University of Maryland Extension

July Indoor and Outdoor Insect Tips

lone star tick on finger
Lone star tick, Amblyoma americanum. Photo: Gerald Holmes, Valent USA Corporation, Bugwood.org

(More tips from HGIC)

  • Ticks are active year-round, especially now. Wear light-colored clothing, apply repellent, and get in the habit of checking yourself, your children and pets closely for ticks after spending time outdoors. Repellents are also effective at keeping ticks at bay.
  • Reduce mosquitoes in your yard by eliminating their breeding sites. Remove standing water from around your yard - change bird bath water frequently, turn over buckets, lids, garden furniture, and toys after rainfall. The Asian tiger mosquito requires very little water for breeding. Backyard ponds stocked with fish or moving water (fountains or filters) should not contribute to a mosquito problem. However, to be certain, B.t. dunks can be used.
  • Mining bees are active now. They are solitary bees that nest in underground burrows, fly low over the ground and make ¼ inch holes in loose soil. They are not aggressive and the males have no stinger. If they become a nuisance you can discourage their activity by setting up a lawn sprinkler.
  • Earwigs are dark brown insects, about ¾ inches long with a pair of pincers at the end of the abdomen. They can be found both inside and outside the home in moist areas and are most active in the evening. They are predators of insect pests, like aphids, and also eat seedlings and chew holes in large plants. They are a “nuisance pest”, causing very little damage to plants.
  • Fruit flies are numerous now and are attracted to fresh fruits and vegetables and kitchen scraps. Don’t leave fruit on the counter for more than a day or two and thoroughly rinse recycled containers.
  • Slugs continue to thrive even in the heat of the summer. They are very destructive to herbaceous annuals, perennials, and vegetables. They can be controlled with a spray of vinegar and water directly on the slug, with traps and baits and, of course, handpicking. Look for them at night when they are out feeding on your plants. Another control method is to sprinkle used coffee grounds in the garden around the plants to be protected.
  • Many different types of ants may be found inside and outside the home. Carpenter ants are very large ants that tend to build their nests in outside woodpiles or structures that have been previously damaged by wood rots or insects. You must locate the nest to control this pest. Seeing many carpenter ants inside your house could mean that there is some wood decay in your house. Usually, this is in the kitchen or bathroom. Try using bait stations to control minor infestations of indoor ants. Granular insecticides or bait stations labeled for outdoors use on ants are also available.
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