Skip to main content

Hort Update for April 20, 2015

LawnsMajor Symptom:
1. Crabgrass and soil temperature Germination begins at 55 - 60°F; most at 73°F
2. PRE products and overseeing Avoid treating areas to be seeded or use Tupersan
3. Dandelion/Broadleaf weed control Wait until peak dandelion flowering
4. Repairing salt/plow damaged strips Improve soil; seed with quality seed or use sod
5. White grubs in spring No control needed for overwintering larvae
Trees & ShrubsMajor Symptom:
6. Winter desiccation Browning in yews, weeping/dwarf spruce, white pine
7. Only new growth of yews brown Could be cold temperature injury
8. Siroccocus spruce tip blight Branch tips of spruce browning and dropping needles
9. Trunk frost cracks Common on 'Crimson King' Norway maple
10. Dormant oil vs. horticultural oil What to use and when -- there is a difference
Landscape OrnamentalsMajor Symptom:
11. Pruning roses Prune to remove winter damage.
12. Pruning ground cover ivy Methods for controlling growth.
13. Dividing perennials Divide summer and fall bloomers just as new growth begins.
14. Mulching perennials Apply a 2 to 4" deep layer. Keep away from plant stems.
15. Weed control for landscape beds Make first pre-emergent herbicide application now.
16. Iris borer control Overwinter in egg stage on old foliage. Sanitation important.
17. Peony blights Cool spring weather favors gray mold (Botrytis) development.
18. Hosta virus X Odd leaf coloration or patterns; crinkled leaves.
19. Bacterial crown gall management Hard, woody, dark colored growths found on plant stems
20. Rose rosette Leaf distortion and wrinkling. Bright red leaf coloration. Excessively thorny branches.
Fruits & VegetablesMajor Symptom:
21. Basil downy mildew management Purchase resistant varieties
22. Fire blight management Stop structural pruning, streptomycin applications
23. Spotted wing drosophila management Monitor for insect presence; male fruit fly with red eyes and one dark spot on wing tip
24. Planting bare root fruit trees and container plants Proper techniques required for each
25. Disinfecting tomato cages and supports Minimize residual disease pathogens before planting
Fruits & VegetablesMajor Symptom:
26. Driftwatch Specialty Crop Registry Pesticide sensitive crop site locator
27. Odorous house ant control Early season home invader
28. Watch for emerging beneficial insects Don't destroy praying mantid egg cases found on landscape plants

1. Crabgrass germination

Research shows crabgrass seed germination begins when the average daily soil temperatures reach 57 to 64 °F at a one-inch depth although large quantities of crabgrass seedlings will not begin germinating until soil temperatures increase to 73 °F or above at a one-inch depth (Fidanza et al., 1996). As of April 14, the 7 day average for soil temperatures at a four inch depth on bare soil ranged from 46 to 54 °F across Nebraska with the majority being in the 50 to 52 °F range.

In Nebraska, crabgrass seed germination typically begins sometime in May and continues well into June and beyond. This is why the recommended window for application of preemergence herbicides (PREs) applied by do-it-yourself (DIY) homeowners is mid-April to early May across Nebraska, and about one week later for western Nebraska. This is early enough for PREs to activate, but late enough for the product to remain effective during the active germination period. Most products that we recommend to homeowners are active for about 60 days. Many of these are available only as weed-n-feed products; and late April into early May is also a better time for making the first application of nitrogen to cool season turfgrass.

If an unusually warm spring would result in above average soil temperatures and PREs are applied earlier than average, stand-alone herbicides are best recommended in place of weed-n-feed products.

When Will Crabgrass Germinate?, Purdue Extension

Earlier than average PRE applications, Nebraska Extension


2. Premergence and over-seeding

Do not apply PRE products to areas that need to be seeded or sodded this spring. If a stand alone PRE product can be purchased in place of a weed-n-feed, it is easier to skip areas that require overseeding or skip areas that do not have a history of crabgrass. If the area to be overseeded has a history of crabgrass, the herbicide siduron (Tupersan) can be used. While expensive, this herbicide is safe on new seedings. Tenacity (mesotrione) can also be used. Do not use Tenacity on seedlings of creeping bentgrass though.

Choosing Grasses to Repair Damaged Areas, Nebraska Extension


3. Broadleaf weed control timing

Spring and early summer is the second most effective time of year to control dandelions and other broadleaf weeds in turf. To increase weed control, make applications to dandelions during peak flowering. Whenever possible, spot-apply herbicides rather than treating the entire lawn. This is more effective and less expensive than treating the entire lawn. Use caution when applying herbicides near ornamentals or trees as these are easily damaged by direct overspray or indirectly by volatilization of herbicide.

