Questions about insects eating flour and living in the cracks of a wooden cutting boards

Questions about insects eating flour and living in the cracks of a wooden cutting boards

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I have a large wooden cutting board which is used in my kitchen mainly for preparing egg pasta. The wood type is Populus (poplar or aspen or cottonwood).

The main ingredients used with the cutting board are: flour (mainly soft wheat flour), hens' eggs, white sugar, butter, and baking powder.

After the food preparation, the cutting board is cleaned by scraping away the ingredients remains.

The board has some cracks and some small unknown insects are living inside the cracks.

The board has also a lot of holes due to woodboring beetles but I think the woodworms operated long time ago and they no longer live in the cutting board.

The unknown insect has an approximate length of 1 mm (along the direction of their movements) and a width of 0.3 mm. The unknown insects do not have wings, they just walk. I am not able to see how many pairs of legs they have.

The color of the insect is pale brown.

The cutting board was free from these unknown insects some months ago but then they appeared.

My questions:

  1. What insects are they?
  2. Are these insects poisonous to humans?
  3. How can I get rid of them?


The unknown insects could be Acarus siro, I will try to get a picture of the insects.

Update 2

Here is a picture. The bottom part of the image is a one Euro coin, the top part of the image is a caliper (each bright area is one mm tick).

Some more pictures:

This is a species of psocid (of the family Psocoptera, AKA booklice).

Species are best differentiated by their abdominal structure and antennae. Without a better (more magnified) image and info about the OP's location, identification to species is not possible. Though its small size will definitely narrow the options.

If I had to guess based on the limited detail (and my limited knowledge), I'd say it's a species in the genus Liposcelis or related genera. See Oklahoma State's ENTOPLP ID key for examples and info. I've included 2 random images of Liposcelis species for reference: the (TOP) is Liposcelis brunnea and (BOTTOM) is Liposcelis corrodens.

You can find info about prevention and removal from Oklahoma state, King's College London or the Orkin man.

UPDATE: Though I, myself, cannot identify this psocid to species, according to this KCL article, Liposcelis bostrychophila is the most likely candidate. [See here for ID notes].

From the KCL article:

Liposcelis bostrychophila is the principal psocid pest species in the UK and in Europe. This single species, which is mainly an inhabitant of households, is responsible for virtually all of the psocid related complaints in the UK (Turner & Ali 1996)… Recent estimates are that 30% of households contain this species.

Several other small (about 1mm long), flattened, wingless liposcelid species (eg. Liposcelis corrodens, L. pearmani and L. brunnea) can become quite common in industrial sites, particularly in the summer months but are uncommon in domestic premises.

Powderpost Beetles

Most of the procedures which will prevent attack on wood before it is used are the responsibility of those who harvest, mill or store the wood. However those who use the wood should take precautions to reduce the chances of building an infestation into structures and furniture.

Steps to prevent beetles from infesting wood include:

  • Inspecting wood prior to purchase
  • Using properly kiln or air-dried wood.
  • Sealing wood surfaces
  • Using chemically treated wood(wood preservatives or insecticides).
  • Using good building design such as ventilation, drainage and proper clearance between wood and soil will reduce the moisture content of wood creating less favorable conditions for beetle development.
  • Central heating and cooling systems also speed up the wood drying process.

Powderpost Beetle Biology

The larvae of these beetles reduce timbers to a mass of very fine, powder-like substance. The adults do very little damage

The larvae of these beetles reduce timbers to a mass of very fine, powder-like substance. The adults do very little damage In this section, we will discuss four types of Powderpost beetles in four families: Lyctidae, Bostrichidae, Anobiidae, and Cerambycidae. Adults do little damage, and it is the larvae(woodworms)that does the major part of the damage.They go through a complete metamorphosis: adults, eggs, larvae and pupae.

You can easily recognize the work of powder post beetles. When the adults emerge, usually in June, some species leave small holes about the size of a pin in the surface of the wood others make holes the size of pencil lead. From these holes, fine, powder like brood of larvae(woodworm) carry on their destructive feeding. Normally, these insects have a 1-year life cycle this means that the adults will appear only once each year. And because of this habit the larvae have a feeding period of many months.

Types of Termites

1. Subterranean Termites

Subterranean termites live in the soil and build one of the largest nests. They are connected via trees and structural timbers in houses.

These termites are found highly in the U.S. and are considered one of the most destructive species. They destroy woods and home at a fast pace.

2. Dampwood Termites

They belong to the families Kalotermitidae and Hodotermitidae. These species are mostly found in woods that has high moisture content.

These termites are seldom found in homes. This is because homes have wood that do not have moisture content in it.

They also do not require contact with the soil and are mostly found in damp woods.

3. Drywood Termites

They belong to the family Kalotermitidae and are typically found in wood, hardwood floors and timber.

They do not require contact with the soil. These species are responsible for damage to homes.

Drywood termites cause damage at a slower as compared to the subterranean termites. Hence, it is seen that the subterranean termites does more damage as compared to other termites and require different treatment methods.

Pressure Canning: Beginner's Guide.

How to Pickle: Step-by-Step.

How Long Does Food Last in the.

How to Freeze and Dry Herbs

Water-Bath Canning: Beginner's.


How to Dry Tomatoes, Peppers, and.

Bowls and Boards for the Holiday.

How to Make Jam: Refrigerator Jam.

How to Can Tomato Sauce: Recipe.

How to Freeze Corn: Blanching and.

How to Make Jelly: 7 Easy Jelly.

Why do I have tiny ants in my house?

They forage for food and water, often found in your kitchen.

These ants are searching for two things: food and water.

This is why you have ants in your kitchen.

They’ve likely already established shelter nearby and the ants you see are scouts looking for food to bring back to the nest.

