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Nuisance bugs pester Wichita homeowners

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Monday, Nov. 4, 2013, at 6:33 p.m.

A couple of nuisance bugs have been invading some houses in the Wichita area, extension agent Bob Neier says.

The Extension Service has been fielding lots of calls about millipedes and hackberry nipplegall psyllids, Neier said. Neither one does any damage, per se – one woman who was painting a room in her house did say the tiny psyllids were getting stuck in the paint – but they can be a pain.

Millipedes are worm-like creatures that are about 1 1/2 inches long – crunchy if you step on them and stinky if you touch them, Neier said. The moist weather has brought them on this year, he said.

Millipedes hang out in leaf litter and other organic matter in the yard and then try to come inside when the weather gets cold. “If you’ve ever lived with them you know how bad it can be,” Neier said. “…You usually have hundreds a day when they come in.”

Once inside the house, they die in a couple of days, he said. In the meantime, the best way to get rid of them is to vacuum them up and throw out the litter. And, to keep any more of them from coming in, spray Sevin or a synthetic pyrethroid 5 to 10 feet out from the foundation of the house as well as up and down the foundation, on the steps going up to the house, and around the doorway, Neier said.

The psyllids are gnat-like insects that can come into a house that is near a hackberry tree. They are small enough to come through window screens. “They are out on warm, sunny days,” Neier said – whenever it’s nice enough to have the windows open.

You can’t spray for the psyllids, and they’re not worth cutting down a tree over, Neier said. He advised the woman who was painting to wait a couple of weeks before returning to the job. That’s when both nuisance pests should be gone.

Reach Annie Calovich at 316-268-6596 or acalovich@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @anniecalovich.

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