Little Black Ants Everywhere!

Odorous house ant profile

Odorous house ant has a flat, hidden node, so it cannot be seen by side profile compared to other ants.  Photo by Jody Green, Nebraska Extension in Lancaster County.

If you’re like most homeowners, this is the time of year small ants seem to be invading your home. Here in Lancaster County, household ant identification and inquiries are high. Spring has sprung, but the varying soil and air temperatures may not be stable enough to produce the food (carbohydrates, fats, proteins) to support the many ants becoming active in the ecosystem. They may be too close for comfort and here are the reasons they’re entering your space:

  1. They can.
  2. They’re hungry.
  3. They’re thirsty.

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The April 2017 Issue of the NEBLINE is on-line!

The April issue of the free NEBLINE Newsletter is on-line. Visit http://lancaster.unl.edu/nebline

Emerald Ash Borer IdentificationHere are some of the articles featured in this issue:

  • Emerald Ash Borer – Next Steps
  • Emerald Ash Borer Seminars
  • Is this food still safe to eat?
  • Cheese Ball “Chick” Recipe
  • Pollinator Class & Open House – April 6
  • When will my child be ready to ride a bike?
  • Upcoming Learning Child Trainings
  • Look for Rust in Wheat
  • Tractor Safety Courses for Youth
  • Care for New Orchard Plantings
  • Termite Damage, Infestation & Treatment Options – Part 2
  • Western Meadowlark: Nebraska’s State Bird
  • Household Hazardous Waste Collections – Local
  • April Heart of 4-H Award Winner: Shane Kraus
  • 4-H Club updates, 4-H Achievements Celebration, Upcoming Workshops, 4-H Camps and more
  • 4-H Teen Council Practices Leadership at Lock-in
  • Meet New Nutrition Staff
  • Open House at State Capitol
  • and much more…

The NEBLINE Newsletter

If you don’t live in Lancaster County, Nebraska, please make sure to check out your local extension office too. Your extension office has resources for you, your family and community. To find your local office, visit http://lancaster.unl.edu/office/locate.shtml (nationwide listing).

Have a great day!!

Soni

Responsive. Innovative. Trusted.
Nebraska Extension provides research-based information to help you make informed decisions any time, any place, anywhere –

Bed Bugs and the Aging Community

Human Bed Bug

Human bed bug is typically reddish-brown in color, oval-shaped, wingless and has sucking mouthparts to suck blood from its host. Photo by Jody Green, Nebraska Extension in Lancaster County.

Bed bugs are blood sucking insects that primarily feed on the exposed skin of humans while they sleep. Though they are not known to spread diseases to humans, their presence and feeding behavior causes great social, emotional and financial stress to many individuals and their families. Whether we choose to be believe it or not, bed bugs are real and they’re closer than we may want to believe. They can be seen in different shapes and sizes based on age and feeding status (fed vs. hungry).

Engorged bed bug nymph, poppy seed for scale, bed bug egg, unfed bed bug nymph.

Engorged bed bug nymph, poppy seed for scale, bed bug egg, unfed bed bug nymph. Photo by Jody Green, Nebraska Extension in Lancaster County.

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The March 2017 Issue of the NEBLINE is on-line!

The March issue of the free NEBLINE Newsletter is on-line. Visit http://lancaster.unl.edu/nebline

Habitat Modification Photo

Pet food left outside, especially overnight, can attract wildlife such as raccoons and skunks. Learn more in the March NEBLINE

Here are some of the articles featured in this issue:

  • Extension’s Agricultural Apps Put Management Tools in Producers’ Hands
  • New Climate and Weather App: AgriTools
  • Sorting Food Facts and Myths: Do Foods Labeled as “Natural” Deliver on Your Expectations?
  • Termites Part 1: Know the Difference Between Termites and Ants
  • Habitat Modification May Help Reduce Wildlife Conflicts
  • Choosing a Site for Your Orchard
  • 2017 All-America Vegetable Award Winners
  • Is My Child Ready For Kindergarten?
  • Heart of 4-H Award Winner: Nickie Casburn
  • It’s Time to Re-Enroll in 4-H!
  • Lancaster County 4-H’er Showcases Doll Clothing Business at ESI Capitol Contest
  • 4-H Club updates, Upcoming Workshops, 4-H Camps and more
  • Meet the 2017 Extension Board
  • Paula Peterson Receives Statewide
    Extension Board Volunteer Award
  • Jenny DeBuhr Earns Award of Excellence
  • and much more…

The NEBLINE Newsletter

If you don’t live in Lancaster County, Nebraska, please make sure to check out your local extension office too. Your extension office has resources for you, your family and community. To find your local office, visit http://lancaster.unl.edu/office/locate.shtml (nationwide listing).

Have a great day!!

Soni

Responsive. Innovative. Trusted.
Nebraska Extension provides research-based information to help you make informed decisions any time, any place, anywhere –

Flour Beetles: Pesky Pests of the Pantry

Another common pantry pest of homes are flour beetles. Flour beetles are very common in homes. They can fly in from outdoors or be brought into the home on infested products  from the grocery store.

There are two flour beetles that have similar biology, behaviors, lifecycle and feeding habits, the red and confused flour beetles. The red flour beetle has a three-segmented club, and the confused beetle does not. This difference though slight, provides an important difference when dealing with origin of the infestation because the red flour beetle is a flier and the confused flour beetle is not capable of flight.

red-flour-beetle

Red flour beetle has a three-segmented club. Photo by Jody Green, Nebraska Extension in Lancaster County.

