University of Maryland Extension

May Indoor and Outdoor Insect Tips

different stages of ticks

Deer tick, Ixodes scapularis - Adults on leaf, nymph on blade. Photo: Jim Occi, BugPics, Bugwood.org

(More tips from HGIC)

  • Before applying an insecticide be sure that you have correctly identified the cause of your problem. Have you tried other solutions to the problem? Is an insecticide application warranted? If yes, select the least toxic pesticide; spray it only at the targeted pest on the affected plants. Spray early in the morning or at dusk to avoid harming pollinators and other beneficial insects.
  • Ticks (see photo above) are very active all summer. Wear light-colored clothing 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 mosquito problems later this summer by turning over any pots, lids or saucers that might collect water and create a breeding site.
  • 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. (PDF HG 104)
  • Carpenter bees cause concern at this time of year. They make clean, round holes about ½ inch in diameter. They usually will not bother wood that is freshly painted or stained. They can be a problem in weathered and untreated wood. Contact a pest control professional if you’re having a serious problem with carpenter bees. (PDF HG 29)
  • Fleas are sometimes observed in homes where there are no pets. The most likely source is a wild animal such as a raccoon living in the attic, crawl space, chimney or some other sheltered area connected to the inside of the home. (PDF HG 27) If you have pets that have a flea problem, contact your veterinarian for the safest and most effective flea control products.
  • Ant vrs. TermiteTermites (PDF EB 245) and ants (PDF HG 7) are actively swarming this month. Can you tell the difference between ants and termites?  Ants have a pinched waist like a wasp and termites have a straight waist. Ants have elbowed antennae and termites have straight antennae. Ant forewings are longer than the back wings and on termites they are the same length. See our article on 'Ants vs. Termites' for additional information.
  • Attract beneficial insects to your landscape by planting a wide variety of flowering annuals and perennials that will bloom over the entire growing season. Good choices are plants in the following families: daisy (marigolds, daisies, asters, mums), carrot (dill, fennel, anise, yarrow, parsley) and mint (all mints and thymes.)
  • Praying mantid egg cases are light brown masses that are glued to twigs around the landscape. Leave them alone and don’t attempt to rear them indoors.
  • Plant food plants this spring for butterfly larvae. Fennel and parsley attract swallowtails and butterfly weed attracts monarchs.
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