They usually build their nest outdoors, within wall voids, or other crawl spaces. If you can find the nest, destroy it and your problem is solved.

Sadly, it’s easier said than done. These ants are difficult to find, let alone spot their ant colony hidden somewhere out of view.

So you’ll need to be smart to save yourself time.

Don’t go killing off the ants as soon as you see them- use their trail to find their nest and destroy it. Then you don’t need to worry about future ant problems.

Do you see what I’m saying? Get rid of the source to get rid of the problem.

If you provide them with a source of food and water, they’ll constantly scour your kitchen for them.

Home Remedies to Get Rid of Roaches

Remedies to get rid of roaches include a variety of ways. There are some natural ingredients that act as repellents and keep these roaches away from your house. Then there are some other natural ingredients that kill them and give you relief from these creatures permanently, well, till others of their species don’t find you home too attractive to avoid! Then there are some tricks to trap roaches in case you don’t want to kill them. We try to cover all these remedies so that you get rid of roaches completely.

Coffee Grinds to Get Rid of Roaches

Whether the caffeine in coffee kills these roaches or the aromatic coffee acts as a bait is a debatable point. The core of the theory is that coffee grind is one of the most effective remedies to get rid of roaches. They will feed on anything organic and if you have ever noticed, they are especially attracted to coffee grounds left over the counter among many other foods. So, lure them and eliminate them.

How to Use Coffee Grounds to Kill Roaches

  • Take the glass jars and fill them with water, about halfway.
  • Now take the small cups and place wet coffee grinds inside each of them.
  • Place one such cup inside all the jars.
  • Now place these jars against walls or baseboards or any other place where possibly the roaches are nesting.
  • What happens is, roaches get attracted to the aroma of the coffee grinds and enter the jar. Once they are inside the jar, they can’t escape from there.
  • Once you have laid the jars to attract the roaches, check them daily once. The day you see the jar has quite a number of roaches, dump them along with the water into the toilet. However, before discarding these roaches, remove the cups from inside the jars.
  • Now, fill the jars again with water and place some more wet coffee grinds in the cups and repeat the process.
  • Do this till the time you see no roaches for days in your jars with coffee ground.

Borax and Sugar to Get Rid of Roaches

As mentioned above, anything organic attracts roaches and so does anything sweet! So, this remedy uses sugar to attract them but what is used to kill them! Borax. Yes, borax can be as effective as the sprays used by your commercial exterminator. It dehydrates the roaches’ exoskeleton and also damages their digestive system. This is enough to kill them.

How to Make Borax-Sugar Bait for Roaches

Get this:
Equal parts of:

  • Take equal amounts of borax and sugar and mix them.
  • Apply this mixture along the baseboards, into the cracks, under your cabinets and the sink or any other place where you usually see the roaches.
  • You will see many dead roaches in a few hours of time.

Precaution: Borax is categorized as poison and thus needs to be used very cautiously, especially if you have kids or pets at home. Always sprinkle the borax and sugar powder in higher places and where the kids and pets cannot reach. Always label the jar or the container in which you store borax so that no accident happens in future.

Fabric Softener to Get Rid of Roaches

Fabric softener is yet another way to effectively kill cockroaches. Roaches breathe through their skin and when you spray a thick solution of fabric softener and water on them, it suffocates them, makes it difficult for them to breathe. Thus they get killed.

How to Use Fabric Softener to Kill Roaches

  • Mix the fabric softener and water.
  • Fill the spray bottle with this thick solution.
  • Now spray this over any cockroach you see. You may even spray it in places you are sure has hidden roaches

Make a Cucumber Trap to Get Rid of Roaches

While not many found this remedy too effective, some still say it works. Anyway, cucumbers are almost always in your fridge so it doesn’t hurt to experiment with this cucumber peel remedy too to find out if the roaches in your house really react to them! It is said that cucumber peels when placed in aluminum can react to the metal and produce such a stink that isn’t tolerable to roaches and they die off.

How to Make Cucumber Trap for Roaches

  • Place the cucumber peels in the can.
  • Now place this can somewhere near a site where you think there are many cockroaches.
  • Now just wait for the nasty creatures to die away.

Baking Soda- Sugar to Get Rid of Roaches

Earlier we have talked about borax and sugar mix that makes poisonous bait for the roaches. Now if you do not want to use borax due to the presence of kids and pets in your home, try mixing baking soda with sugar to make almost equally effective bait for the roaches at your home. The theory for sugar is the same that they attract roaches and for baking soda, it’s said that they affect the digestive system of the roaches. In fact, it leads to build up of so much gas into the creature that it dies.

How to Make Baking Soda-Sugar Bait for Roaches

  • Take equal amounts of both the ingredients and mix them.
  • Sprinkle the mix in those areas that are infested by the roaches.
  • When the roaches eat the mixture, they would die

Bay Leaf to Get Rid of Roaches

This can be said a homemade repellant that drives roaches away from your home instead of killing them. Bay leaf, a herb spice used extensively in Asian cooking, can be found easily in a store selling Indian or other Asian spices. It is said that roaches can’t stand the smell of bay leaves and thus you can get rid of roaches permanently even without killing them.

How to Use Bay Leaves for Roaches

  • Crush the bay leaves to get its powder. Bay leaf is already dried and you won’t find it difficult to grind it.
  • Now sprinkle this powder near the places nesting roaches.
  • The roaches will soon leave your home and migrate somewhere else where they get their favorite foods.

Ammonia-Water Solution to Get Rid of Roaches

Ammonia too works as a repellant for roaches due to its pungent smell. Therefore, make it a habit to clean the hard surfaces with a solution of ammonia and water.

How to Use Ammonia for Roaches

  • Add ammonia to the bucket full of water.
  • Now wash the hard surfaces of your kitchen and bathroom and if possible at other places with this solution.
  • Roaches will leave your home soon but keep on using this solution at least once in two weeks to prevent them from entering your house again.

