I am not sure if our problem is springtails or not. I had a pest guy come and look at the bugs and he told me they were pirate bugs? They are little black bugs that are on the outside of our home on our doors and window screens. Usually they are just around in the fall. I was told it was when the farmers start harvest but this spring they are here and seem to keep getting worse. We live in Iowa by the way.
They are worse on the doors during the day and then go away at least on the doors in the evening but are still on the window screens. If these are springtails what do you recommend for treatment and how long do you think it would take for them to be gone or at least get them to where they aren’t as bad and we can actually be outside without them being everywhere? I have a toddler and a dog. Will the treatment be bad for them to walk on the grass if thats the treatment we have to do? Let me know, thank you.
I’m sure what you’re seeing is not springtails. Based on how this pest is behaving, I’m sure they’re pirate bugs. And since a local pest control technician believes that’s what they are too, let’s go with them for now.
PIRATE BUG BIOLOGY
In general the pirate bug is a pest late summer and early fall. They’re predatory by nature feeding on small insects (they love larval stages of crop pests) and when farmers harvest crops many will get relocated from their natural home.
PIRATE BUG PROBLEMS
Now since most insects are maturing by late summer and fall, pirate bugs typically run out of food this time of year. This causes them to migrate toward more urban, populated areas. It’s here where they encounter man and in many cases, will even sting people! No need to fret though; their sting is mild and much like a mosquito bite. Plus they’re not known to transmit any disease or bacteria so it’s really just a painful ordeal at worse.
Now in some years they’ll get active early spring, way before there is any food present, and it appears this is happening right now for you. And when they emerge early, there is usually is no food available. So if there is no food and still some cold in the air, pirate bugs will seek any heated structure to roost and stay protected. This is why you’re seeing them on your home.
PIRATE BUG INVASIONS
In the past we’ve seen where many of these early infestations will just “disappear” as the temps rise with spring kicking in. But this might take another month or two. Worth noting is that once pirate bugs start coming around, the structures they target tend to get infested annually over and over so it’s not something you want to let develop if you see it getting worse. And in most cases once they start appearing in the spring you should expect to see them coming around in the fall too.
PIRATE BUG SPRAY FOR THE HOUSE
The good news is they’re easy to treat. Just mix up some CYPERMETHRIN and SPREADER STICKER and spray down the siding where you see activity. It usually only takes 1-2 treatments to knock them out and the Cypermethrin will repel them for several weeks as well. So if you want them gone now this is what we recommend. And if they come back next fall, be sure to treat then too or else they’ll start using your home for safe keeping during the normally cold winter. And you don’t want that happening because once that starts, some will find their way inside the home for sure.
For any garden plants where you find them, the use of the organic MULTIPURPOSE INSECT KILLER is the way to go. It’s approved for organic gardening so it’s safe to use on any plant that will produce an edible crop. Keep in mind this formulation does not provide any length of residual so that means within one day of treating, it will effectively be gone. Of course, this is why it’s so good for use on fruit and vegetable bearing plants but the down side is obvious; pests can re-infest easily so be prepared to treat more frequently if you go with the organic option.
Treatments can be done with any good PUMP SPRAYER and there is no need to treat the soil so really, there should be no hazard to you or the family when the applications are done properly.
PIRATE BUG SPRAY FOR THE YARD
If your property has vegetation pirate bugs like, apply some BIFENTHRIN GRANULES over as much of the area as you can. The granules will filter down through the thatch and into the soil which can help reduce their numbers. You should follow up by spraying over the top with CYONARA RTS. It will work quickly and can cover large areas. It’s not nearly as strong as the Cypermethrin but for the yard, very efficient and easy to use.
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