Oh, I know, you are seeing those pesky web worms back all over NW Arkansas. I am getting calls almost every day.

BUT NOW IS NOT THE TIME TO TREAT FOR WEBWORMS.

Counter intuitive isn’t it since you are just now starting to see them. But you should have prepared for these little buggers long before now.

Webworm Treatment: Tips For Controlling Webworms

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Many people wonder what to do about webworms. When controlling fall webworms, it’s useful to analyze what exactly they are. Webworms, or Hyphantria cunea, usually appear on trees in the fall (while tent worms[1] appear in spring), causing unsightly nests and severe leaf damage. Let’s learn more about fall webworm control.

Fall Webworm Info

Webworms are caterpillars[2] that weave loose webbing around the tree’s foliage whilst munching on leaves, resulting in plant stress and leaf loss. This larval “nest” may cover single leaves or leaf clusters, but more often entire branches covering several feet across.

Webworm treatment options have to do with the life cycle of the critter. Webworms overwinter as pupae in cocoons found in the bark of the tree or amongst leaf litter. In the spring, adults emerge and deposit eggs, often creating large numbers of these caterpillar laden webs in a single tree. These caterpillars may go through as many as eleven growth stages (instars) before leaving the web to pupate and multiple generations occur per year.

The webworm caterpillar is about an inch long with a black to reddish head and light yellow to greenish body with a mottled stripe of two rows of black tubercles and tufts of long whitish hairs. Adults appear as white moths with dark spots on the wings.

Tips for Controlling Fall Webworms

What to do about webworms? There are several schools of thought on the best way to kill webworms. Fall webworm control runs the gamut from insecticides to burning the nests. Yes, webworm treatment may extend to the lengths of burning the nests, but read on.

Controlling fall webworms may be difficult due to their sheer large numbers and the variety of trees which they attack. Damage to such cultivars of hickory[3], mulberry[4], oak, pecan[5], poplar, redbud[6], sweet gum, willow[7] and other ornamental, fruit and nut trees may require a specific webworm treatment as the best way to kill webworms.

What to Do About Webworms

A webworm treatment for control of fall webworms that is highly recommended is the use of dormant oil. The best way to kill webworms with dormant oil is in the early spring while the tree is dormant. Dormant oil is preferable due to its low toxicity and easy availability; any local garden supply store will have it. Dormant oil attacks and kills the overwintering eggs.

The control of fall webworms also includes the more toxic varieties of insecticides, such as Sevin or Malathion. Sevin is a webworm treatment which kills the webworms once they are outside of the nest. Malathion works in much the same manner; however, it will leave a residue on the tree’s foliage. Orthene is also an option for fall webworm control.

And last but certainly not the least dramatic method, is to burn them out. Some folk’s utilize a propane torch attached to a long pole and burn out the webs. I can name a couple of sound reasons for the insanity of this method of fall webworm control. Controlling fall webworms via this route is dangerous due to the flaming webs one must dodge, the probability of making a conflagration of the entire tree and not least, the difficulty in hanging onto a stepladder with a flaming 20 foot pole! However, to each his own.

The safest and most effective method of what to do about webworms is as follows: Prune the tree in the spring and spray with a lime-sulfur and dormant oil spray. As buds begin to break, follow up your webworm treatment by spraying Sevin or Malathion and repeat in 10 days. Also, make sure to clean up any leaf debris to remove overwintering pupation populations.

RELATED ARTICLES:

  1. Mosquito Facts: Mosquito Lesson 101
  2. How to Get Rid of Fire Ants
  3. Fall Webworms in NWA

 

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This is an Aedes albopictus female mosquito obtaining a blood meal from a human host.

This is an Aedes albopictus female mosquito obtaining a blood meal from a human host.

 

It’s the beginning of mosquito season and time to start treatments to prevent populations from getting heavy and ruining your outdoor enjoyment. NWA Ladybug Pest Control. provides a safe, comprehensive mosquito management program that targets the adult mosquitoes and their larvae. We also provide information on mosquitoes and ways to help further prevent the chances of getting bitten. Below are some answers to our most frequently asked questions about mosquitoes:

 

 

What do we need to know about Zika in the US?