Soda Bottle Traps

While you can always buy roach traps, if you have some time and will to put a little effort, you can use those empty soda bottles to make roach traps right at home. Here’s how you can make one.

How to Make Soda Bottle Trap for Roaches

  • Plastic soda bottle
  • A sharp knife or any other thing that may cut the bottle
  • Tape
  • Soap
  • Water
  • Take your plastic soda bottle and with the help of a cutting tool, cut off its top from the place where it curves.
  • Now take this detached top of the bottle and place it in inverted position into the body of the bottle. Don’t forget to take out its cap. It should look and act like a funnel inside the soda bottle.
  • Use the tape around the rim to hold it in place.
  • Now mix a little water with soap and pour this into the bottle. You need the very little solution of soap-water in the bottom of the bottle.
  • Now place your homemade cockroach trap where roaches are seen often.
  • Roaches will crawl into the bottle and will drown.

Use Catnip to Get Rid of Roaches

Catnip herb is a natural repellant for roaches that you can use to get rid of roaches safely without harming your pets and kids. The active ingredient in catnip is nepetalactone and this is non-toxic to humans as well as pets.

Ways to Use Catnip for Roaches

  1. Get small sachets of catnip and leave them in places where you see the cockroach.
  2. Simmer 1 tsp of catnip in 2 cups of water and make a catnip tea. Use this as a spray after filling it in a spray bottle. Spray it around baseboards and behind counters or anywhere you doubt roaches hide in your house.

Precaution: While the herb is safe for pets, it makes cats go crazy so if you have a cat in your house, look for some other remedy to get rid of roaches.

Boric Acid to Get Rid of Roaches

This is what the commercial pest control use- boric acid. And thus it’s a toxic way to get rid of roaches but yes it is one of the options if you have just fed up with these nasty creatures.

How to Use Boric Acid to Kill Roaches

  • Put boric acid on top of the kitchen cabinets or bathroom cabinets wherever they are.
  • Don’t put boric acid inside cabinets. Remember, they are toxic.
  • You may actually put it somewhere between ceiling and cabinets if it’s possible. Roaches like high places and so this effort won’t go waste.
  • If you are able to do this, roaches will take boric acid to their nests from these high places and kill all of their species there.

Precaution: Take utmost care to keep the boric acid away from kids and pets. Wash your hands properly after putting boric acid. Better if you use gloves to do the job and wash off the gloves properly immediately after placing boric acid in desirable place.

Cayenne Pepper to Get Rid of Roaches

Among the herbs, other than bay leaves and catnip, you may include pepper too when it comes to making natural repellant for roaches. Where there is cayenne pepper, the roaches would not like to live there. Now whether this is due to the smell of the pepper or due to some ingredient in it, is not clear but pepper does work.

How to Use Cayenne Pepper for Roaches

  • Cayenne (or red) pepper- 1 tbsp
  • Garlic clove (crushed)- 1
  • White onion (crushed)- 1
  • Water- 4 cups
  • Take a tablespoon of red or cayenne pepper.
  • Mix it with a crushed garlic clove and white onion.
  • Now boil a quart or 4 cups of water and add all this to the boiling hot water.
  • Put off the flame and wait till it cools down.
  • Pour this into a spray bottle and spray in the roach-infested areas.

You may also sprinkle cayenne pepper behind any object or place where you doubt roaches to be hiding.

Hair Spray to Get Rid of Roaches

Yes, you have read right! You can even use the simple hair spray lying in your home to kill roaches. As the spray is sticky, it makes the wings roaches get glued so that they may not escape. It also seals the breathing orifices of the roaches and thus they suffocate and die.

How to Use Hair Spray to Kill Roaches

  • Spray the hairspray solution whenever and wherever you see a cockroach.
  • When the insect dies, put it in the dustbin and use a damp cloth to clean the area where you sprayed with the hairspray.

Warning: hairspray is a highly flammable ingredient. Never ever use it around an open flame. It’s better not to use this remedy in a kitchen.

Essential Oils Remedy to Get Rid of Roaches

There are many pleasant smells that we humans like but roaches, flies and other insects cannot stand them. Some of such oils include rosemary oil, cedar, eucalyptus, fir and lemon oil. You can always pour few drops of these oils onto a cotton ball and place this near insect infested areas. Here is a remedy that uses some of these oils along with baking soda and borax to get you rid of roaches and other insects as well. This will leave your home smelling pleasantly too.

Use Cedar, Lemon and Fir Oils to Get Rid of Roaches

  • Cedar essential oil- 10-12 drops
  • Lemon essential oil- 4 drops
  • White fir essential oil- 4 drops
  • Baking soda- 2 cups
  • Borax- 4 tbsp
  • Add all the ingredients in a bowl. Mix them well.
  • Now sprinkle this mixture everywhere where you think there might be roaches. You can even sprinkle this on carpets and upholstered furniture. Soda and borax absorb soil, oils and odors. This makes your carpets and furniture fresh and clean.
  • Now leave it for about half an hour.
  • Then vacuum well so that all soda residues are removed. You may not like to clean it from such places as behind the cabinets etc.
  • This will not only kill and repel roaches but will also repel mites, ticks, fleas, spiders, bedbugs etc.

Make Sticky Trap to Get Rid of Roaches

You may trap the roaches in such a way that they remain unable to escape and this you can do by using super-strength packaging tape! You just need to keep the sticky side up. If that doesn’t please you, get glue boards used to catch mice.

How to Make Sticky Trap for Roaches

Get this:
• Packaging Tapes
• Glue board (meant for mice control)

  • Take the tapes and place them in such places as along baseboards and countertops, behind the refrigerator and stove. Don’t forget to keep the sticky side up.
  • Do this at night before going to bed because this is the time when roaches are the most active creatures.
  • If you have roaches, hope to catch some of them until morning.
  • Do this daily till you see none for a couple of days.
  • If it’s a lot of work, just place glue boards that are made for mice control in places where you see roaches.

