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News Filed Under Insects

Termites swarming on this decaying tree stump are a healthy part of nature, but homeowners must take steps to make sure they do not infest houses. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Linda Breazeale)
June 7, 2017 - Filed Under: Household Insects, Termites, Insects-Pests

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The Mississippi State University Extension Service judged that the most economically important insects in the state should have their own website.

The site, https://extension.msstate.edu/termites, is the go-to place for information on termite biology, identification and control. The site describes the different species of termites found in the state and provides answers to common questions about the pests.

Leaving dirty dishes in the sink provides a feast for pests. Integrated pest management emphasizes practical, cost-efficient strategies for keeping rodents and insects out of the home. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
May 1, 2017 - Filed Under: Family, Healthy Homes Initiative, Household Insects, Insects-Pests

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Spring has begun, and while that means warmer weather and blooming flowers, it may mean more pests infiltrating your home.

David Buys, health specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, explained the importance of integrated pest management and the steps that make up the IPM process. He said IPM focuses on common-sense activities around the house, with an emphasis on environmentally friendly and affordable practices over regular application of insecticide.

A butterfly visits flowers at the Mississippi State University South Mississippi Branch Experiment Station in Poplarville in this photo taken in June. Pollinators still need sources of nectar in late fall as they prepare to reproduce or migrate to their overwintering locations. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Susan Collins-Smith)
November 16, 2016 - Filed Under: Insects, Lawn and Garden, Natural Resources

RAYMOND, Miss. -- As fall quickly winds down, gardening experts urge Mississippians not to throw in the trowel just yet.

Some pollinators are still active and need nectar for energy to reproduce or migrate to their overwintering locations.

August 23, 2016 - Filed Under: Insects, Environment

PICAYUNE, Miss. -- Families and school groups can have fun while learning about insects and their habitats at the annual Crosby Arboretum Bugfest Sept. 16 and 17 in Picayune.

The hands-on event, held at the Mississippi State University Crosby Arboretum, encourages children, teachers and parents to get curious about the world of entomology.

Attendees can participate in insect-themed games, educational presentations, arts and crafts, and collection and identification opportunities. A staffed mounting station will be available throughout the event.

The dark, fiddle-shaped pattern on the back of the brown recluse helps distinguish it from other spiders. Because of their reclusive nature, watch out for these venomous spiders in dark, neglected areas. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Blake Layton)
June 10, 2016 - Filed Under: Insects, Household Insects, Insect Identification, Insects-Home Lawns

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Warmer days motivate many people to tackle cluttered closets, disorganized garages and idle storage buildings. But before pulling out neglected boxes of junk, consider who -- or what -- might have taken up residence in the dark, undisturbed piles.

A bee feeds on the nectar of the Rhododendron canescens, commonly called pink native azalea, at the Mississippi State University Crosby Arboretum in Picayune, Mississippi. A two-part program will focus on attracting and feeding pollinators with native plants May 21 at the arboretum. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Pat Drackett)
April 19, 2016 - Filed Under: Insects

PICAYUNE, Miss. -- Gardening enthusiasts can learn how to attract pollinators during a two-part program at the Mississippi State University Crosby Arboretum on May 21.

Heather Sullivan, a botanist with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, will kick off the program with a habitat walk through the arboretum grounds from 10 to 11 a.m. On the tour, she will focus on the pollinators and native plants in each habitat.

From left, kindergarteners Garrison Baker, Knox Smith and Piper Graves learn about painted lady butterflies with Lois Connington, keeper of the Insect Zoo at Mississippi State University’s Clay Lyle Entomology Building on Thursday, April 14, 2016 in Starkville, Miss. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kat Lawrence)
April 14, 2016 - Filed Under: Insects

From left, kindergarteners Garrison Baker, Knox Smith and Piper Graves learn about painted lady butterflies with Lois Connington, keeper of the Insect Zoo at Mississippi State University’s Clay Lyle Entomology Building on Thursday, April 14, 2016 in Starkville, Miss. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kat Lawrence)

As spring approaches, Asian lady beetles that have hibernated in houses and other structures during the winter are trying to go back outside. Homeowners who have had problems with the bugs can take several steps to prevent future invasions. (File photo, MSU Extension Service)
March 16, 2016 - Filed Under: Insects

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Asian lady beetles are known for inviting themselves into houses and other structures during winter to hibernate, but they can be just as much of a nuisance in the spring when they are trying to go back outside.

Soffit and gable vents in home attics are common entry points for the beetles, but they will come in any way they can. Any crack in windows, walls or the sides of doors is a welcome mat.

Each fall, scientists from all over the world come to Mississippi State University to learn the latest insect-rearing techniques. Ellis Driver from Bayer Crop Science in Morrisville, North Carolina and Brook Merrill of Koppert Biocontrol in Howell, Michigan examine a black soldier fly larva in an MSU lab on Sept. 30, 2015 at the 18th annual International Insect Rearing Workshop. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kat Lawrence)
October 1, 2015 - Filed Under: Insects
A bee feeds on clover in the pollinator project garden at the Mississippi State University R.R. Foil Plant Science Research Center in Starkville June 16, 2015. (Photo by Kevin Hudson/MSU Ag Communications)
July 10, 2015 - Filed Under: Beekeeping, Insects

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Backyard hobbyists and commercial producers of fruit and vegetable crops share a common need: pollinators.

Without them, flowering plants would be unable to produce fruit and seed. Bees are most commonly associated with pollination, but butterflies, hummingbirds and flies also are common pollinators.

