Monday, August 6, 2018

Shrimp Cocktail Anyone?

Horticulture Hotline 08/06/18
By Bill Lamson-Scribner

Until this weekend, I had forgotten the connection between overhead pruning with a pruning saw, pole saw or a chain saw and cigarette smoking. If you are a non-smoker, you know that whatever direction you stand in relation to a smoker, the smoke is going to blow in your face. While I was using a pole saw over the weekend to try to get some more sun and air movement in my yard, I was reminded of no matter what side of the tree you were working on the saw dust was going find its way to your face and eyes! Saw dust in my eyes brought back memories of pruning palms at Long Cove Club on Hilton Head Island when I was a young horticulturist.

I was asked the other day while grocery shopping, “I have these insects in my bathroom that have little pinchers, and when you crush them, they smell really bad. What are they and how can I get rid of them?”

When she mentioned the pinchers, I was thinking earwigs.  When she mentioned the foul odor when you crushed them, I knew for sure she was talking about earwigs! 

Earwigs like dead organic matter and moist areas.  If you have recently mulched your beds, sometimes you will see earwigs.  They are considered mainly an outdoor pest.  Earwigs feed on plant material; however, they rarely eat enough to damage plants.   

If you have a pest control company under contract, give them a call and they can get rid of this problem very quickly.  If you would rather do it yourself, the first place to start is to check and be sure you have a 12-24 inch barrier around your house that is free of vegetation and mulch.   Caulk any gaps around pipes, wires, windows, doors or any other area that might be an entry point for the earwig or any other pest (roaches, ants, etc.).  Using yellow bug lights on the outside of your house will attract fewer earwigs and other insects to your house.  Any wood piles, deep pile of leaves, or other areas that stay moist should be removed.  If you have wood for your fire place, you can stack it above ground on metal wood holders, cinder blocks or pallets away from your house.  These are all good practices to help prevent insects and to protect your house.

If these cultural practices do not take care of the problem, you may consider using a control product around the perimeter of your house and any moisture harboring areas (wood pile).  There are many good products (InTice 10 Perimeter NOP Compliant is very good) on the market that would help you control earwigs as well as other insects.

Another similar pest that we have been getting lots of calls at Possum’s about is lawn shrimp. 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. 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 debris, 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 your 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.

Always read, understand and follow product label. The product label is a Federal Law.