April 1st, 2009 by BugGuy
The gypsy moth is an example of an insect that was introduced to the United States but soon backfired all around the country, including California. The gypsy moth
caterpillar (see picture to the left) is usually what is pictured when the insect is mentioned. These insects were brought to the United States in 1869 in an attempt to create a silkworm industry but has since become a major pest.
Tree damage is the major problem with the pests, especially when they are at the caterpillar stage of their life which is the gypsy moth larvae. As the caterpillars grow, they molt and their appetite increases each time they molt. A gypsy moth caterpillar may molt five or six times. Gypsy moths aren’t very picky when it comes to their food but they do prefer hardwood trees such as oak, elm and maple; other trees can be affected.
States across the country are trying to control this pest and even though there is an agressive attempt to eradicate the insect, the gypsy moth is still a major threat to the forests of California. The California Department of Food and Agriculture has taken steps to control the problem including spraying natural pesticides and even quarantining areas where the gypsy moths have been spotted.
Wondering what you can do to help? Gypsy-moth.com recommends a few tools to help protect the trees on your property.
- Destroy any egg masses by burning them or soaking them in water
- Use the TreeHelp Bug Band to prevent the gypsy moth caterpillars from reaching the leaves
- Use a gypsy moth trap to capture any adult moths
Here are some videos about gypsy moths from the California Department of Food and Agriculture.
Posted in Pest ID, Pest Prevention | No Comments »
February 25th, 2009 by BugGuy
Have you ever had a large swarm of small moths coming out of your kitchen cabinets or flying around your home?
Generally these are going to be the Indian Meal Moth.
The adults of this moth have a wing spread of about ¾”. The front wings are tan on the front third and reddish/brown with a coppery luster on the back two-thirds of the wings. Their larva is about ½” long, and usually a dirty white color, sometimes with a yellowish, greenish or even pinkish hue.
This moth is most often found in products in the home. The Indian Meal Moth larva (pdf) feeds on all types of grains and grain based products. They also love seeds, pet foods and treats, crackers, powdered milk, bread crumbs, nuts and almost any other dried foods. Having these moths in your home isn’t usually a cleanliness issue because they are normally packaged in the food when it was purchased. It only becomes a cleanliness issue if you don’t take measures to get rid of the insects.
Eradicating the infested food source is 75% of the battle, followed by a crack and crevice treatment to eliminate the stragglers. It’s important to note that there are other moths that look similar but may have different habits, and this is why a professional technician should be called out to properly identify the problem.
Posted in Pest Control Orange County, Pest ID, Profiles of Common Pests | No Comments »
February 4th, 2009 by BugGuy
The pest in the picture to the left is a glassy-winged sharpshooter. The name is not made up but the insect is considered both exotic and invasive to the state of California, this pest has is even been seen in Orange County.
A pest that is exotic and invasive is a pest that is not a native species (insect, plant, etc…) and has rapidly spread throughout the region. Exotic and invasive pests can be intentionally or accidentally introduced. But many times it is very difficult to eradicate the species and can often cause environmental problems within its new home.
According to invasivespeciesinfo.gov, almost half of endangered and threaten species in the United States are impacted by invasive species. The same site mentions that one study estimates that invasive species cost more than $100 billion for the United States every year.
It’s interesting to note that species that are staples in our country such as rice, corn and cattle were once introduced and could be considered invasive and exotic. So it’s possible to say that there are pros and cons. But more often than not, the introduction of invasive and exotic pests should be avoided.
Here are a few easy steps to prevent a non-native species from becoming invasive:
- Avoid dumping anything from an aquarium into local ponds, streams, etc… This include plants, fish and invertebrate
- Burn firewood where you buy it…transporting firewood can move insects and other pests from one region to another
- When possible, use native plants in your landscaping
- Think twice when buying exotic pests such as pythons, parrots, etc… these animals can cause numerous problems including threats to safety and human health
Here’s a great resource for invasive and exotic pests. This site includes information and pictures for exotic insects, plants, weeds and other species. Invasive.org is also a great place to find related links and publications dedicated to invasive and exotic pests.
Posted in Exotic and Invasive Pests, Pest Control FAQ, Pest Control Orange County | No Comments »