Extension & Outreach

fire ant

Dealing with pests in your home 

The first step in helping you solve your pest problem in your home is to first get an accurate identification of  the insect involved.  Intact and well-preserved specimens will provide us the best chance for accurate identification. Also, we ask that you kill any insects prior to mailing them to us.  For larger insects, you can place them in a sealed container (ie. a used pill bottle), and stick them in a freezer overnight to kill them.  For smaller and soft bodied insects, you can also stick them in rubbing alcohol or white vinegar in a sealed container.  Do not place insects in water, as this will not preserve specimens. 

bed bug

In addition to insects samples, we also encourage sending us photos of specimens in advance. We can often times get enough detail from an image (even from a cell phone camera) to make an identification.  When sending photos, please use a ruler or reference item, so we can determine the size of the organism. 

What you can do:

beeThe LSU AgCenter maintains a list of experienced professionals in the area that specialize in bee and/or wasp removal. Unfortunately, the LSU Department of Entomology does not do swarm capture at this time.

milkweed beetle

Fun and educational insect activities in Louisiana

While Louisiana in itself has a lot of fascinating insect diversity and habitats, there are also local places in the area you can learn more about insects.  Here are a few recommendations:

edesalbo

The LSU department of entomology will continue to provide timely updates on Zika virus in the United States. Click the links below for more information on Zika virus, and mosquito-borne viruses in Louisiana

bug on flower

Dr. Christina Mogren, Postdoctoral Researcher within the LSU Department of Entomology, recently developed the Urban Pollinator Conservation Series of fact sheets and information on ways to protect pollinators in urban areas.  She is also assisting researchers at the Burden Research Station in establishing a pollinator garden for the public.

alligator weed flea beetle

The LSU Department of Entomology conducts research on various insect pests, including those that are pests of plants, animals, and humans.  

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psychedelic bugs

Claudia Husseneder, LSU Department of Entomology, is an amateur photographer, and entomologist.  In the Bug Shots pages, she has put together fun and informative fact on common insects in Louisiana.

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The LSU department of entomology has numerous resources to assist K-12 schools with lesson plans, guest lectures, and other materials. Our graduate students (as well as faculty and staff) frequently visit elementary and middle schools throughout the year to provide presentations on insects. This includes our traveling insect zoo, live honey bee displays, live cockroaches, mosquitoes, scope on a rope, insects as sources of food, and other material. Our annual AgMagic display features around the concept of touching, smelling, hearing, tasting, and seeing insects up close. We also frequently have schools and small groups visit our insect museum to see various displays of preserved insects up close.

air potato beetle

While we often emphasize the importance of insects as pests and transmission of disease causing pathogens, numerous insects are also considered beneficial.  Beneficial insects are  those that benefit the environment by providing a service (through pollination services or pest control).  These beneficial insects are often used to help control weeds and insects that are considered pests.

Some examples of beneficial insects can be found here.

 

 

If you are having trouble locating specific information, there are a few things you can try.

Contact us directly

Insect Specific Information

fire ant

Ants are a common pest in both urban and agricultural areas.  Many of the biggest concerns regarding ants in Louisiana are the fire ant, the tawny crazy ant, and pest ants in homes.  Click on the links below for more information on various ants.

assassin bug

While most people often confuse assassin bugs and kissing bugs, the assassin bug is actually a beneficial insect that is a predator of other insect pests. You can find more information on assassin bugs by clicking the links below

bed bug

The thought of bed bugs can easily cause much stress and concern.  Bed bugs are excellent at hiding in cracks and crevices, and coming out at night for a blood meal when people are sleeping. For more information on these pests, click the links below.

bee

Bees are important insects that benefit the environment through pollination. While most bees are beneficial to the environment, some can be considered pests.  Click the links below to learn more. (Note that specific information on honey bees is included in its own separate tab below).

air potato leaf beetle

There are several beetles that are used as biological control agents.  Click the links below to learn more about these interesting beneficial insects.

aphid

There are many important insects that are beneficial in the environment.  In particular, many of these insects are commonly used as biological control agents, since they target very specific pests.  Click the links below to find out more.

cicada

Cicadas are an incredibly noisy group of insects.  They are the loudest group of insects, with some species reaching over 120 decibels.  For more information on this group of insects, click the links below.