Some Other Tips to Prevent and Get Rid of Roaches

If you don’t want these unwelcome guests called cockroaches in your house, you need to cut off their supply. Yes roaches too have basic needs like us- food, water and shelter. So don’t let food be easily available to them by avoiding spills and storing food properly. Fix your leaking pipes and keep drains clean. Keep your house clean, free of clutter and warm moist dirty places because such places are what become the shelter of roaches. Here are some tips for you so that you can prevent roaches from entering your house and if they have already entered, you will also find some tips to get them out of your home.

  1. Remove all the clutter from everywhere in your house.
  2. Keep your house clean by vacuuming well and often. Clean floors daily. Pay special attention to furniture, walls, cabinets, mouldings, baseboards, etc. while cleaning.
  3. Vacuum or sweep and then sponge mop kitchen floor every week, if not daily. Take care to mop up all the water.
  4. Wash all the hard washable surfaces like sinks etc. with cleansers and not just water. You may use ammonia and water as mentioned in the remedies above.
  5. The places that are hard to reach and not visible and those that you can’t clean everyday need to fix something to detract roaches. Dust these places with boric acid powder.
  6. Seal any cracks and openings with caulk. You can find such cracks and openings where the wall and the ceiling meet, where the wall and the floor meet, around baseboards and pipes, door and window mouldings, around splash board at a sink, and inside cabinets.

Tips to Cut off Food Supply of Roaches to keep them out

  1. Always keep food stored in sealed containers or in your refrigerator. It’s better to keep it sealed in the fridge too.
  2. Try to paint your cabinet shelves and drawers using enamel. Always keep them clean.
  3. Don’t let the garbage lay open. Use covered dustbins in the kitchen and where you have moist garbage. As far as possible, keep covered garbage containers outside.
  4. Keep everything in kitchen clean. Wash your dishes, tables, counters and stovetops every day without fail.
  5. Store anything edible including dry items like flour, sugar, cereal, pasta and crackers in covered containers. Remember, these are also the foods that attract roaches.

Tips to Cut off Water Supply to Roaches

  1. Fix all the leaks in your house. No pipes, taps, flush tanks, nothing should leak water.
  2. Clean drains every day.
  3. Keep all the places in the house clean and dry. Kitchen and bathroom should also be clean and dry. Mop any water as soon as the area gets wet.

Tips to Eliminate Hiding Places of Roaches

  1. Clean the clutter from all storage spaces including shelves, drawers, closets etc. Throw away everything that is junk.
  2. Don’t use shelf paper as roaches love to hide under them.
  3. Unused furniture, appliances, food and clothing, all of them are clutter. Throw them away or give them away. Do whatever you need to get rid of them.
  4. Regular home repairs are a must. Seal cracks and openings. Also, remove chipped paint.
  5. If there is wallpaper in your house, make sure, it is not losing. Lose wallpapers should be removed or repaired. The same is true for plaster.
  6. Check your books on the shelves or drawers or wherever you store them. Check behind picture frames, under the sink and electronics for cockroaches. Clean them regularly.

If you take all the above measures, roaches would just hate your house and you will not have to think about the ways to get rid of roaches!

Treating Oak wood

With regards to finishing and treating oak, there are numerous possibilities but there are certain requirements that are asked for time and again… Often we are asked how external oak can be kept looking natural. Whilst the question is easy, the answer is not so straight forward. These are the necessary considerations: –

  • When water penetrates oak it reacts with the high tannin content within oak, resulting in ‘blackening’.
  • The Sun’s UV rays will turn the oak to a silvery hue over time.
  • Clear products are inevitably not completely clear so they tend to ‘bring out’ the natural colours of the oak, normally making it a bit darker and warmer.
  • The levels of rain, wind and sun will make a difference to how quickly the oak changes colour.

Oak turned grey / silver by UV rays & water damage

Oak Barrels traditionally used for Whisky and Beer

If the requirement is to keep the oak looking as natural as possible, whilst preventing blackening or silvering as much as possible, then the following is the best system we know of: –

Osmo 420 extra offers UV resistance and also contains biocide which is important for external timbers as it prevents the wood from becoming diseased with wet rot, dry rot and blue stone etc. The oil also repels water, thus preventing it from going black.

If the requirement is to protect the oak whilst keeping the silvery appearance then the following is the best:

Tung oil is one of the clearest oils on the market and doesn’t offer UV resistance.

If the exterior oak needs to be coloured then the following system is recommended:

  • 1 coat of clear wood preservative
  • followed by 1 coat of your chosen colour of Osmo Natural Oil Woodstain
  • followed by 1 coat of clear Osmo UV Protection Oil 420 Extra

If blackening on exterior oak needs removing then scrub with a fungicidal wash such as Barrettine Mould and Mildew Cleaner is recommended. On the other hand, it may be the silvering that needs removing. If so, a scrub with Osmo Wood Reviver Gel (which contains oxalic acid, amongst other active ingredients).

  • Finished Oak
  • Unfinished Oak

One of the most common enquiries we get is how to keep internal oak looking natural. This is not just a case of simply applying ‘clear products’ as they bring out the natural colours of the wood, thus making it a little darker and more golden. A very good indication of how your oak will look once it has been finished with a ‘clear’ coat is to dampen an area by applying some water with a clean cloth or sponge. The look achieved when the wood is damp/wet is very close to how it will look once a clear varnish or a clear oil has been applied.

