Insects directly affect the lives of all Mississippi citizens. You don’t have to be a farmer or gardener to be plagued by insects. Fire ants and mosquitoes are just two examples of insect pests that affect us all.
Every major row crop grown in the state is subject to attack by a variety of insect pests, and farmers often suffer large yield losses to insects despite spending a significant portion of their crop production budget on insect control.
Commercial fruit and vegetable crops are similarly affected, and home vegetable gardeners are well-aware that insects are a constant threat to tomatoes and other home vegetables.
Ornamental plants and turfgrass are also subject to attack by a variety of insects: azalea lace bugs damage azaleas in home and commercial landscapes, crape myrtle bark scale is a serious new pest of crape myrtles, and chinch bugs damage St. Augustine lawns.
Insects, like mosquitoes and ticks, bite people and sometimes spread serious diseases, while insects like fleas plague our pets, and horn flies and other livestock pests feed on livestock, reducing growth rates and feed use efficiency.
Termites and a few other insects even eat our homes, while insect pests such as confused flour beetles and cloths moths damage food and clothing stored inside our homes.
Successful insect control requires proactive planning, proper pest identification, understanding pest biology, and a sound knowledge of control options and how and when to apply control. Insecticides are useful tools for controlling insect pests, but insecticides are only one of many methods of insect management. Plant selection, variety selection, time of planting, cultural practices, natural biological control, and exclusion are just a few examples of non-insecticidal methods that can help reduce the need for insecticide use. When insecticides are needed, knowing which insecticide to use and how to apply it safely is critical to obtaining effective control for minimum cost and effort.
These web pages and the publications they reference can help you learn more about the insect pests that affect you, your home and landscape, or the crops you produce, and they provide specific recommendations on how to control these pests.
The word “termite” strikes fear in the hearts of homeowners because this insect is the most economically damaging pest in Mississippi, is very common and requires constant vigilance. Blake Layton, entomologist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said the cost of termites is so large that it is hard to pin down.
If you’re a homeowner who loves your bermudagrass lawn, be on the lookout for fall armyworms. These caterpillars can eat voraciously, devouring yards within just a day or two. These pests show up every year from late summer to early fall, and you never know exactly when or how many there will be.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Increasing buffalo gnat populations are more than a nuisance to central and south Mississippians; they cause measurable, sometimes fatal harm to chickens and livestock.
Swarms of these insects, also known as black flies, are killing backyard chickens and causing headaches for small-scale poultry producers in central and south Mississippi. At about 3 millimeters long, buffalo gnats breed in flowing water, so outbreaks tend to be in areas near rivers or streams.
Butterflies aren’t just beautiful. They are important pollinators for wildflowers and woody plants. But before they transform into the colorful, winged adults you see fluttering around your landscape, they are caterpillars hatched from eggs. Mississippi is home to more than 50 species of butterflies. Have you seen any of these three common butterfly caterpillars in your yard?
Can you tell the difference between a termite and an ant? Termites and ants share a number of similar physical characteristics, and it can be hard to distinguish between the two at first glance. Since termites can be active long before they are properly identified, mistaking them for ants could be a costly error!
When most people think of mosquito control, they envision a large chemical tank in the bed of a pickup truck.
Spraying chemicals is actually the last resort in integrated pest management (IPM), a scientific process of preventing invasive insects from reaching adulthood. IPM uses environmentally responsible alternatives, such as habitat removal, structural barriers, and larval control, before using sampling and resistance management to determine treatment plans for adult mosquitoes.
A dream of the Mississippi Pest Control Association and the Mississippi State University Extension Service is coming true after more than 20 years, thanks to a generous donation by one of Mississippi’s oldest pest-control companies.
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