Herbicides containing the traditional active ingredients (ai's) 2,4-D, MCPP and dicamba are effective for control of dandelions and other broadleaf weeds. Relatively "newer" ai's like carfentrazone, triclopyr, fluroxpyr, quinclorac, and sulfentrazone combined with the traditional ai's can increase the speed of burn down, expand the spectrum of weeds controlled, and/or improve overall effectiveness depending on the product used.

The most effective time of year to control dandelions and other perennial broadleaf weeds (white clover, ground ivy, violets, and/or plantain) continues to be fall. Herbicides applied at spring flowering do not translocate as effectively and usually do not provide as effective control as when fall applied. Remember, the best way to limit weeds like dandelion is to grow a healthy turf stand. Proper fertilization, timely irrigation, and consistent mowing are essential to combat the weed invasion.


4. Repairing salt damaged turf strips

After winter, strips of turf near pavement may be damaged by snow plows and/or the use of de-icing salts. To repair these areas, the area can be heavily watered to aid in leaching salts from soil. This should only be done if the soil is well drained. In cases where repeated and heavy de-icing salt use has been made, removing the top four to six inches of soil may be needed. If reseeding or sodding the entire area, incorporate organic matter such as compost. As rule of thumb, spread about a one inch layer of fully decomposed organic matter, like compost, for every two inch depth the soil will be amended. For example, if amending the soil six inches deep, spread two to three inches of compost over the soil and then incorporate it thoroughly to a six inches deep. to minimize damage in the future, protect susceptible turf areas by substituting sand for salt and avoid applications of salt near turfgrass when possible.

Sodding is the best way to repair turf areas in spring. Spring seeding of cool season turfgrasses to repair thin or damaged area should be done as soon as possible in April and early May. Tall fescue performs better in spring seedings than Kentucky bluegrass. To increase success, achieve seed to soil contact. Till or aggressively core aerate prior to seeding. Mix the seed with fine compost, or after seeding spread a light layer of compost over the area and rake it into aeration holes. Be sure to keep the area irrigated and fertilize with nitrogen two times during spring. Spring seeding is difficult and will require careful maintenance and good weather to be successful.


5. White grubs

White grubs overwinter in the soil as larvae. At this time of year, annual white grubs move closer to the surface and can be found when doing yard or garden work in spring. Finding white grubs in spring prompts questions from homeowners on the need for control. Overwintering white grubs are full grown and will soon pupate, emerging as adult masked chafers in late May and June to mate and lay eggs. This generation of grubs will not damage actively growing turf. Killing this generation of grubs will not prevent damage later this summer from the next generation.

Insecticide applications for white grubs should only be made to turf that has a history of white grub damage. If preventive type insecticide are used, these products need to be applied sometime from mid-May into early July. If a rescue application, such as dylox, is used, this product needs to be applied after egg hatch if 5 to 8 white grubs can be found per square foot in August.

Grub control Products for Nebraska Lawns

Preventative Control (early June to mid-July application)
  • Professional use products
  • Neonicotinoid class - Merit (imidacloprid), Arena (clothiandin), Meridian (thiamethoxam)
  • Anthranilic diamide class - Acelepryn (chlorantraniliprole), Ference (cyantraniliprole)
  • Insect Growth Regulators - Mach2 (halofenozide)
  • Combination Products - Allectus (imidacloprid + bifenthrin), Arena (clothianidin + bifenthrin), DuoCide (carbaryl + bifentrhin)
  • Homeowner Products
  • Bayer Advanced Season Long Grub Control (imidacloprid)
  • Scott's GrubEx (chlorantraniliprole)
Curative Control
  • Professional use products
  • Dylox (trichlorfon)
  • Sevin (carbaryl)
  • Homeowner Products
  • Bayer Advanced 24 Hr Grub Control (trichlorfon)
  • Sevin (carbaryl)


6. Winter desiccation on evergreens

While we are not seeing as extensive injury this spring compared to last spring, winter desiccation (drying) injury is showing up on Japanese Yews, white pine, and unique evergreens such as weeping or dwarf spruce. No immediate action should be taken with evergreen plants showing winter injury other than supplemental watering if conditions are dry. Evergreen trees with a small amount of needle loss may still have live buds within the damaged branch sections. These buds will send out new growth and eventually fill in the damaged section in a few years. Evergreen shrubs, like holly and Mahonia, may regenerate new leaves to replace the damaged foliage if injury was not severe enough to kill the underlying branches.

