Kansas State University


Extension Entomology

Tag: pollinators

Mosquitoes: How to Avoid Getting “Bitten” By This “Sucking” Insect

–by Dr. Raymond Cloyd

The current wet weather and issues associated with the Zika virus have people “on edge” regarding mosquitoes (Figure 1). However, the common strategies that must be implemented to avoid mosquito bites is the same regardless of the mosquito-disease (e.g. virus) relationship. The three primary strategies that will help to avoid mosquito problems include: 1) source reduction, 2) personnel protection, and 3) insecticides.

ReFigure1. MosquitoMagnetSign

1) Source Reduction

First of all, it is important to routinely eliminate or reduce all mosquito breeding sites, which will effectively decrease mosquito populations, by removing stagnant or standing water from any items or areas that may collect water. These include the following:

  • Wheelbarrows, pet food or water dishes, saucers underneath flower pots, buckets, tires, toys, wading pools, birdbaths, ditches, and equipment. In addition, be sure that gutters drain properly and do not collect water.

2) Personnel Protection

Protect yourself from mosquito bites by delaying or avoiding being outdoors during dawn or dusk when mosquitoes are most active. Use repellents that contain the following active ingredients: DEET (Figures 2 and 3) or picaridin (Figure 4). DEET may provide up to 10 hours of protection whereas picaridin provides up to 8 hours of protection. In general, a higher percentage of active ingredient in the product results in longer residual activity or repellency. For children, do not use any more than 30% active ingredient. Furthermore, do not use any repellents on infants less than 2 months old. Clothing can be sprayed with either DEET or permethrin (pyrethroid insecticide). Afterward, always wash clothing separately. Before applying any repellent be sure to read the label carefully.

ReFigure2. DEETRepellent

ReFigure3. DEETRepellents

ReFigure4. PicaridinRepellent

3) Insecticides

For stationary ponds there are several products that may be used, such as, “Mosquito Dunks” (Figure 5) and/or “Mosquito Bits” (Figure 6), which contain the active ingredient, Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. israelensis. The active ingredient is a bacterium that is ingested by mosquito larvae, and subsequently kills them. The bacterium only directly kills mosquito larvae and has no effect on fish or other vertebrates. Try to avoid making area-wide applications of contact insecticides because these types of applications are generally not effective, and the applications may potentially kill many beneficial insects and pollinators (e.g. bees).

ReFigure5. MosquitoDunks

ReFigure6. MosquitoBits

What Does Not Work Against Mosquitoes 

The following items will not control mosquitoes:

  • Mosquito repellent plants (citronella plants), bug zappers, electronic emitters, and light traps/carbon dioxide traps.


If anyone has questions or comments regarding mosquito control please contact your state extension office or Department of Entomology at Kansas State University (Manhattan, KS).

Honey Bees and Bumble Bees: What Is The Difference?

—by Dr. Raymond Cloyd

Honey bees and bumble bees are important pollinators of many horticultural crops including vegetables, and ornamental plants in gardens and landscapes. As the weather warms, both pollinators will become more active visiting the flowers of plants in bloom. However, how different are honey bees and bumble bees?


There are a number of behavioral differences associated with honey bees and bumble bees that are presented below:

  1. Bumble bees are more active at lower temperatures (40°F) whereas honey bees are primarily active when temperatures are around 60°F or higher.
  2. Bumble bees are active on cloudy and rainy days. Honey bees are less active at low light intensities.
  3. Bumble bees “buzz pollinate” flowers so only a single bumble bee is required for pollination whereas up to 7 honey bees may be needed to pollinate a flower.
  4. Bumble bees forage for pollen instead of nectar. They are also more efficient pollinators than honey bees because they visit more flowers in a designated time period (e.g., minute).
  5. Bumble bees are present longer during the day (early morning and late evening) than honey bees, which means they may be more susceptible to exposure from pesticide applications.

It is important to protect honey bees and bumble bees from exposure to pesticides including insecticides and fungicides. So, when using pesticides be sure to adhere to the following:

  1. Use pesticides according to the label (ALWAYS READ THE LABEL DIRECTIONS CAREFULLY).
  2. Apply pesticides when both honey bees and bumble bees are less active (early morning and later evening).
  3. Apply more selective pesticides such as Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. kurstaki (sold as Dipel), which is only active on caterpillars.
  4. “Bee-Careful” when applying any pesticides. For example, avoid directly applying pesticides to open flowers that may be visited by honey bees or bumble bees.


HopGuard II Section 18 Approved for Kansas

—by Sharon Dobesh

For Kansas beekeepers interested in using HopGuard II for varroa mite control, the 2015 section 18 was approved effective April 13, 2015 through December 31, 2015. The active ingredient in HopGuard is 16% potassium salt of hop beta acids, which offers an alternate chemistry against varroa mites and is considered to be a more natural or ‘softer’ chemistry.

The use directions for HopGuard II in the colony at a rate of one strip per five deep frames covered with bees in each brood chamber. Strips must be opened and hung over the frame, two strips per ten frame super. There is a maximum of three applications per year per super (i.e. six strips per year super) is allowed. Application should occur based on varroa mite levels in the colony. For optimal results, little to no brood should be present in the colony.


The Kansas Department of Agriculture needs beekeepers, who are current users of HopGuard, to volunteer for required Section 18 inspections. If you use HopGuard and would allow KDA to come inspect HopGuard use in your hive(s), please contact Judy Glass, judy.glass@kda.ks.gov. Judy will need your name and contact information to follow-up. These inspections should not take longer than an hour to complete (probably less), but are required data for EPA in order for Kansas to continue to apply for Section 18 status. All volunteers may not be inspected.

Contact Sharon Dobesh (sdobesh@ksu.edu or 785-532-1340) if you have any questions regarding the section 18 approval, need a copy of the HopGuard II label, or the KDA inspections.