“For the golden corn
and the apples on the tree,
For the golden butter
and honey for our tea;
For fruits and nuts and
berries, that grow
beside the way
For birds and bees and
flowers, we give thanks
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family from all of us here at Nebraska Extension in Lancaster County! Today, we recycled the fall decorations from our office by placing them into the Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat. It will be fun to watch the wildlife on the live camera as they check out the pumpkins, squash […]
I’m going to take a moment to vent too ….. I happen to be one of the folks who can’t enjoy the outdoors right now around my home because of all of these tiny, black bugs that bite like the dickens! I get welts from them. My colleague Jody Green braved a “probing” just so we could get the great photo below!
If you are one of the folks suffering from the bites of minute pirate bugs (they look like a black dot on your arm – you may not see the markings as you squish it), here’s an article from one of our Nebraska Extension colleagues Jonathan Larson. Bottom line: There’s not much you can do. Cover up. Try a repellent or baby oil on the skin. Wait for a hard freeze…. oh, and they are beneficial, really – they are … read on —- Soni
Minute Pirate Bugs: Tiny Bugs with a Bite!
Dr. Jonathan L. Larson, Nebraska Extension
September 19, 2016
Arrr! It is national talk like a pirate day today and it’s truly fitting as we are also receiving the first reports of problems with minute pirate bugs. These bugs get their minute moniker because as adults they are only about 1/8 inch long. Adults are oval-shaped, have a black body with an off-white/brown bar across their back and white diamond on their wing tips. As nymphs they are an orange hue and lack wings, they actually resemble their cousin the bed bug a little bit. Worldwide, there are over 500 species of minute pirate bug but we mainly deal with only one species in this area, the insidious flower beetle (Orius insidiosus). Continue reading
The last few weeks brought an influx of a curious insect pest described by some as a cross between an ant-cockroach-beetle with pointy pincers extending from the rear end. The pest in question is none other than the European earwig. and judging from the lack of literature in our Extension files, it hasn’t been a common pest inside houses in Nebraska.
When I tell people their specimen is an earwig, they immediately touch their ears, and shutter in despair. Earwigs do not crawl into ears, bore into brains and cause death to humans. This was an urban legend or myth. After doing a bit more digging, I found this interesting paper by entomologist, May Berenbaum (2007) about the entomology and etymology of earwigs.
What do earwigs look like?
Earwigs are their own order, Dermaptera, and they are quite unique looking. They are long, flattened, and a dark reddish-brown color with pale legs, wings and antennae. They are often about 5/8” long, which includes their forceps-like, pincer appendages called cerci. Cerci are used in mating rituals, defense against predators and to hunt prey. Earwigs have two pairs of wings but seldom fly. Their hindwings are larger than they appear, membranous, folded and tucked origami-style underneath short, leathery forewings. Immature earwigs resemble smaller versions of the adult, but lack wings.
If you follow me on Twitter @JodyBugsMeUNL, you know a client brought me a brown recluse spider last week to confirm its identity. It was found in her garage inside a cooler that didn’t have a secure lid. It was the first live brown recluse that I’ve seen since joining Nebraska Extension in mid-March.
Because I am a spider person, I was pretty excited.
Because I respect my coworkers, this spider is now a preserved specimen in the lab. I didn’t release it in the building like I do with most spiders.
Here are some tips to help keep your cut flowers blooming longer:
Cut garden flowers early in the morning or late in the evening, when they are crisp with water. During the heat of the day, they lose water through transpiration faster than their roots can replace it and may be wilted.
Select flowers that are not yet in full bloom or past it, and cut them with a sharp knife or shears. Avoid tearing or smashing the stems since this can interfere with water uptake.
Carry a container of warm water to the garden and place flowers in it immediately after cutting. Cut flower stems exposed to the air tend to get air bubbles in the passages through which water moves. These bubbles may block the uptake of water. Leave flowers in the warm water for about two hours before arranging them so they can take up as much water as they can hold. If you must keep them a while longer, place them in fresh warm water and set them in the refrigerator. Remove excess foliage and cover them with plastic or paper to slow water loss.
Always use a clean container for cut flower arrangements. Previously used vases may contain bacteria that will quickly multiply and block the water-conducting tubes of the flower stems. Remove foliage below the water line. Foliage decaying in the water hastens the demise of the flowers by contributing to the bacterial buildup.
To learn more about extending the life of cut flowers, visit “Extend the Life of Cut Flowers” from Nebraska Extension in Lancaster County.
Have a great day!!
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The annual or dog-day cicadas are back for their free daily concerts which I call, “The Sound of Summer”. Anyone who isn’t familiar with the cicada sounds, can look and listen to this video that I took of a cicada over the long weekend.
This post isn’t about the cicada, but a predator of the cicada called the cicada killer wasp. They are out and about right now, scaring homeowners who are concerned about being stung by these huge wasps.