Wait until new growth has emerged before pruning out dead branches. After the new growth has emerged, prune out any dead branches or branch tips, cutting back to 1/4" above a live bud. It is important to remove dead branches. They can provide an entryway for insects or fungi that attack the dead tissue.


7. Only new growth on Yew brown

Winter desiccation may be the cause of branch tips turning brown; however, if Japanese Yews were pruned in August and September last year, the resulting new growth may not have had time to harden off before winter and were killed by cold temperatures rather than winter drying. To reduce the risk of this injury, avoid pruning woody plants from mid-August until after the plants are fully dormant.


8. Sirococcus shoot blight on spruce

Sirococcus shoot blight on spruce appears on branch tips as reddish brown needles or bare tips that have lost needles. These symptoms appear similar to injury from winter drying or frost damage; however, shoots killed by Sirococcus are scattered throughout the tree rather than uniformly, such as being only on one side of the tree. Also, small black fruiting bodies called pycnidia, in which spores for the fungus Sirococcus strobilinus are produced, can be found on bud scales and dead shoots. These fruiting bodies can be seen with the naked eye or a 10X hand lens.

Infection of current year shoots occurs during spring once new buds begin to open. To control Sirococcus shoot blight, apply a fungicide such as chlorothalonil (Daconil, Bravo) when new shoots are ½ to two inches long, typically in May; and repeat every 3 to 4 weeks if frequent rains occur.

Diseases of Evergreen Trees, Nebraska Forest Service


9. Frost cracks on "Crimson King" Norway Maple

All thin barked trees, especially young maples, are susceptible to frost cracks on trunks. This year, frost cracks appear common on 'Crimson King' Norway maple, a reddish-purple leaved cultivar. Frost cracks occur due to rapid temperature changes during winter. When cracks occur, do not cover or treat trunk cracks with any type of wound dressing, tree paint or wrap. The crack may close but then reopen again during subsequent winter. To help prevent frost cracks on young, thin-barked trees, wrap them during winter. Use a commercial tree wrap. Wrap the trunk from the bottom up, being sure to overlap the wrap. Remove all wrap in spring.


9. Frost cracks on "Crimson King" Norway Maple

All thin barked trees, especially young maples, are susceptible to frost cracks on trunks. This year, frost cracks appear common on 'Crimson King' Norway maple, a reddish-purple leaved cultivar. Frost cracks occur due to rapid temperature changes during winter. When cracks occur, do not cover or treat trunk cracks with any type of wound dressing, tree paint or wrap. The crack may close but then reopen again during subsequent winter. To help prevent frost cracks on young, thin-barked trees, wrap them during winter. Use a commercial tree wrap. Wrap the trunk from the bottom up, being sure to overlap the wrap. Remove all wrap in spring.


10. Dormant vs. summer horticultural oils

Horticultural oils are used to control soft bodied insects and mites by suffocation. These products are effective and can have less negative effects on beneficial insects. Dormant oils used to be heavy grade oils that could only be applied during late winter to woody plants. Today, the terms dormant and summer oils refer more to the timing of application. Dormant oils are typically applied in late winter/early spring just before new growth occurs. Summer oils are applied during the growing season. Oils are best not applied just as, or shortly after, new growth is emerging in spring to reduce damage to tender growth. It is important to read and follow all label directions when using horticultural oils to increase effectiveness and reduce damage to plants.

There are a variety of different types of horticultural oil products. Whitney Cranshaw, Extension Entomologist with Colorado State University helps to clarify the differences in the many available horticultural oil products in the article linked below.

Pest and Disease Control Using Horticultural Oils, Colorado State University Extension


11. Pruning roses

Prune roses in spring to remove dead, damaged or winter killed branches. Remove all dead wood back to healthy tissue, making the pruning cut just above on outward facing leaf or leaf bud. If tender roses were killed down to the graft, watch for regrowth occurring from below the graft. If this is the only growth that occurs, it is best to remove the entire rose. The growth is coming from the root stock rather than the desirable grafted portion and this growth is typically not desirable in the rose garden.


12. Pruning ground cover ivy

If not controlled, ground cover plants often grow beyond their planting bed. English Ivy, Hedera sp., is one such ground cover that grows quickly, developing new roots wherever the stems touch the ground. It requires regular pruning to prevent it from growing up tree trunks or into shrubs. If ivy has grown up a tree, cut out a 12" section of each ivy stem near the base of the tree. Once the upper vines have died, they can be pulled out of the tree. This is much easier to do once the vines are dead.

