From the monthly archives: "May 2003"

I have heard of these vinegar runes that when they bite you everything tastes like vinegar for a month do they exist?

Vinegaroons, or whip scorpions, are venomless arachnids that release an acetic acid substance when molested. This is the same type of acid as vinegar, hence the name. They do not bite, so please quit spreading this silly vicious rumor about a harmless, though somewhat frightening looking relative of spiders and scorpions.


Mr. Marlos,
I’ve got another one for you!
I had been sitting diligently at my computer, waiting for the last few seconds of an ebay auction in order to snipe the competition, when I caught this creature making his way into a closet. The room was dark, and against my beige carpet, I actually thought it was a silverfish (it’s legs and tail blended in). Had I known, I wouldn’t’ve stepped on it, wearing only socks!
When the little bastard zipped across the carpet, I knew it was time for the bug glass. This is the sixth scorpion I’ve caught in 3 summers, and the smallest, so far. I’d say the dark part of the body is about 3/4 of an inch long.
Do you have any idea how much of a zinger these things wield? Sooner or later one of them is going to get me!
—Chris

Hey Chris,
Directly from the pages of Hogue:
"None of our indigenous scorpions is considered dangerous, although any may inflict a wound that is temporarily painful. However, there is a potentially lethal species (Dentruroides exilicauda) in southern Arizona and portions of the neighboring states. In Arizona, during a twenty year period, C. exilicauda has been responsible for the majority of the deaths due to venomous creatures, many more than rattlesnakes and all other types put together. The species has turned up in recent years in parts of Orange County, it has been particularly common in Irvine, where it poses a health hazard.
The stings of our scorpions usually cause only a local reaction similar to that of a bee sting, consisting of pain and a burning sensation, with swelling that lasts from a few minutes to over an hour. First-aid treatment involves immersing the affected area in ice water or applying an ice pack. If symptoms persist, a physician should be consulted."
p. 358

I live in the midwest and recently relandscaped a good portion of my lawn and had bluegrass sod laid. ok so it was a very warm dry winter then 2 days after sod was laid the spring rains started and just keep coming. Problem is 2 monthes later the rains still come 1 or 2 times a week. there are lots of mushrooms growing in the new sod but that dosen’t bother me i know it will dry up soon. the problem is the sodded area seems to be infested with small dark colored flying bugs larger than gnats but smaller than the average house fly.the sod is still deep green but im worried that this could be a damaging infestation! what kind of insecticide should be used ? can you tell me what kind of bug this could be? thanks in advance!
Robert Bouchard

Dear Robert,
Many nonbiting gnats including Root Gnats (Family Sciaridae) and March Flies (Family Bibionidae) spend their maggot form eating decaying plant material such as compost, peat and spaghnum. They are scavengers who often live among the roots of grasses. There was probably a substrate of manure and compost laid beneath your sod, and that is where the flies are breeding. They will not damage your lawn as they do not feed on the living grass.

I live in the midwest and recently relandscaped a good portion of my lawn and had bluegrass sod laid. ok so it was a very warm dry winter then 2 days after sod was laid the spring rains started and just keep coming. Problem is 2 monthes later the rains still come 1 or 2 times a week. there are lots of mushrooms growing in the new sod but that dosen’t bother me i know it will dry up soon. the problem is the sodded area seems to be infested with small dark colored flying bugs larger than gnats but smaller than the average house fly.the sod is still deep green but im worried that this could be a damaging infestation! what kind of insecticide should be used ? can you tell me what kind of bug this could be? thanks in advance!
Robert Bouchard

Dear Robert,
Many nonbiting gnats including Root Gnats (Family Sciaridae) and March Flies (Family Bibionidae) spend their maggot form eating decaying plant material such as compost, peat and spaghnum. They are scavengers who often live among the roots of grasses. There was probably a substrate of manure and compost laid beneath your sod, and that is where the flies are breeding. They will not damage your lawn as they do not feed on the living grass.

I recently went out onto our concrete porch early this morning to find dozens and dozens of bugs that look sort of like ants but they have wings. Also, two or three of them seem to attach to each other to make a little "train." I sprayed a bunch of them with Orange Cleaner and it seemed to kill some of them. We had a new bag of cat litter sitting on the porch that we haven’t brought inside yet, and it seems that the bag is infested with these bugs now. I live in North Carolina, please help me!!!

Dear Infested,
You probably have an ant swarm, which is the winged nuptial flight of the future kings and queens. Not all ants in a nest are reproductive.Most are infertile female workers and soldiers. The new kings and queens take flight, often after a rain, and mate in the air which explains the "train" you witnessed. Then they return to earth, dig a hole (your cat litter was a soft spot that appealed to them) and the new pair set up housekeeping, forming a new colony.

Hello,
Last summer bore beetles wiped out half the pines in my yard. (1 acre.).Since the Florida drought is over and steady rains are back, and the pines are not as stressed as last year, will my remaining loblolly pines fight off the bore beetles naturally or do I have to spray with something. And if I spray is it true the beetles are only on the trunk of the tree. Last but not least, what do I spray with? Thanks from Central Florida, Roger

Like many living forms, insects reach a peak population, do major damage, and then suddenly die back to a small population which takes seasons to grow large again. The stress on the trees due to the drought combined with the population explosion of the beetles contributed to the tree loss. That population was increasing, doing hidden damage for years. The best control is to rid the area of tainted wood from the dead trees which is harboring the pest. Check with local exterminators regarding a pesticide control.