Kansas State University


Extension Entomology

Pests Love the Clutter

–by Frannie Miller

Did you know that May 10 is National Clean Up Your Room Day? A national holiday might help to motivate us to clean, but I am using it as a reminder that cockroaches, ants, mice and other pests thrive in cluttered spaces. It is important to do your part in helping to prevent pests.

Good sanitation goes a long way in preventing pests from living inside your home. Pests occur in our space because we provide them with food and shelter. Clutter, cardboard, and protected spaces provide an environment for pests to eat, sleep and reproduce. Clutter, such as dirty clothes, old newspapers, food wrappers etc. found in a messy room provide a wealth of possibilities for pests. The clutter can even hide signs of the presence of the pest. I know how easy it is to accumulate items, which can contribute to the problem of clutter. Just picking up and putting away one item each day could make a big difference.

Use this date as a reminder to use these integrated pest management strategies to help discourage pests from becoming a problem in your home.


  • Make sure to remove anything containing food residues. Food is a good way to attract pests.
  • Stay organized and stop leaving clutter on tables, floors, etc. Clutter incites the company of pests.
  • Clean neglected spaces, such as attics, garages, cellars, and basements.
  • Empty and dispose of trash on a regular basis.
  • Vacuum frequently to remove pests, excess food waste, shed skins, egg cases, and droppings.



–by Dr. Jeff Whitworth

Much of the alfalfa throughout north central Kansas was significantly affected by last week’s freezing temperatures, as previously noted. This is especially true of older, less robust stands, as indicated by the plants in the lower left portion of fig.1. Sampling these freeze-affected

Figure 1 Alfalfa affected by the freeze (by Cayden Wyckoff)

areas with a sweep net revealed only very few live alfalfa weevil larvae, i.e. an average of 1 live larvae/10 sweeps. However, the less freeze-affected plants (upper right portion of fig. 1) had a much more significant infestation, i.e. these areas averaged 26 live larvae/10 sweeps. The vast majority of alfalfa weevil larvae detected this week were mature larvae, and many were actually on the ground, see Fig. 2. probably preparing to pupate, as a few new adults were also detected, again, see Fig 2.

Figure 2 Mature Alfalfa weevil larvae, new adult AW plus aphids and Lady beetle larva (by Cayden Wyckoff)

Figure 3 Aphids and lady beetle larvae (by Cayden Wyckoff)


Aphid populations, both pea, see Fig. 3, and cowpea, seemed to have dramatically declined also. This is probably a combination of the freezing temperatures coupled with a healthy population of lady beetle larvae, see Fig. 3, which have been voracious feeders on these aphids.


ID to last week’s bug

–by Frannie Miller

Jumping Spider – This is the Bold Jumper also known as the Daring Jumping Spider. They are relatively small, compact hunting spiders. They exhibit iridescent chelicerae (see the green coloring). These spiders tend to hunt during the day. More information about common spider families in Kansas can be found by visiting: https://bookstore.ksre.ksu.edu/pubs/ep125.pdf


Challenges for Applicators concerning PPE

–by Frannie Miller

This growing season may be a challenge for producers/applicators in more ways than one. With the critical need for N95 respirators for health care workers, it is anticipated that applicators may experience a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) that will be available to use this growing season if not previously purchased. It is important to remember pesticides may not be applied without the label-required PPE. The Environmental Protection Agency has not issued any exemption or relaxation of the PPE label requirements, therefore some herbicides, fungicides, and insecticides you plan to use may require the use of N95 type respirators.


It is important to review the labels of products which are key to your operations and plan accordingly. If required PPE is unavailable for purchase, users may need to select alternative products or management methods. Research to see if there is a product available with the same active ingredient, whose formulation type reduces the need for respiratory protection. The other alternative is applicators are allowed to use more protective gear, so if you have a half or full-face respirator with a N95 filter that you have had fit-tested and received a medical evaluation to use this may be a good alternative.


Do not put yourself at risk by not following the label PPE requirements because you are having difficulty finding PPE. This could potentially add to the need for medical care and is in direct violation of the label, so please have a plan for how you will deal with this issue.


