Insects directly affect the lives of all Mississippi citizens. You don’t have to be a farmer or gardener to be plagued by insects. Fire ants and mosquitoes are just two examples of insect pests that affect us all.
Every major row crop grown in the state is subject to attack by a variety of insect pests, and farmers often suffer large yield losses to insects despite spending a significant portion of their crop production budget on insect control.
Commercial fruit and vegetable crops are similarly affected, and home vegetable gardeners are well-aware that insects are a constant threat to tomatoes and other home vegetables.
Ornamental plants and turfgrass are also subject to attack by a variety of insects: azalea lace bugs damage azaleas in home and commercial landscapes, crape myrtle bark scale is a serious new pest of crape myrtles, and chinch bugs damage St. Augustine lawns.
Insects, like mosquitoes and ticks, bite people and sometimes spread serious diseases, while insects like fleas plague our pets, and horn flies and other livestock pests feed on livestock, reducing growth rates and feed use efficiency.
Termites and a few other insects even eat our homes, while insect pests such as confused flour beetles and cloths moths damage food and clothing stored inside our homes.
Successful insect control requires proactive planning, proper pest identification, understanding pest biology, and a sound knowledge of control options and how and when to apply control. Insecticides are useful tools for controlling insect pests, but insecticides are only one of many methods of insect management. Plant selection, variety selection, time of planting, cultural practices, natural biological control, and exclusion are just a few examples of non-insecticidal methods that can help reduce the need for insecticide use. When insecticides are needed, knowing which insecticide to use and how to apply it safely is critical to obtaining effective control for minimum cost and effort.
These web pages and the publications they reference can help you learn more about the insect pests that affect you, your home and landscape, or the crops you produce, and they provide specific recommendations on how to control these pests.
Mississippi temperatures got into the single digits this winter, which many people think of as bug-killing weather, but experts say that is not always the case.
Brown marmorated stink bugs took up residence in the Northeast nearly 20 years ago, but established populations of the destructive pest are now confirmed in the Southeast, including two reports in Mississippi.
Blake Layton, an entomology specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, is asking homeowners and producers to report any sightings of the insect. These insects are on a different level than other stink bugs in the South because of the damage they cause in fruit and the issues they cause when they invade buildings, he said.
PICAYUNE, Miss. -- Students and families can explore and celebrate the insect world during the Crosby Arboretum’s 11th annual Bugfest Sept. 22 and 23 in Picayune.
The arboretum, a public garden operated by the Mississippi State University Extension Service, sponsors Bugfest to allow the community to foster curiosity and an appreciation of nature and adventure.
Participants can collect and identify insects alongside Extension entomologist John Guyton and others from the MSU Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Entomology and Plant Pathology.
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.
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.