The mosquito species capable of spreading Zika are common in the southeastern states. This includes the Yellow fever mosquito (Aedes aegypti) and the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus). There have been several cases of Zika reported in the U.S. but so far these cases involved the person traveling overseas. For the most up-to-date information on Zika, visit the Center for Disease Control website.

What is the mosquito life cycle?

Adult female mosquitoes lay eggs in or near stagnate water, or in low-lying areas that may eventually flood. The larvae (called “wrigglers” because they are the little wriggly things you see in small pools of water) hatch and develop underwater. They feed on organic material in the water and eventually pupate (go into the pupa stage). The pupae are sometimes called “tumblers” because they tumble around just under the surface of the water. The adult mosquitoes develop inside the pupae and emerge on the surface of the water and fly away but stay close to the breeding sites. This whole process can take less than a week to complete. Adult males and females mainly feed on nectar from flowers, but females need to obtain a blood meal to produce her eggs.

How are mosquito bites different for a human vs. other animals like pets?

Although some animals have thick fur and hair, mosquitoes still can bite them in areas that are not protected by hair, such as the nose, ears, stomach and other areas. And similar to you, your cat or dog also finds mosquito bites very itchy and the bitten area may swell and get an infection if it is constantly scratched and not treated properly. Mosquitoes can also transmit dog heartworm.

Consult your veterinarian for ways to treat mosquito bites on your pets and for medication to prevent contracting heartworm.

 

NWA Ladybug Pest Control provides this FREE website to keep you informed on pests in your area. You can help keep this free site alive simply by sharing and leaving your comments. Thanks

 

RELATED ARTICLES:

  1. How to Get Rid of Fire Ants
  2. How to Get Rid of Yellow Jackets
  3. Risks of Pesticides

 

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HOW TO GET RID OF FIRE ANTS

Figuring out how to get rid of red fire ants – or any other types of fire ants – can seem daunting when you first discover ant mounds in your yard. While there are a few species of fire ants native to the United States, troublemaking ants are typically either red imported fire ants (RIFA), black imported fire ants (BIFA) or a hybrid of these two species. It is important to note that how to get rid of fire ants in the yard is not the same as how to get rid of fire ants in the house. There are methods that can be used outdoors that would not be safe indoors.

RIFA and BIFA are more active in the late spring to early fall months. Experts suggest that the best times of year for fire ant treatments are during those seasons. However, individual mounds can be treated throughout the year if they become problematic. The list of what kills fire ants is a long one, but outside of calling a professional, there is no “best way to kill fire ants.”

When it comes to fire ant control, there are a couple of popular choices, including baits, mound drench products and dust insecticides.

Baits are slow-acting when compared to other treatment methods, and can take months to reach the desired result. However, they do typically achieve 80 to 90 percent fire ant control. Most baits are corn grits treated with pesticide. Foraging ants take the tainted food back to their colony, where it is eaten by the queen and other ants. Some result in the queen becoming infertile, while others kill her and the colony. Using baits for fire ant removal is a low-toxicity option, as the baits are spread over a wide area.

Mound drenches involve pouring a liquid pesticide directly onto the fire ant hill. The liquid penetrates the belowground levels of the mound, killing the ants inside after a few hours. Once applied, these products leave only traces of residue on the surface.

Dust or granule control methods vary slightly in how they get rid of fire ants. Dusts, which leave a surface residue, are merely sprinkled over a mound and left to work their magic. Granules, on the other hand, require water to activate. Once granules have been applied on and around the mound, several gallons of water typically need to be slowly poured over them to activate.

Most experts advocate using what they call the Two-Step method for fire ant infestations that cover larger areas. This involves first applying fire ant bait to the entire affected area, and following it up with a treatment of the individual mounds. Bait should be reapplied several times a year, and individual mounds can be treated as they appear.

