Helping You Make Decisions About Managing Pests

Helping You Make Decisions About Managing Pests

by Dr. Jody M. Green, Extension Educator

As an extension educator, my job is to help educate others. I provide resources to help homeowners, communities, businesses, and organizations to help them make good decisions about their pest problems. My specialties include identifying and providing education about the following arthropod pests:
  • Bed bugs (identification, inspection, monitoring, prevention, management)
  • Pantry pests (IMM, flour beetles, grain beetles, dermestid beetles)
  • Kitchen pests (ants, flies, cockroaches)
  • Moisture-related pests (springtails, psocids, Oriental cockroaches)
  • Nuisance pests (fruit flies, fungus gnats)
  • Fall invaders (lady bugs, boxelder bugs, cluster flies, western conifer seed bugs)
  • Stinging insects (bees, wasps)
  • Biting pests (bed bugs, fleas, head lice, chiggers, biting flies, minute pirate bug)
  • Wood destroying pests (termites, carpenter ants, wood boring beetles)
  • Health-related pests (mosquitoes, ticks)
  • Fabric pests (clothes moth, silverfish, carpet beetle)
  • Landscape pests (bagworm, Japanese beetle, cicada killer wasps, grasshoppers)
  • Occasional invaders (spiders, earwigs, millipedes, centipedes, ground beetles)
  • Invasive pests (emerald ash borer, brown marmorated stink bug)
Specific Questions

Honey bees: If you have questions about honey bees, please contact University of Nebraska-Lincoln bee specialist Dr. Judy Wu-Smart (j2u-smart@unl.edu or phone: 402-472-8696). If you have a honey bee swarm, please contact a local beekeeper to come and retrieve them. A list of local beekeepers is available at https://entomology.unl.edu/specialists#Cat1b

Children’s programs: If you are a childcare provider or elementary school and interested in an insect program, please contact University of Nebraska-Lincoln Department of Entomology, Science Literacy and Outreach division. Web site: https://entomology.unl.edu/scilit/insect-outreach-kits

Insect identification: It is estimated that there are over 1 million insects in the world, 1,000 species of ants in the United States, and it is surely possible to reside with 100 different species in and around our homes at a given time. It is important to know that not all arthropods are pests. No good will come of panicking. The first step in solving an insect or arthropod-related issue is to have the organism identified.


Updated August 30, 2019:

We want to wish Dr. Jody Green the best of luck in her new position. We currently do not have an urban entomologist in the Lancaster County Extension office. If you need to have a pest identified, please contact your local extension office (outside of Lancaster County) or the Plant and Pest Diagnostic Clinic in Lincoln, Nebraska. 

Plants: Come in to visit or call the office 402-441-7180 and speak to the Master Gardeners who are trained to handle your questions about the yard, garden and landscape. They are in the office during the summer months from 9-noon each day. If you live outside of Lancaster County, Nebraska, contact your local extension office. Find your local office here.

Biting Pests: If you have been bitten AND have captured the specimen that bit you, please keep and have it identified. If you do not have a sample and did not witness the bite, I cannot identify what bit you. Because every individual has their own unique immune system, it is impossible to diagnose the cause of the skin reaction by looking at lesions or bites alone. Neither I, nor a medical doctor, can say for certain that a skin reaction was caused by a particular insect. If you are suffering from a skin reaction, it is recommended you see your physician, dermatologist or someone in the medical profession that can help you treat your symptoms.

Without positively identifying a pest, I will not recommend insecticide treatment as a solution. For most insect issues, I will typically recommend sanitation, habitat modification, and pest exclusion techniques as part as an integrated approach because I care about long-term solutions for you and your family. Sometimes insecticides are a useful tool that can be used as part of the treatment. Always read and follow the pesticide label to protect non-targets from the negative effects of pesticide exposure.

Bed Bugs: If you think you have bed bugs, do not panic. Perform a visual inspection around the bed, submit a sample to the Plant and Pest Diagnostic Clinic.

Recommending a Pest Control Company: Many people call and ask if I can recommend a pest control company. As Nebraska Extension, we cannot compete with local business nor do we offer recommendations. My advice to homeowners about choosing a pest management company includes: call more than one company, ask intelligent questions, call the Better Business Bureau, and inquire about their treatment and what the contract entails (inspection, chemical and non-chemical treatments, guarantees, specific products).

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