Heat, drought sends bugs into your home

Farm Forum

Based on the calls being received at the office, it seems as though bugs are starting to invade homes already. Usually we see this happening more in the fall when the weather starts changing. However, these bugs are looking for moisture and someplace cool.

The one insect I hear the most about is an earwig. An earwig is dark and reddish brown in color and can grow up to 3/4 inch long. It has pincers projecting from the rear of the body.

Earwigs like dark, confined places and feed mostly on decaying plant material, moss, vegetation, or other insects. They feed at night and hide under rocks, debris, mulch, etc. during the daytime.

Although they do have wings, they prefer to run and will seldom fly. Young earwigs do eat holes in leaves, often leaving them with a skeletonized appearance. In smaller numbers, they will seldom destroy a plant.

Although mostly found outside in gardens or flowers, they will occasionally find their way into the house. The good news is that earwigs cannot reproduce indoors, are harmless to humans, and seldom live very long inside. They can, however, feed on stored food items or hide in areas where food is kept. Simply vacuum them up and discard.

Control is best applied outdoors to prevent them from entering your home. Be sure that all foundation cracks are repaired or caulked. Remove or clean debris around your landscaping or foundation where the earwigs hide. You may apply a dust or spray containing carbaryl, bifenthrin, diazinon, or permethrin. The best time to control earwigs is in late afternoon or evening hours as that is when they are most active. Again, always read and follow label directions carefully.

Another common home invader is the ant. Please refer to my column published June 28. If you missed it, you will find it on our website at

Raspberry worm

Raspberries have begun to ripen and we have homeowners finding little white worms in the berries. Chances are, it may be the larvae of the Spotted Wind Drosphila (SWD). SWD are fruit flies that cut slits into the fruit and lay their eggs. When the eggs hatch, the larvae eat the fruit from the inside.

To minimize this problem, you need to pick the fruit as soon as possible. If you are noticing any juice inside the caps, check for the larvae and then discard these berries. Be sure you are harvesting thoroughly. Pull off all old fruit too and keep the plant clean. Dispose unwanted berries where you can keep the fruit flies from continuing to use them as a food source or from hatching.

Insecticides may be used containing fenpropathrin, spinetoram, spinosad, zeta-cypermethrin, and pyrethrins. However, for your health, be sure you are reading and following the label directions very carefully as there may be residual activity from these chemicals. Also be sure to not use any insecticide when pollinators are active. (Source: University of Minnesota, Yard-Garden-Fruit Integrated Pest Management for Home Raspberry Growers.)

Garden harvest

Remember that as you are getting ready to harvest your garden vegetables that you are pulling the plant and disposing of it properly. Good sanitation practices will help in preventing diseases from overwintering on debris left in the garden.

Home canning brochures are available at our office. Stop in any time during regular office hours and pick one up. Preservation questions can be answered by going online at or calling 1-888-393-6336.

Camp fires – Burn where you buy it

This was addressed in a previous column but now it seems we are in the heart of camping season so I would like to remind campers that purchase firewood at your favorite campsite, only purchase what you will need during your visit and burn it on site. Do not load up leftover firewood and take it back with you or onto the next campsite.

You may have seen posters with this warning and they are telling you that you may be picking up more than firewood. You could end up transporting insects or diseases that kill trees. Even transporting your own firewood from site to site can spread the risk.

Some of the threats include Emerald Ash Borer, Gypsy Moth, Oak Wilt, and Dutch Elm disease. Each of these threats have been known to either damage or kill millions of trees and although “burning where you buy” is not 100% effective, every little bit can help.