Mississippi State University graduate student Chelsie Darnell of Union City, Tennessee, gently knocks thrips from soybean plants to her collection tray in a Sunflower County, Mississippi, field on June 3, 2015. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Linda Breazeale)
June 29, 2015 - Filed Under: Insects-Crop Pests, Insects

INDIANOLA, Miss. -- Seed treatments have minimized thrips damage for the last decade, but farmers and entomologists fear some pesticides may be losing their punch in protecting cotton.

Scientists at Mississippi State University and other universities across the Midsouth have been aggressively exploring options for controlling thrips damage in cotton.

Angus Catchot, an entomologist with the MSU Extension Service, said the use of foliar treatments for thrips in cotton has grown steadily in recent years.

Varroa mites -- such as this one attached to a honeybee -- transmit viruses, weaken bee health and factor prominently in the decline of bee populations. (Photo by USDA-ARS/Steve Ausmus)
June 17, 2015 - Filed Under: Beekeeping, Insects

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- A lifelong beekeeper and Mississippi State University Extension Service apiculture specialist offers an unusual list of reasons for bee colony death.

“My top three reasons for bee colony death are Varroa mites, Varroa mites and Varroa mites,” said bee expert Jeff Harris. “This is my sarcastic response to the heavy emphasis in the press on the effects of insecticides and other pesticides on honey bees.

Mississippi beekeepers can post a "Bee Aware" flag, such as this one flying in a bee yard in Monroe County, Mississippi, to raise awareness of pollinators in the area. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Reid Nevins)
June 17, 2015 - Filed Under: Beekeeping, Insects

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Pitting farmers against beekeepers does little to solve the problems facing pollinators.

Beekeepers often choose to place bee colonies near row crops, such as this cotton field in Lowndes County, Mississippi, because the plant blooms provide much-needed nectar during the hot summer months. (File Photo by MSU Ag Communications
June 16, 2015 - Filed Under: Beekeeping, Insects

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- “Just mentioning bees and pesticides in the same sentence is sure to get a buzz,” said Angus Catchot, an entomologist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Media skirmishes about bee health, agriculture practices and the role of pollinators in food production are a mixture of fact, propaganda and general misunderstanding, Catchot said.

Termites swarm when they are looking for new places to begin colonies. Left uncontrolled, these pests can cause extensive damage to houses and other buildings. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Blake Layton)
June 4, 2015 - Filed Under: Insects, Household Insects, Insects-Pests

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi State University entomologist John Guyton actually wears them on special occasions in a tie, and some people collect them for science experiments, but homeowners typically want nothing to do with termites.

Termites are estimated to cause $40 billion in damage to wooden structures every year. In the U.S., that figure is $2 billion to $3 billion, and several million dollars are lost to termites each year in Mississippi.

Fire ant mounds are common along fence lines where they are protected from grass-cutting equipment and other traffic, such as this mound in an Oktibbeha County, Mississippi, pasture on May 11, 2015. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kevin Hudson)
May 19, 2015 - Filed Under: Forages, Insects-Forage Pests, Fire Ants

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Southern farmers may never win the battle against imported fire ants, but aggressive tactics can slow the pests’ invasion, reduce damage and prevent further spread across the United States.

Jane Parish is an Extension/research professor with the Mississippi State University Extension Service and the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station. She said cattle and hay producers have learned to live with and work around the troublesome ants since the pests arrived in the state almost a century ago.

The biggest reason people have trouble controlling fire ants is that they only treat individual fire ant mounds. Individual mound treatments can be useful situationally, but need to be supplemented with broadcast treatments that will control all fire ants in all areas. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kat Lawrence)
May 15, 2015 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Insects-Crop Pests, Insects-Forage Pests, Insects, Fire Ants, Insects-Pests

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- People have many misconceptions on how to eliminate fire ant mounds and prevent them from coming back, and these erroneous beliefs hinder efforts to keep the harmful pest from spreading.

Many dogs spend time outside and often share their play areas with fire ants. When disturbed, the ants sting and deliver venom that can cause severe allergic reactions for some pets and children. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Susan Collins-Smith)
May 5, 2015 - Filed Under: Fire Ants

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Fire ants can be more than unwelcome guests in the home lawn; their stings can be dangerous for children and pets who share play areas with the pests.

Fire ant stings are characterized by sharp localized pain, swelling and intense itchiness that is just a short-lived nuisance for most. A raised red bump appears soon after the sting and soon turns into a sterile pustule that resembles a pimple. However, the ants’ venom can cause severe allergic reactions in some people and pets.

Fire ant mounds, such as this one in Clay County, harbor an invasive species that has a negative impact on wildlife, including reptiles, mammals and ground-nesting birds. (Photo by MSU/Blake Layton)
April 28, 2015 - Filed Under: Fire Ants

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Blake Layton grew up quail hunting in Simpson County and has seen the steady decline of quail as fire ant populations expanded across the state.

Layton, an entomologist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said the farm he grew up on has the same habitat as it did when he was a child, but it has more fire ants and fewer quail and other wildlife species.

Most fire ants found in Mississippi are a hybrid between the red imported fire ant, pictured here, and the black imported fire ant. (Photo by Mississippi Entomological Museum/Joe A. MacGown)
April 24, 2015 - Filed Under: Fire Ants

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Tell Mississippians that fire ants have completely invaded the state, and they’ll probably shrug and say they already know that. Tell them the pain actually comes from a sting rather than a bite, and they’ll say it still hurts. But tell them how to get rid of the nasty critters, and they’re all ears.

The Mississippi State University Extension Service is organizing efforts to help residents Bite Back against fire ants. The solution is a simple two-part attack, but success comes in the long-term follow-through.

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