If ivy growth encroaches on shrubs, sidewalks or lawn areas, it can be pruned back selectively using hand shears. Or if the planting is very dense and matted, use a mower at the beginning of the growing season to cut the vegetation back to a 3-4" height. Remove all the cut stems to keep it from rooting. Then provide water and a light fertilization to encourage new growth.

Prune This: How to Prune Common English Ivy and Root Cuttings


13. Dividing perennials

is an important management practice for many species, helping to encourage vigorous growth and optimum blooming. As a rule, divide summer and fall blooming perennials during spring, beginning just before new growth begins. Many perennials benefit from division once every three to five years. Dividing is also a good way to propagate perennials. This year give special consideration to soil moisture and the possibility of dry summer conditions when deciding to divide.

Dividing Perennials, Iowa State University


14. Mulching perennials

Mulching perennials during summer will help conserve soil moisture and keep weed growth to a minimum. Apply 2-4 inches of chipped or shredded bark, straw, grass clippings or other suitable material. Keep mulch away from plant stems and crowns as this can create an environment conducive to crown and root rots.


15. Weed control for landscape beds

University research has shown that combining organic mulch and preemergence herbicide provides better weed control than either herbicides or mulch alone. However, soils in lightly mulched landscape beds typically warm up faster than lawn areas. As a result, many summer-annual weeds, such as crabgrass and prostrate spurge germinate 10 to 14 days earlier in landscape beds than in lawns.

The first preemergence herbicide application of the season should be applied in landscape beds in mid-April, prior to adding mulch. This year warm temperatures have caused soil temperatures to reach 50 degrees F earlier than normal, so preemergence applications should be made now. Additional preemergence herbicide applications made later in the season can be applied over existing mulch. Water the herbicide into the soil by using a minimum of ½ inch water.

Products labeled for use in landscape beds include Gallery (isoxaben), Ronstar (oxadiazon), Barricade (prodiamine), Dimension (dithiopyr), Pendulum (pendimethalin), Pennant Magnum (metolachlor), Snapshot (Gallery + Treflan), Surflan (oryzalin), Treflan (trifluralin), XL (oryzaline + benefin).

Post emergence weed control is also important for perennial and grassy weeds. Fluazifop, the active ingredient in GrassB Gon, is a systemic herbicide that will selectively control grassy weeds without damaging broadleaf ornamentals listed on its label. Non-selective products can also be used for post emergence weed control if applied carefully to avoid exposure to desirable plants. Non-selective products include RoundUp (glyphosate), Finale (glufosinate), Scythe (pelargonic acid), and QuickPro (glyphosate/diquat).


16. Iris borers

Iris borers are the most destructive insect pest of iris and can be found throughout Nebraska. This pest overwinters as eggs attached to the previous year's iris leaves. Eggs begin to hatch in late April. The young borers move up the leaf, feeding as they go and leaving jagged leaf edges. Later, the iris borer caterpillar chews a small hole into the leaf and tunnels inside down to the rhizome. This feeding causes distinctive water streaks in the leaves. Once in the rhizome, the borers continue to feed and can completely destroy the rhizome. In mid-summer, the borers pupate then emerge as moths in late summer to early fall. Female moths attach their eggs to nearby iris leaves, thus completing their seasonal cycle.

Sanitation is the key to controlling this pest. Once iris leaves have turned yellow, remove the current year's dead foliage and compost it. This should reduce problems next year by eliminating the overwintering egg stage.

A well-timed insecticide application in spring (when leaves are about 4 to 6 inches tall) will reduce iris borer damage. Treat foliage with bifenthrin, cyfluthrin, permethrin, or spinosad to destroy newly hatched borers before they can tunnel into the plant. A second application should be applied after 10 to 14 days. A single application of the systemic insecticide imidacloprid (Merit, Bayer Advanced) also should provide satisfactory control. In addition, small caterpillars can be killed by squeezing them while they are inside the leaves.

Culture of Iris, Nebraska Extension


17. Peony blights

Botrytis and Phytophthora affect stems, leaves, and buds causing them to become dark brown or black and somewhat leathery. Entire shoots may turn black and die. Cankers may appear along the stems and cause them to fall over. There is often a brown, fuzzy mold when Botrytis is the cause. Phytophthora can invade the plant crown and cause a wet rot to develop and kill the plant.