New Extension Publication – Japanese Beetle

— by Dr. Raymond Cloyd

Japanese Beetle: Insect Pest of Horticultural Plants and Turfgrass (MF3488)

The Japanese beetle is one of the most destructive insect pests of horticultural plants and turfgrass. This publication provides

Information to help identify damage caused by larva and adults with strategies for managing Japanese beetle populations:   https://bookstore.ksre.ksu.edu/Item.aspx?catId=524&pubId=22599


Praying Mantid Egg Cases

— by Raymond Cloyd

Praying mantid adults are 3 to 4 inches (76 to 102 mm) long, elongated, slow-moving generalist insect predators that wait for prey with their upraised front legs (Figure 1).

Fig 1. Praying Mantid with Front Legs Upraised (Auth–Raymond Cloyd, KSU)

They eat “anything” they can grab onto with their raptorial front legs including: flies, crickets, moths (Figure 2),

Fig 2. A Praying Mantid Eating a Moth (Auth–Raymond Cloyd, KSU)

butterflies, wasps, and caterpillars. In addition, praying mantids will feed on honey bees entering and leaving hives. Praying mantid females lay between 200 and 300 eggs that are covered by a hardened, Styrofoam-like egg case or ootheca produced by the female. The egg cases can be found on branches (Figure 3),

Fig 3. Praying Mantid Egg Case on Branch (Auth–Raymond Cloyd, KSU)

stems, walls, fences, sides of houses (Figure 4),

Fig 4. Praying Mantid Egg Case Attached To Side of House (Auth–Raymond Cloyd, KSU)

and eaves. Egg cases may be present from November through April. Nymphs hatch (eclose) from eggs in three to 10 weeks depending on temperature. Nymphs that emerge in spring resemble miniature adults (Figure 5).


Fig 5. Praying Mantid Nymphs That Have Emerged From Egg Case (Auth–Josh’s Frogs)

However, not all the nymphs will survive to become adults because they are susceptible to predation by vertebrates (birds, toads, and lizards) and predacious insects. Praying mantids overwinter as eggs.



Egg cases can vary in size and shape depending on species. The egg case of the Carolina mantid, Stagmomantis carolina, is tan to light-brown, about 1.0 inch (25 mm) long, rectangular or elongated, rounded at the top and bottom, and there is a distinct white to gray band that extends down the center of the egg case (Figure 6).

Fig 6. Egg Case of The Carolina Mantid (Auth–The Amazing Plant Project)

The egg case of the Chinese mantid, Tenodera aridifolia sinensis, is light-brown, approximately 1-1/2 inches (38 mm) long, half-domed shaped, with one end tapered (Figure 7).

Fig 7. Egg Case of Chinese Mantid on Branch (Auth–Raymond Cloyd, KSU)

Egg cases can be purchased from garden centers, nurseries, or mail order sources (Figure 8). Most egg cases for sale are associated with the Chinese mantid, which is not native to North America; however, the species has become naturalized in most regions. The purchase of praying mantid egg cases is not recommended because praying mantids will not effectively regulate most insect pest populations or will not kill enough insect pests to prevent damage. Nonetheless, having praying mantids in the garden provides an educational opportunity for people to observe nature in action!

Fig 8. Product Containing Egg Cases of The Chinese Mantid (Auth–Raymond Cloyd, KSU)

Well, how can I collect and preserve praying mantid egg cases? You can remove the egg case, bring them into the home, and place into a glass jar with a lid that has least 10 small air holes. The warm temperatures inside the home will cause the nymphs to hatch from eggs in four to six weeks. You can delay egg hatch by placing the egg cases into a refrigerator and remove one to two months before you want the eggs to hatch. This will ensure that nymphs are released when the weather is warm so there is no risk of exposure to cold temperatures. The nymphs that emerge will be very hungry. Therefore, immediately release them into the garden, as long as they will not be exposed to freezing temperatures. However, if the nymphs are not released promptly or provided with a food source, they will eat each other (cannibalism) leaving just one large nymph that will not eat for a month.

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