Some customers like the way oak colours when clear coatings are applied to it whilst others want it to be as close as possible to how it looks in its natural state. A more natural look can be achieved by using wood oils that have been specifically formulated to retain the natural appearance of interior Oak. These products include: –

  • If an oiled finish is preferred then apply two thin coats of Fiddes Hard Wax Oil Natural or Osmo Polyx Oil Raw.
  • If a varnished finish is preferred then 1 part Manns Classic Wood Dye can be mixed with 50 parts Manns Extra Tough Interior Varnish.

Clear wax polish is the one exception to the above… If a clear wax polish is applied to bare oak (or just about any other wood for that matter) then the colour is kept very natural indeed, it’s just a question of whether a wax polish is going to be durable enough. Internal doors, for example, are considered, by most people, to be ideal for finishing with wax, whereas a floor will look nice once waxed but regular maintenance is required, so most people don’t opt for wax for this reason.

If the oak needs to be made darker then Osmo Polyx Oil Tints or Fiddes Hard Wax Oil Tints are ideal because they colour and protect the wood in the same application. It is always good to try and finish with a clear coat if possible because if the wood gets scratched it is the clear coat that scratches before the coloured coat and therefore the scratch is not as noticeable.

Oiling Consideration

If oak is being oiled it is a good idea to sand it with sandpaper that is no finer than 150 grit. The reason for this is that the pores of the wood are more open thus allowing the oil to sink into the wood better. Better absorption equals greater protection.

Interesting Oak Stats

  • Oak bark is rich in tannin and is used by tanners for tanning leather.
  • Acorns can be used for making flour or they can be roasted for making acorn coffee.
  • Tannin dissolves and escapes from the wood. Wine barrels are made from oak and it is the tannin that helps to give the wine its’ colour.
  • Sessile oaks of Europe and can reach heights of up to 40 metres.
  • Oak trees regularly live to be 500 years old, although 1,000 years old oaks are also known.
  • A mature oak tree can produce up to 50,000 acorns!


A pest is any living thing, whether animal, plant, or fungus, which humans consider troublesome to themselves, their possessions, or the environment. [1] It is a loose concept, as an organism can be a pest in one setting but beneficial, domesticated, or acceptable in another. Microorganisms, whether bacteria, microscopic fungi, protists, or viruses that cause trouble, on the other hand, are generally thought of as causes of disease (pathogens) rather than as pests. [2] An older usage of the word "pest" is of a deadly epidemic disease, specifically plague. In its broadest sense, a pest is a competitor to humanity. [3]

Animals as pests Edit

Animals are considered pests or vermin when they injure people or damage crops, forestry, or buildings. Elephants are regarded as pests by the farmers whose crops they raid and trample. Mosquitoes and ticks are vectors that can transmit ailments but are also pests because of the distress caused by their bites. Grasshoppers are usually solitary herbivores of little economic importance until the conditions are met for them to enter a swarming phase, become locusts and cause enormous damage. [4] Many people appreciate birds in the countryside and their gardens, but when these accumulate in large masses, they can be a nuisance. Flocks of starlings can consist of hundreds of thousands of individual birds, their roosts can be noisy and their droppings voluminous the droppings are acidic and can cause corrosion of metals, stonework, and brickwork as well as being unsightly. Pigeons in urban settings may be a health hazard, and gulls near the coast can become a nuisance, especially if they become bold enough to snatch food from passers-by. All birds are a risk at airfields where they can be sucked into aircraft engines. [5] Woodpeckers sometimes excavate holes in buildings, fencing and utility poles, causing structural damage [6] they also drum on various reverberatory structures on buildings such as gutters, down-spouts, chimneys, vents and aluminium sheeting. [7] Jellyfish can form vast swarms which may be responsible for damage to fishing gear, and sometimes clog the cooling systems of power and desalination plants which draw their water from the sea. [8]

Many of the animals that we regard as pests live in our homes. Before humans built dwellings, these creatures lived in the wider environment, but co-evolved with humans, adapting to the warm, sheltered conditions that a house provides, the wooden timbers, the furnishings, the food supplies and the rubbish dumps. Many no longer exist as free-living organisms in the outside world, and can therefore be considered to be domesticated. [9] The St Kilda house mouse rapidly became extinct when the last islander left the island of St Kilda, Scotland in 1930, but the St Kilda field mouse survived. [10]

Plants as pests Edit

Plants may be considered pests, for example, if they are invasive species or weeds. There is no universal definition of what makes a plant a pest. Some governments, such as that of Western Australia, permit their authorities to prescribe as a pest plant "any plant that, in the local government authority's opinion, is likely to adversely affect the environment of the district, the value of property in the district, or the health, comfort or convenience of the district’s inhabitants." [12] An example of such a plant prescribed under this regulation is caltrop, Tribulus terrestris, which can cause poisoning in sheep and goats, but is mainly a nuisance around buildings, roadsides and recreation areas because of its uncomfortably sharp spiny burrs. [11]

Other organisms as pests Edit

Some definitions encompass any hazardous or problematic organism, and so often include fungi, oomycetes, bacteria, and viruses. [13]

The term "plant pest", mainly applied to insect micropredators of plants, has a specific definition in terms of the International Plant Protection Convention and phytosanitary measures worldwide. A pest is any species, strain or biotype of plant, animal, or pathogenic agent injurious to plants or plant products. [14]

Plant defences against pests Edit

Plants have developed strategies that they use in their own defence, be they thorns (modified stems) or spines (modified leaves), stings, a thick cuticle or waxy deposits, with the second line of defence being toxic or distasteful secondary metabolites. Mechanical injury to the plant tissues allows the entry of pathogens and stimulates the plant to mobilise its chemical defences. The plant soon seals off the wound to reduce further damage. [15]