Sanitation and improving air circulation around plants are important cultural practices. Do not apply heavy mulch applications around plants. Fungicide applications may be warranted on plants with a history of infection. Make applications beginning when spring shoots first emerge, with maneb, copper formulations or Neem oil.

Peony Disorders, University of Wisconsin Extension

Botrytis Blight of Peony, Cornell University


18. Hosta Virus X (HVX)

Hosta Virus X (HVX) is a virus infecting many Hostas. Symptoms range from stunting to leaf puckering, ring spots and other odd leaf colorations. While this disease does not kill plants, it spreads prolifically and infected plants should be destroyed. The virus is transmitted primarily through propagation of the plants or mechanical injuries. Contact of the infected plant's sap, with sap of a healthy plant will infect the new plant. This can happen whenever cuts are made and tools or hands are not disinfected afterwards. Dividing hostas, removing bloom scapes, removing leaves, stepping on them, even accidentally mowing over them can spread the virus. There is no control. Plants suspected of having HVX should be destroyed.

Hosta X Virus, Ohio State University


19. Bacterial crown gall

Bacterial crown gall is a disease affecting a wide range of woody and herbaceous plants, but is found most commonly on Euonymous, especially wintercreeper, rose, willow and plants in the Prunus family. The soil-borne bacterium, Agrobacterium tumefaciens, infects plant stems and roots through wounds causing the growth of hard, woody tumor-like galls. Galls can appear anywhere on stems or roots, but are most common near the soil line. Plant growth and vigor is reduced due to disruption of water and nutrients between plant roots and leaves.

No effective chemical controls exist for this disease. Cultural controls include avoiding wounding plants, removing heavily infected plants or plant parts, and planting resistant species in soil with a history of this disease. Also avoid purchasing plants if galls are found on the stems or roots.

Bacterial Crown Gall on Ornamentals in the Landscape, Ohio State University


20. Rose rosette

Rose rosette is caused by a virus transmitted to plant through the feeding of eriophyid mites. An early indication of infection by rose rosette virus is rapid stem elongation. Later, certain canes become thickened and excessively thorny. Infected canes produce many short deformed shoots, giving the appearance of a witches' broom. Leaves are deformed, wrinkled, and pigmented a bright red. Blossoms often are aborted, deformed, or converted to leaf-like tissue. Rose rosette is fatal to infected plants, with plants usually dying within two years as symptoms spread throughout the plant. Immediately remove and destroy plants suspected of having rose rosette.

Rose Gardeners Should Learn the Symptoms of Rose Rosette Virus, Michigan State University Extension


21. Basil downy mildew

Basil downy mildew is a new destructive disease of basil first reported 2007 in Florida. It has spread to many states in recent years and is now found in Nebraska. The fungal pathogen, Peronospora belbahrii, can be seed borne or distributed through air-borne spores. The most common symptom of infected plants is leaf yellowing, similar to a nutrient deficiency. Purplish-gray fungal spores develop on the undersides of infected leaves during the nighttime hours. Inspect suspect plants in the morning to find the spores beneath the yellowed leaf sections. Many common sweet basil varieties, Ocimum basilicum, are susceptible. Fewer symptoms have been found on red leaf basil; Thai, lemon and lime basil.

To prevent infection in the greenhouse or garden, maintain good sunlight and air circulation around plants to minimize leaf wetness. Use drip irrigation. High temperatures are detrimental to the pathogen. Maximum temperatures for infection, colonization, and spore production are 80 - 88 F. Spores were killed on plants exposed to 113 F for 2 days. Inspect plants before purchasing for signs of infection. Remove and discard infected plants. To effectively control downy mildew with fungicides, applications should start before symptoms on found.

Basil Downy Mildew, Cornell University


22. Fire blight management

Fireblight is a bacterial disease that can kill branches and entire plants. It attacks plants in the rose family, including apple, pear and crabapple. Symptoms include dead branches, water-soaked blossoms, light brown to blackened leaves, discolored bark, black "shepherd's crook" twigs, and dried fruits.

Management includes resistant varieties, cultural practices, pruning and preventive chemical sprays. Ideally major fruit tree pruning for size and structure was completed in March. Now, as trees begin to bloom, pruning should only be done to remove branches infected with fireblight. Cut each branch eight to 12 inches below the canker to be sure all infected growth is removed. Clean pruning equipment between each cut to avoid spreading infections throughout the tree. Dip tools in a 10% bleach solution or ethyl alcohol. Chemical controls are best applied during blooming. Streptomycin applications should begin when 25% of flowers are open, and be repeated at 4-5 day intervals until petal fall.