Adult flour beetles are approximately 1/8 inch long and reddish-brown in color. The larvae are creamy to yellow-brown, with light hairs and pointed projections on the last segment. Before pupation, mature larvae are about 1/4 inch long. All life stages can be found in large numbers feeding on broken kernels and other grain products.

Flour beetle larvae

Flour beetle larvae. Photo by Jody Green, Nebraska Extension in Lancaster County.

Signs of red flour beetle infestations in the home include:

1) Adult beetles flying around inside the house. They are attracted to light and may accumulate along the window sills.

2) Larvae and adults can be found together in the same food products that contain flour and grain products.

Red flour beetle adult and larva feeding on dog biscuit (Photo by J. Green)

Red flour beetle adult and larva feeding on dog biscuit. Photo by Jody Green, Nebraska Extension in Lancaster County.

Prevention and sanitation is your best protection against flour beetles. Here are some ways you can prevent infestations in the home, minimize wasted food and save money:

  • Before purchase, check expiration dates for old products that have been on the shelves for a long period of time.
  • Be extra cautious buying plenty of heavily discounted products on clearance.
  • Avoid buying in bulk and storing large quantities of products in the pantry.
  • Store products in air-tight, transparent, insect-proof containers.
  • Use the oldest products first to ensure freshness and proper stock rotation.
  • Store infrequently used dry ingredients in the freezer.
  • Clean up spills and crumbs in food storage areas so not to attract pests.
  • Vacuum cracks and crevices where insects can hide and grains can accumulate.
  • Dispose infested foods in trash and put outdoors.
  • Flour beetles are often found devouring old dog biscuits forgotten on high shelves or trapped under furniture.

Treatment strategies for red and confused flour beetle do not include insecticide use inside the home. A thorough inspection is necessary to locate and eliminate the source of the infestation for a long term solution. Most people overlook prepackaged and prepared foods, unopened packages and non-food items, but a variety of products are vulnerable. There are pheromone traps available, that will trap beetles in a pitfall trap, but these are preferred as a monitoring tool, rather than a control method.

Flour beetles

Flour beetles can be a problem that starts at the manufacturing facility like the flour mill. Photo by Jody Green, Nebraska Extension in Lancaster County.

Flour beetles can occur year round in heated buildings. Keep your eye on your food and don’t share it with pantry pests.

Confessions of an Extension Entomologist: I bake so infrequently, that our flour is stored permanently in air tight containers in the freezer. If I didn’t have this job, I might be a professional pantry specialist. I enjoy organizing other people’s stored food products and finding insect-infested products. Note: Always check the pancake mix.

Red flour beetles in pancake mix

Flour beetles of all life stages and cast skins (exoskeletons) in pancake mix. Photo by Jody Green, Nebraska Extension in Lancaster County.

For more information on pests found in and around the home, visit http://lancaster.unl.edu/pest.

Stay calm and respect the critters,

Jody

 

 

Sorting Food Facts and Myths…

by Alice Henneman, MS, RDN, Extension Educator, Nebraska Extension in Lancaster County, “Sorting Food Facts and Myths: Foods Marketed as Being Free of Certain Substances”, February 2017 NEBLINE


Current food trends suggest there is confusion about the safety of the food system (production, processing distribution, consumption and waste management) leading to skepticism and decreased consumer confidence in our food supply.

For example: Foods Marketed as Hormone Free

IMG_0018Did you know? A food may claim to be “free of hormones” — however, it may never have contained hormones. For example, federal law prohibits the use of hormones in poultry production. Today’s birds are larger due to advances in breeding, animal nutrition and animal care. Likewise, federal law prohibits the use of hormones in pig production. The amount of lean meat produced per pig has increased due to animal selection and nutrition. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, “Hormones are not allowed in raising hogs or poultry. Therefore, the claim ‘no hormones added’ cannot be used on the labels of pork or poultry unless it is followed by a statement that says ‘Federal regulations prohibit the use of hormones.’” Be aware, the claim may be in much larger letters than the statement saying the use of hormones is prohibited.

Read the entire article and find a recipe for “Berry Good Pancakes” in the February issue of the NEBLINE Newsletter. Available free online.

If you don’t live in Lancaster County, Nebraska, please make sure to check out your local extension office too. Your extension office has resources for you, your family and community. To find your local office, visit http://lancaster.unl.edu/office/locate.shtml (nationwide listing).

Have a great day!!

Soni

Responsive. Innovative. Trusted.
Nebraska Extension provides research-based information to help you make informed decisions any time, any place, anywhere –

Fruit Flies: The Red Eye Guys

Fruit flies are small, but not microscopic, have short life cycles and can reproduce rapidly in tiny spaces with limited resources. These characteristics make fruit flies the model organism for genetic research, but are the very reason why fruit flies are such a nuisance when they appear in our homes.

Identification and Biology

Fruit flies are 1/8 inch long and typically have red eyes. They are one of the smallest and most common flies in houses, restaurants and grocery stores – anywhere food ripens, rots and ferments. Fruit flies begin as eggs before they hatch into legless larvae or maggots. The maggots enter a pupal stage so they can develop into mature, winged adult flies. They are active year round indoors, but their life cycle will slow considerably at cooler temperatures. Under optimal conditions in the summer, they can complete their life cycle in 7-10 days.

Fruit fly

The fruit fly has red eyes, two wings, and dark stripes on the abdomen. Photo by Jody Green, Nebraska Extension in Lancaster County.

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