Plants sometimes take active steps to reduce herbivory. Macaranga triloba for example has adapted its thin-walled stems to create ideal housing for an ant Crematogaster spp., which, in turn, protects the plant from herbivores. In addition to providing housing, the plant also provides the ant with its exclusive food source in the form of food bodies located on the leaf stipules. [16] Similarly, several Acacia tree species have developed stout spines that are swollen at the base, forming a hollow structure that provides housing for ants which protect the plant. These Acacia trees also produce nectar in nectaries on their leaves as food for the ants. [17]

In agriculture and horticulture Edit

Together pests and diseases cause up to 40% yield losses every year. [18] The animal groups of the greatest importance as agricultural pests are (in order of economic importance) insects, mites, nematodes and gastropod molluscs. [19] [20]

Insects are responsible for two major forms of damage to crops. First, there is the direct injury they cause to the plants as they feed on the tissues a reduction in leaf surface available for photosynthesis, distortion of growing shoots, a diminution of the plant's growth and vigour, and the wilting of shoots and branches caused by the insects' tunneling activities. Secondly there is the indirect damage, where the insects do little direct harm, but either transmit or allow entry of fungal, bacterial or viral infections. [21] Although some insects are polyphagous, many are restricted to one specific crop, or group of crops. In many cases it is the larva that feeds on the plant, building up a nutritional store that will be used by the short-lived adult sawfly and lepidopteran larvae feed mainly on the aerial portions of plants while beetle larvae tend to live underground, feeding on roots, or tunnel into the stem or under the bark. The true bugs, Hemiptera, have piercing and sucking mouthparts and live by sucking sap from plants. These include aphids, whiteflies and scale insects. Apart from weakening the plant, they encourage the growth of sooty mould on the honeydew the insects produce, which cuts out the light and reduces photosynthesis, stunting the plant's growth. They often transmit serious viral diseases between plants. [22]

The mites that cause most trouble in the field are the spider mites. These are less than 1 mm (0.04 in) in diameter, can be very numerous, and thrive in hot, dry conditions. They mostly live on the underside of leaves and puncture the plant cells to feed, with some species forming webbing. They occur on nearly all important food crops and ornamental plants, both outdoors and under glass, and include some of the most economically important pests. [23] Another important group of mites is the gall mites which affect a wide range of plants, several mite species being major pests causing substantial economic damage to crops. They can feed on the roots or the aerial parts of plants and transmit viruses. [24] Some examples are the big bud mite that transmits the reversion virus of blackcurrants, [25] the coconut mite which can devastate coconut production, [26] and the cereal rust mite which transmits several grass and cereal viruses. [27] Being exceedingly minute, many plant mites are spread by wind, although others use insects or other arthropods as a means to disperse. [24]

The nematodes (eelworms) that attack plants are minute, often too small to be seen with the naked eye, but their presence is often apparent in the galls or "knots" they form in plant tissues. Vast numbers of nematodes are found in soil and attack roots, but others affect stems, buds, leaves, flowers and fruits. High infestations cause stunting, deformation and retardation of plant growth, and the nematodes can transmit viral diseases from one plant to another. [28] When its populations are high, the potato cyst nematode can cause reductions of 80% in yield of susceptible potato varieties. [29] The nematode eggs survive in the soil for many years, being stimulated to hatch by chemical cues produced by roots of susceptible plants. [30]

Slugs and snails are terrestrial gastropod molluscs which typically chew leaves, stems, flowers, fruit and vegetable debris. Slugs and snails differ little from each other and both do considerable damage to plants. With novel crops being grown and with insect pests having been brought more under control by biological and other means, the damage done by molluscs becomes of greater significance. [31] Terrestrial molluscs need moist environments snails may be more noticeable because their shells provide protection from desiccation, while most slugs live in soil and only come out to feed at night. They devour seedlings, damage developing shoots and feed on salad crops and cabbages, and some species tunnel into potatoes and other tubers. [32]

Weeds Edit

A weed is a plant considered undesirable in a particular situation the term has no botanical significance. Often, weeds are simply those native plants that are adapted to grow in disturbed ground, the disturbance caused by ploughing and cultivation favouring them over other species. Any plant is a weed if it appears in a location where it is unwanted Bermuda grass makes a good lawn plant under hot dry conditions but become a bad weed when it out-competes cultivated plants. [34]

A different group of weeds consists of those that are invasive, introduced, often unintentionally, to habitats to which they are not native but in which they thrive. Without their original competitors, herbivores, and diseases, they may increase and become a serious nuisance. [35] One such plant is purple loosestrife, a native of Europe and Asia where it occurs in ditches, wet meadows and marshes introduced into North America, it has no natural enemies to keep it in check and has taken over vast tracts of wetlands to the exclusion of native species. [36]

In forestry Edit

In forestry, pests may affect various parts of the tree, from its roots and trunk to the canopy far overhead. The accessibility of the part of the tree affected may make detection difficult, so that a pest problem may already be far advanced before it is first observed from the ground. The larch sawfly and spruce budworm are two insect pests prevalent in Alaska and aerial surveys can show which sections of forest are being defoliated in any given year so that appropriate remedial action can be taken. [37]

Some pests may not be present on the tree all year round, either because of their life cycle or because they rotate between different host species at different times of the year. [38] The larvae of wood-boring beetles may spend years excavating tunnels under the bark of trees, and only emerge into the open for brief periods as adults, to mate and disperse. The import and export of timber has inadvertently assisted some insect pests to establish themselves far from their country of origin. An insect may be of little importance in its native range, being kept under control by parasitoid wasps, predators, and the natural resistance of the host trees, but be a serious pest in a region into which it has been introduced. [39] This is the case with the emerald ash borer, an insect native to north-eastern Asia, which, since its arrival in North America, has killed millions of ash trees. [40]

