Due to health concerns surrounding the COVID-19 virus, Nebraska Extension canceled all face-to-face teaching from March 16 to March 29. From March 30 to May 9, we will teach remotely when needed and if possible.
As per this decision, the March 17 professional tree care update and the March 19 commercial pesticide recertification training scheduled in Columbus were or are canceled. All private pesticide applicator training scheduled for northeast Nebraska are canceled.
Going forward, know that any Nebraska Extension sponsored event that was to be held face to face is canceled or postponed until after May 9. Audiences will be notified, when possible, about rescheduled events or about remote teaching opportunities. Information will also be provided via media outlets.
Included in these cancellations are my April 7 evergreen diseases and insects class, the April 21 what’s wrong with my lawn class and the April 30 shrub pruning workshop.
The Extension office remains open in Columbus and you can call 402-563-4901 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with questions. Please use your best judgment about bringing in samples for identification. Pictures can also be taken of samples and emailed to me for identification.
A warm spell in late winter or early spring can make us aware of how many insects we might be living with, especially during winter when they overwinter in cracks and crevices of our home.
After a warm spell, overwintering insects may become active and accidentally enter the home instead of moving outdoors. Fortunately, the majority of these insects are harmless to people, pets, houseplants, stored products, furnishings and structures.
They can be ignored and will eventually leave or, if needed, use a vacuum to remove them or wipe them up with a damp paper towel and discard it. Insecticides are not recommended indoors for nuisance insects. It is best to discard the vacuum cleaner bag if large numbers of insects are vacuumed, especially lady beetles.
Overwintering insects we might see include lady beetles, cluster flies, and hackberry psyllids. Asian lady beetles and cluster flies tend to be found in attics or upper floors. Hackberry psyllids are often found on sunny windows.
The raised bumps or galls on hackberry leaves are caused by hackberry psyllids. This insect and the leaf galls are not harmful to trees. If you live near hackberry trees and think you have gnats in your home, they are more likely psyllids.
Last fall, psyllids emerged from galls on hackberry leaves and entered buildings. While they are more of a fall nuisance, they may be found in homes during spring. To help keep them out in fall, replace window screens with a smaller size mesh, keep windows close, and outdoors lights turned off.
Another insect we see this time of year is red clover mites. They are about the size of a pinhead and found on the sunny sides of homes and window sills. These did not overwinter in the home but in turfgrass next to the house. They too are harmless to us or our homes.
Clover mites are best dealt with by wiping them off windows and window sills with a damp paper towel and hosing them off the sides of homes if they are massing. Avoid squishing them on fabrics as they will cause a stain
Kelly Feehan is a community environment educator for Nebraska Extension-Platte County.
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