Monday, July 16, 2012

Lawn Shrimp

Judging from the calls to Possum’s Landscape and Pest Control Supply and your faxes many of you are battling roaches, spiders, earwigs, fleas, mosquitoes and other common Lowcountry insects this summer. We are also getting a lot of questions about a nuisance pest.

The almighty roach always wins the most called about / most asked about award; however, a close runner-up this year is the “big red flea” question. Many of you after a rain or anytime might see what appears to be hundreds of “big red fleas” in your garage or inside your house on the floor right inside the door of a ground level entry. These are crustaceans not insects, and they do not feed on you, your house, your plants or your pets. Their common names include lawn shrimp and house hopper. Talitroides sylvacticus is their scientific name.

Lawn shrimp like a humid, high moisture area to live and feed. Ground covers like Asiatic Jasmine, Ivy and other moist mulched areas are perfect places for these crustaceans to live. They feed on decaying plant and animal matter. When they enter your house or garage, lawn shrimp are seeking a better life-style; however, they usually die because there is no food for them (decaying plant and animal matter) and the air is too dry (your air conditioner has taken the humidity they like out of the air). Lawn shrimp also like the moisture from wood piles, flower pots or any other stationary object they can live underneath.

Since lawn shrimp mainly feed on decaying stuff, they are more a nuisance than anything else. If you are tired of removing them from your dwelling, you may want to remove their habitats from your entry points to your house. Those nice flower containers next to the entryway may need to go.  Sealing thresholds of doorways will save on your electric bill and help keep these and other uninvited guest outside. Although there are not any chemicals labeled for the control of lawn shrimp (they are a crustacean not an insect), any good perimeter pest control product should hasten their demise as well as help with roaches and other household pests.

There are many Pest Management Professionals that can help you with these and other pests if you would rather leave it up to the professionals.