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cricket

Crickets and grasshoppers are common summer insects that are recognized by their unique singing behavior.  While some of these can become large pests of some crops, most of these are harmless when encountered in your home or yard.

dragonfly

Dragonflies and damselflies are beautiful and graceful insects that are incredibly agile fliers.  Many of these colorful species are beneficial, because they eat pest insects as both nymphs and adults.  Click the links below for more information.

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forensic entomology class

Forensic entomology is the use of insects to help solve crimes.  Several important insect groups include maggots, adult flies, and beetles.  LSU Entomology offers courses in Forensic Entomology.  To learn more about the use of insects to solve crimes, click the links below.

strawberry

Researchers at the LSU Department of Entomology can help answer questions regarding insect pests of fruit.  Below are a few publications of interest.

 

giant salvinia

Giant salvinia is an invasive plant to local ponds.  The plant develop so rapidly, it quickly spreads across an entire aquatic area.  Researchers in the LSU department of entomology, are studying the Giant Salvinia weevil as a means of helping to control the spread of this invasive plant species.  Click the links below for more information

 

beekeeper

Honey bees are important pollinators to plants, and produce honey and wax.  Honeybees are such important pollinators that 1 in every 3 bites of food we eat rely on bees for pollination.  Click the links below for more information on keeping bees.

horse fly

Horse fly and deer fly adults obtain blood by cutting into the skin and licking up the pooling blood.  This unique feeding behavior, along with high numbers around animals, they can become quite a large pest.  For more information, click the links below.

 

kissing bug

Kissing bugs get their name from the behavior to bite close to the mouth while people are sleeping.  The biggest concern with kissing bugs is their potential to transmit Chagas disease.  While we have the vector insects, Chagas disease is much more common in central and south America, due to the behavior of these insects, along with improved housing and infrastructure.  You can learn more by clicking the links below.

 

lice

Thanks to proper hygiene, body lice (and epidemic typhus) are far much less of a concern than they were 100 years ago. However, head lice are still important today, and can cause pain and grief in those dealing with controlling them. Click the links below for more information.

cattle

Livestock are an important commodity in Louisiana, and also require their own methods of pest management.  Click the links below to learn more about IPM for livestock animals.

love bug

Love bugs get their name from their common behavior of prolonged mating flights.  These mating love bugs can commonly be collected throughout the warm seasonal months.  For more information, click the links below.

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woman at microscope

Mites can be challenging to identify, due to their small size.  The two most important pest mites to humans includes the scabies mite, and the chigger.  Identification of mites is best accomplished through a specialized dermatologist.  For more information on mites, please click the links below.

mosquito

Mosquitoes are important nuisance pests and vectors of disease-causing pathogens in Louisiana.  In Louisiana, we have over 60 recognized species of mosquitoes, each with different host preferences, larval habitats, and importance.  Our greatest concerns annually include the risk for West Nile virus, along with threats from large levels of nuisance mosquitoes. Click the links below for more information.

corn

In addition to the annual Louisiana Pest Management Guide, the LSU Department of Entomology and AgCenter produce numerous IPM and Best Management Practice guidelines. Click the links below for more information.

bee

Pollinators include more than just bees and wasps.  Many other groups of insects can serve as important pollinators, including flies, butterflies, and beetles.  For more information on pollinators and pollinator protection and conservation, click the links below.

 

fire ant

Potatoes, in particular sweet potatoes, are an important commodity in Louisiana. Click through the documents below for more information on IPM for sweet potatoes.

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rice borer

Rice is an important crop in Louisiana and requires important pest management strategies for controlling insect pests.  Click through the links below for more information.

robber fly

Robber flies are an interesting group of flies that are predators of other insects. They are strong and agile flyers, that are capable of capturing insects in flight.  They can be quite beneficial by killing and eating several biting flies and insects. Click the links below for more information.

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stink bug

There are numerous insect pests that affect soybeans.  Click through the links below to find out more about insect pests on soybeans and ways to control them.

spider

While many people are afraid of spiders, very few can cause any serious harm. Most spiders can be beneficial and kill off other pests in your home.  The two spiders to be concerned about include the brown recluse spider, and the black widow spider.  Click the links below for more information.

termites

Termites are an important group of insects, as they can cause destruction to homes, structures, and personal property. Click through the links below to find out more about different kinds of termites, their biology, and ways to control them.

tick

While ticks are not insects, many entomologists study ticks due to their importance in medical and veterinary entomology.  Ticks are important throughout the United States, and can transmit disease-causing pathogens, such as those that cause Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Fortunately, these pathogens are much less common in Louisiana compared to other parts of the United States.  Click the links below for more information.