It is important to note that many of the products available to homeowners are different and may not be as effective as those available to licensed pest management professionals. Additionally, while you may be able to treat for fire ants in your yard, treating fire ants indoors is often difficult and requires the use of different products entirely. The improper use of pesticides can be dangerous. You should keep children and pets away from these products at all times.

If you have been asking yourself, “How do I get rid of fire ants,” it’s time to call a pest management professional to discuss your options for fire ant removal.

Here are things you need to know to identify, prevent and treat fire ant stings.

While it’s important to know how to get rid of fire ants, here’s what you need to know to identify, prevent and treat fire ant stings or bites.

How can I identify fire ants?

Worker fire ants are the only kind of fire ants that sting. Red imported fire ant workers are 1/8- to 1/4-inch long, reddish-brown and black. They have two nodes and 10-segmented antennae with a two-segmented club. Once you identify the fire ant or another type of ant that’s invading your home or yard, you can take the proper steps to get rid of them.

Why do fire ants sting?

fire ant closeup

Fire ants sting to defend their mounds (nests) from invaders. When their mound is disturbed, many fire ants rush outside and climb on whatever is disturbing the mound. They firmly grasp skin with their jaws and then sting and inject the venom.

How do I identify fire ant stings or bites?

To identify fire ant stings, look for these symptoms:

  • Pain (intense burning sensation), redness, itching and swelling at the site of the fire ant sting.
  • A painful raised bump that becomes a pus-filled blister (pustule) in 6 to 24 hours and lasts for up to 10 days. The pustules may become infected.

Fire ants cause severe, life-threatening reactions in people who are allergic to them. Texas A&M says to watch for these symptoms of a severe allergic reaction:

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Low blood pressure
  • Headaches
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain

A severe allergic reaction can lead to death. If you experience symptoms of an allergic reaction, seek immediate medical attention.

What treatment do I need for a fire ant bite?

The CDC lays out a few steps for how to treat fire ant bites or stings:

  • Rub the ants off skin briskly using your sleeve or gloved hand (they will attach to your skin with their jaws).
  • Antihistamines, pain relievers and cold packs can help relieve the discomfort.
  • Seek emergency medical treatment immediately if you experience chest pain, nausea, severe sweating, loss of breath, serious swelling or slurred speech.

What if my pet is stung by fire ants?

If your dog, cat or other pet gets a fire ant sting, move it away from the area to prevent further bites. Brush the fire ants off your dog or cat with downward strokes, using your sleeve, a towel or gloves. Do NOT use water to remove fire ants. Water makes the fire ants clamp down more firmly. The face, paws, legs and belly are most vulnerable to fire ant stings, so start removing the ants there. If your pet has been stung, or you think it has been stung, take it to a veterinarian.

Be sure to observe your pet for these symptoms of allergic reaction:

  • Drooling
  • Panting
  • Difficulty walking
  • Hives
  • Swelling (often involving the face and/or paws)
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures or tremors
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Refusal to eat and/or drink
  • Lethargy

How can I avoid fire ant stings?

The best way to prevent fire ant stings is to pay attention to your surroundings. People are likely to get stung when they are:

  • Posing for photographs
  • Talking
  • Picking up food off the ground
  • Sleeping on the ground (even in a tent or sleeping bag)
  • Sitting around a campfire
  • Gardening

To avoid fire ant bites or stings:

  • Don’t disturb or stand on or near a fire ant mound.
  • Be very careful where you park a wheelchair or stroller, and don’t put babies or baby carriers on the ground for very long.
  • Wear boots or tuck your pant legs into your socks to protect your legs.
  • Use insect repellent (DEET or Picaridin) on your shoes and clothes.
  • If you get attacked by fire ants, leave the area immediately. Brush off the fire ants with gloved hands, your sleeve or a cloth.
  • Do NOT try to rinse fire ants off with water. Doing so will make them hold on more tightly and sting you in another place.
  • Remove your clothing, shoes and socks immediately. Shake everything out and inspect carefully for fire ants. They can stay hidden for hours.
  • Control ants where they occur in your yard.

Know that you know, you can more carefully prevent fire ant stings. But in the event that you do get stung, you have methods to treat the sting.