Fire Blight, Colorado State University

Fruit Spray Schedules for the Homeowner, University of Missouri Extension


23. Spotted wing drosophila (SWD)

is a new pest in Nebraska that attacks the soft fruits of brambles (raspberry, black berry), strawberry, blueberry, grape, cherry, plum, peach and many small wild berries. Adult flies emerge around early July. Adult females make a slit through the fruit skin and insert eggs inside. Larval feeding inside the fruit causes fruits to become wrinkled and dimpled and they are prone to fungal infection causing decay and rot. In its native range in Japan roughly 13 generations occur each year. Upwards of 10 generations are predicted in the United States depending on climate. Monitor for SWD through trapping to distinguish it from native fruit flies. If SWD occurs, manage it through sanitation including prompt remove of infested fruits and insecticide applications.

The Spotted Wing Drosophila, An Invasive, Small Fruit Fly in Nebraska, Nebraska Extension


24. Planting bare root fruit trees & container material

Planting bare root plant material is different than planting container plant material, and homeowners are often unsure of planting techniques. Bare root plant material is sent to the homeowner in a dormant state, looking nothing like the container grown trees and shrubs that are leafed out in the nursery, looking green and lush. Proper planting of both types is imperative to the health of the plant, and the satisfaction of the homeowner.

Care of Bare Root Plants, Nebraska Extension

The Bare Root Method, Cornell University

Handling and Planting Container Grown Trees, Kansas State University

Avoid the Top 10 Planting Mistakes, Nebraska Forest Service


25. Disinfecting tomato cages

Disinfecting tomato cages, supports and stakes is an important step to minimizing fungal and bacterial disease pathogens. Household bleach (5.25% sodium hypoclorite) is the most commonly used product. Soak metal equipment in a solution of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water for Soak wooden stakes for 30 minutes. Bleach solution has a short effective life, with a half-life of 2 hours, and is deactivated by soil and organic matter in the solution.

For commercial growers, disinfecting products like Green Shield and OxiDate are more stable than bleach.


26. DriftWatch

DriftWatch is a free online registry and map for commercial specialty and pesticide-sensitive crops, which is being promoted to pesticide applicators to reduce incidents of drift. With DriftWatch, producers of high-value specialty crops, such as bee hives, tomatoes, fruit trees, grapes and vegetables, register their sites on-line and provide contact information about their operation. Likewise, pesticide applicators utilize the site to help determine the scope and location of specialty crops in their trade areas. DriftWatch provides the platform to facilitate better awareness, communication and interaction between all parties as one part of ongoing stewardship activities.



27. Odorous house ant control

drawing of ant body in profileodorous house ant

As we start to feel the warmth of spring and summer come our way, so to do the ants livings in our yards. One of the first species to wake up from their winter sleep is the odorous house ant. These small ants will begin marching into our homes in April or May looking for something to satisfy their sweet-tooth. They often form long lines of foragers coming in your windows or under the door.

Odorous house ants are smaller ants, between 1/16th-1/8th of an inch, and are dark brown or black. They smell like old coconuts or blue cheese when squished. Definitive ID requires microscope, look between thorax and abdomen for a hidden node (the bump or thorn looking structure) underneath the front of the abdomen.

We can manipulate their sweet tooth and get them to control themselves through the use of ant baits. Research shows that using sweet/syrupy ant baits like Terro Ant Killer or Combat Ant Killing Gel will provide the best control. The baits are taken back the nest and will exterminate the entire colony over the course of 7-10 days. You should also be sure to clean up any food sources in the area and close up any entry points with caulk or another sealant.

Odorous House Ants, Nebraska Extension


28. Watch for emerging beneficial insects -

Most insects found in landscape do not feed on or harm landscape plants. Preserving beneficial can help keep damaging insects to a minimum. One such beneficial insect hatching out right now is praying mantids. Mantid eggs are laid in groups forming a hard grayish structure, oval or roughly circular, about the size of a silver dollar. They are glued to branches, wood, structures or other plant material. If you find praying mantid egg cases on your plants, leave them alone. Do not remove egg cases from the plant. If the egg cases are left on the ground the young mantids can be attacked by ants, killing all the offspring.

Beneficial Insects and Other Arthropods, Colorado State University Extension

Growing Plants to Attract Beneficial Insects, Colorado State University Extension

Praying Mantids are Beneficial Insects, Nebraska Extension