In buildings Edit

Animals able to live in the dry conditions found in buildings include many arthropods such as beetles, cockroaches, moths, and mites. Another group, including termites, woodworm, longhorn beetles, and wood ants cause structural damage to buildings and furniture. [41] The natural habitat of these is the decaying parts of trees. The deathwatch beetle infests the structural timbers of old buildings, mostly attacking hardwood, especially oak. The initial attack usually follows the entry of water into a building and the subsequent decay of damp timber. Furniture beetles mainly attack the sapwood of both hard and soft wood, only attacking the heartwood when it is modified by fungal decay. The presence of the beetles only becomes apparent when the larvae gnaw their way out, leaving small circular holes in the timber. [42]

Carpet beetles and clothes moths cause non-structural damage to property such as clothing and carpets. [43] [44] It is the larvae that are destructive, feeding on wool, hair, fur, feathers and down. The moth larvae live where they feed, but the beetle larvae may hide behind skirting boards or in other similar locations between meals. They may be introduced to the home in any product containing animal fibres including upholstered furniture the moths are feeble fliers but the carpet beetles may also enter houses through open windows. [45] Furniture beetles, carpet beetles and clothes moths are also capable of creating great damage to museum exhibits, zoological and botanical collections, and other cultural heritage items. Constant vigilance is required to prevent an attack, and newly acquired items, and those that have been out on loan, may need quarantining before being added to the general collection. [46]

There are over four thousand species of cockroach worldwide, but only four species are commonly regarded as pests, having adapted to live permanently in buildings. [47] Considered to be a sign of unsanitary conditions, they feed on almost anything, reproduce rapidly and are difficult to eradicate. They can passively transport pathogenic microbes on their body surfaces, particularly in environments such as hospitals, [48] and are linked with allergic reactions in humans. [49]

Various insects attack dry food products, with flour beetles, the drugstore beetle, the sawtoothed grain beetle and the Indianmeal moth being found worldwide. The insects may be present in the warehouse or maybe introduced during shipping, in retail outlets, or in the home they may enter packets through tiny cracks or may chew holes in the packaging. The longer a product is stored, the more likely it is to become contaminated, with the insects often originating from dry pet foods. [50]

Some mites, too, infest foodstuffs and other stored products. Each substance has its own specific mite, and they multiply with great rapidity. One of the most damaging is the flour mite, which is found in grain and may become exceedingly abundant in poorly stored material. In time, predatory mites usually move in and control the flour mites. [51]

Pest control in agriculture and horticulture Edit

The control of pests in crops is as old as civilisation. The earliest approach was mechanical, from ploughing to picking off insects by hand. Early methods included the use of sulphur compounds, before 2500 BC in Sumeria. In ancient China, insecticides derived from plants were in use by 1200 BC to treat seeds and to fumigate plants. Chinese agronomy recognised biological control by natural enemies of pests and the varying of planting time to reduce pests before the first century AD. The agricultural revolution in Europe saw the introduction of effective plant-based insecticides such as pyrethrum, derris, quassia, and tobacco extract. The phylloxera (a powdery mildew) damage to the wine industry in the 19th century resulted in the development of resistant varieties and grafting, and the accidental discovery of effective chemical pesticides, Bordeaux mixture (lime and copper sulphate) and Paris Green (an arsenic compound), both very widely used. Biological control also became established as an effective measure in the second half of the 19th century, starting with the vedalia beetle against cottony cushion scale. All these methods have been refined and developed since their discovery. [52]

Pest control in forestry Edit

Forest pests inflict costly damage, but treating them is often unaffordable, given the relatively low value of forest products compared to agricultural crops. It is also generally impossible to eradicate forest pests, given the difficulty of examining entire trees, and the certainty that pesticides would damage many forest organisms other than the intended pests. Forest integrated pest management therefore aims to use a combination of prevention, cultural control measures, and direct control (such as pesticide use). Cultural measures include choosing appropriate species, keeping competing vegetation under control, ensuring a suitable stocking density, and minimizing injury and stress to trees. [53]

Pest control in buildings Edit

Pest control in buildings can be approached in several ways, depending on the type of pest and the area affected. Methods include improving sanitation and garbage control, modifying the habitat, and using repellents, growth regulators, traps, baits and pesticides. [54] For example, the pesticide Boron can be impregnated into the fibres of cellulose insulation to kill self-grooming insects such as ants and cockroaches. [55] Clothes moths can be controlled with airtight containers for storage, periodic laundering of garments, trapping, freezing, heating and the use of chemicals. Traditional mothballs deter adult moths with strong-smelling naphthalene modern ones use volatile repellents such as 1,4-Dichlorobenzene. Moth larvae can be killed with insecticides such as permethrin or pyrethroids. [56] However, insecticides cannot safely be used in food storage areas alternative treatments include freezing foods for four days at 0 °F (−18 °C) or baking for half an hour at 130 °F (54 °C) to kill any insects present. [57]

Pests have attracted human attention from the birth of civilisation. Plagues of locusts caused devastation in the ancient Middle East, and were recorded in tombs in Ancient Egypt from as early as 2470 BC, and in the Book of Exodus in the Bible, as taking place in Egypt around 1446 BC. [58] [59] Homer's Iliad mentions locusts taking to the wing to escape fire. [60] Given the impact of agricultural pests on human lives, people have prayed for deliverance. For example, the 10th century Greek monk Tryphon of Constantinople is said to have prayed "Snails, earwigs and all other creatures, hurt not the vines, nor the land nor the fruit of the trees, nor the vegetables . but depart into the wild mountains." [31] The 11th-century Old English medical text Lacnunga contained charms and spells to ward off or treat pests such as wid smeogan wyrme, "penetrating worms", in this case requiring a charm to be sung, accompanied by covering the wound with spittle, pounded green centaury, and hot cow's urine. [61] The 20th century "prayer against pests" including the words "By Your power may these injurious animals be driven off so that they will do no harm to any one and will leave our fields and meadows unharmed" was printed in the 1956 Rural Life Prayerbook. [62] [63]

If your heels are cracked, dry, and unsightly. baby oil and a sock will help. (I recognize that these two items are often used in conjunction for other purposes: filming extra-slippery versions of the Risky Business slide, freshening up a pair of stinky socks, and even - though I hesitate to mention it - cleaning off the sides of a dribbly bottle of baby oil.)

