa
I mentioned seeing the first adults of the season for the May
beetle. I also found several Japanese beetle larvae while
planting some flowers. The larvae of the Japanese beetles will
be with us for a few more weeks before they pupate. Then, of
course, the actual beetle stage follows the pupa.
What this really means is we are in a rotten time to try to
treat the larval (grub) stage. The May beetles will have all the
eggs hatched out by the end of July, and the Japanese beetle
larvae will be around the third or fourth week of August.
The old timing (before the Japanese beetle) for grub control
was around the Logan County Fair. This allowed all the eggs to
hatch out into grubs before the treatment was applied. The grubs
were also small at the time, and smaller grubs are easier to
control than the large ones. Now, with the Japanese beetles
covering most of the county, it is recommended to treat around
the end of August to allow all those eggs to hatch.
Many products say they can be applied in the spring to
control grubs all season, and they will when they first come on
the market. Over time, microbes that break the chemicals down
build up in population. When this happens, the products can no
longer provide long periods of control. History is full of cases
of insecticides no longer being effective because of microbial
degradation. I'll cover the products available for application
when the correct application timing draws near.
[to top of second column]
It's another year of very high tick populations. Probably, the
frequent spring rains in much of the state have provided the high
moisture and humidity that ticks need.
Ticks are large, flattened mites that feed as parasites on
mammals, birds and reptiles. They hatch from eggs into six-legged
larvae that locate hosts and feed before dropping off the host and
molting into eight-legged nymphs. Nymphs locate hosts, feed and drop
off to molt into eight-legged adults. Adults also locate hosts on
which to feed. Males may stay on the host, mating with females
coming there to feed. Females engorge on blood to several times
their original size, drop off the host and lay hundreds of eggs.
With each tick having to find three hosts in its lifetime, many
ticks starve before reproducing, although ticks can survive for long
periods without food.
Ticks are numerous in areas of tall grass, where humidity is high
and hosts common. Mowing greatly reduces tick numbers.
When walking or working in areas of tall grass or other areas
with ticks, apply a repellent containing about 30 percent DEET, such
as Off or Cutter, to the lower legs and pants legs. If ticks are
numerous in mowed areas, spraying carbaryl, permethrin or bifenthrin
should help give some control.
If a tick is attached, grasp the head with tweezers where the
mouthparts enter the skin, pulling slowly and consistently. The tick
will release its mouthparts and come loose. Do not handle the tick.
Other methods such as heat and nail polish commonly kill the tick,
resulting in locked mouthparts that remain in the wound to cause
infection. A tick typically feeds for 24 hours before releasing
disease organisms. Remove ticks promptly when you find them.
University of Illinois Extension, Logan County]