Apply some baby oil over your heel before bed, put on some socks, then wake up transformed like a Jergens-Kafka mashup.

Black Walnut Trees

The black walnut tree (Juglans nigra) is one of North America’s most valuable and beautiful native trees, but it does have a “dark side.” Here’s what you should know before planting a black walnut in your yard—and how to harvest and eat the tasty walnuts, too!

Facts About the Black Walnut Tree

The easily worked, close-grained wood of the black walnut has long been prized by furniture- and cabinetmakers for its attractive color and exceptional durability. Its logs are in such demand for veneer that “walnut rustlers” have made off with trees in the dead of night and even used helicopters in their operations.

The early settlers discovered black walnuts growing in mixed forests from Canada to northern Florida and west to the Great Plains. They found that its rich-brown heartwood was exceptionally resistant to decay and put it to use as fence posts, poles, shingles, and sills.

When surrounded by other trees in the forest, black walnuts grow straight and tall with few, if any, lower branches.

When planted in the open, the tree will branch out closer to the ground, developing a spreading shape that makes it easier to harvest its sweet, round, two- to three-inch nuts.

Settlers snacked on the nutritious walnuts out of hand, added them to soups and stews, and ground them into meal for baking the hard shells provided a perfect package for storing the nuts over winter.

The “Dark Side” of Black Walnuts

Although the black walnut has many uses and benefits, the tree does come with a caveat: the black walnut’s roots, which may extend 50 feet or more from the trunk, exude a natural herbicide known as juglone. This substance is also found in the tree’s leaves and fruit husks.

Juglone does serve a purpose, though. It inhibits many plants’ growth under and around the tree, thereby limiting the tree’s competition, leaving more water and nutrients for itself.

Tomatoes, potatoes, apples, pears, berries, and some landscape plants such as rhododendrons, azaleas, and lilacs may be killed or stunted if grown in close proximity to black walnut roots or within the tree’s drip line (i.e., under the tree’s canopy). Plan your landscaping accordingly!

A Great Shade Tree

In spite of this, black walnuts make great shade trees for larger properties. They commonly grow to 50 feet or taller and about as wide, but specimens of more than 100 feet have been recorded.

Black walnut’s large, fernlike foliage provides light, airy shade for those grasses and ground covers not affected by juglone. In autumn, the leaves turn bright yellow, contrasting nicely with the tree’s rugged, dark bark.

Black walnuts require a deep, fertile soil with a near-neutral or slightly acidic pH. They are pretty much disease-free and are threatened by few pests.

Picking Up the Nuts

Thud! Thud! Most walnut tree owners have a love/hate relationship because of the fruit which the tree drops in late summer though October. The size of a baseball and colored lime green, the fruit is quite heavy. It makes quite a mess and can be viewed as a nuisance.

Walnut tree owners will spend hours picking up the fruit some years. If you don’t remove the nuts, you’ll trip over them in the dark for the rest of the year (while they rot and mold on your lawn). Hire the kid down the street to pick up those the dropped walnuts (just be careful not to pay per nut—you’ll go broke)!

Photo Credit: John A. Anderson

Harvesting and Eating Black Walnuts

If you’re willing to do the work of cracking the outer shell, the “meat” inside is edible, as the squirrels will attest squirrels have little problem chewing through the shells. (Note: Black Walnuts are different than the English Walnuts more commonly sold in stores and shown in the photo above.)

The sweet, earthy nutmeat inside is well worth the effort. Your grandparents may have harvested the walnuts which can be eaten raw or added to baking (cookies and bars). They can also be toppings on ice cream and cakes, enjoyed as a sweetened candy nut, or ground into meal for a unique flour.

To harvest, collect the nuts as soon as possible to avoid mold and remove the husks immediately. Wear gloves as the husks stain your hands (and anything they touch). If the nut is too hard, wait a few days and it will brown and soften up.) To remove the husk, you can simply step on them gently with an old pair of shoes. Hose down the nuts in a large bucket to remove any remaining husk.

Dry the walnuts for a couple of weeks on a screen or drying rack or in a hanging mesh bag. You can store them unshelled up to a year. Crack the shell with a hammer to get to the nut meat. (Strike at a 90-degree angle to the seam until the nut cracks). Use pliers to easily clip away the shell to release the nutmeat. Allow the freshly removed nutmeat to dry for a day before storing.

Do you have a black walnut tree? Please share your comments, questions, and advice!

How to Kill Termites

Don’t know how to kill termites effectively? If so, you should read this post to the end to discover 15 most effective ways to get rid of termites naturally and fast.

Out of the umpteen insects, critters, rodents and other pests, termites seem to be the most dangerous ones. They are one such pest that can ruin your house’s foundation in just a few years.

The worst part is that they are not even noticeable in the first few years. This means that they don’t come with a warning.

It can be too late once you realize that your house has been infested by termites.

Your home is precious and in no way you can take a chance to re-invest because of the mere pest.

It becomes crucial that you take steps and precautions to protect your home from termites.

Before we directly dive into the ways to control termites, we should have some knowledge about them.

Hint: Want to quickly get rid of termites? Then you definitely need to use the best termite killer products.

Baiting System

Watch the video: Απίστευτα πράγματα με τον κολλητό του ΤΣΙΟΔΡΑ! Θέλει να τσιμπήσει τα παιδιά u0026 κάνει πειράματα στα (December 2022).