Bug Blog

This page will be dedicated to identifying insects that come to the Lincoln County UW-Extension Office.  Additional University bulletins may be posted if available describing control methods.


Japanese Beetle

(Popillia japonica)

Japanese Beetle 001

The insect to the right is a Japanese beetle and they are a big pest to both lawn and ornamental plants. The one on the right was found in Merrill, WI.  The larva affect turf while the adults feed on over 300 species of plants. You will start to see adults emerging in early July. Once the beetles find a place they begin to defoliate a plant from the top down. They prefer to eat in full sun which is why they start at the top of a plant. As they eat the plant they let off a chemical which draws in more beetles. The female beetles omit another chemical to attract males in order to procreate. For control you can use an insecticide but you must make sure you are targeting both stages of the life cycle otherwise they will keep coming back. Besides insecticide use you can physically remove them from the plant by using traps or even knocking them off into a bucket of soap and water.

For more information you can visit the link below.

Japanese Beetle Info

     Deer Ticks 

      ( Ixodes scapularis )

Deer Tick        To the right is a picture of a deer tick.  Notice it’s size compared to a penny. They are generally very small and hard to spot if they are attached. It is important that if you have been outside near wooded or grassy areas that you check yourself for ticks every couple of hours.

If a tick is found and it is attached, make sure when removing it that you remove all of it. If you begin to notice a rash around the tick site then it is important to go into the doctor and get yourself checked out for Lyme’s and other diseases that ticks may carry. It is only the female deer tick that is a carrier of Lyme’s disease, but it is important to still get checked out if you start to become ill after finding an attached tick.

For more information on deer ticks and ticks  you can click the link below:

Ticks and Deer Tick Control


Tiger Beetle

(Cicindela sexguttata)

Tiger Beetle (Six Spotted)             The beetle can be found in deciduous forests and open areas near by. They like sunny trails, logs, and stones. Sometimes they can be found in yards and gardens. They are carnivores meaning they eat other insects such as ants, spiders, and grubs. Even when they are larva they eat other insects. They are more helpful then a hinderance. You can usually spot this beetle in may and june but if you plan on catching them they are really fast. To the right is a picture of a six spotted tiger beetle that was found in the area. Notice it’s size compared to the penny. If you plan on catching them you have to be fast on your toes because these little critters have good vision and are one of the fastest insects in the world.




White Spotted Sawyer Beetle

                   White spotted sawyer beetleThis beetle can be found on eastern white pine, but can be found on other conifers including red and jack pine, balsam fir, larch, white, black and red spruces. The adults can be seen between late May and August. They feed on needles and tender bark. The most damage they can inflict is when the beetle carries the pinewood nematode from dying trees (where most white spotted sawyer beetles can be found) into living trees.  The nematode can cause pine wilt disease which its symptoms are very similar to drought so it is hard to tell if a tree is infected with them. The tree is usually killed after the nematode is introduced. Most of the time controlling the beetle chemically is not necessary unless it has been shown to be carrying the nematodes. It is easier to control the beetles then it is the nematodes. If you noticed the White Spotted Sawyer Beetle watch any of the pine trees around to make sure they are not being affected by the nematodes. On the right hand side is a picture of one of the beetles that was brought into the office

For more information you can click the link below:

White Spotted Sawyer Beetle


Springtail (UW-EXTENSION BULLENTIN)          These little critters are 1 to 3 mm longs and do not have wings. They hop or jump with the use of a forked structure on  the other side of the abdomen.  They live in rich soils, leaf litter, decaying wood and they feed on organic matter, fungi, or algae. They are harmless and are mostly just a nuisance. They can build up in large numbers if the soil where they are living is disturbed. They can be found near house foundations, sidewalks, floor drains,damp basements and crawl spaces.  High numbers of them usually disappear on their own. They do not like dry conditions so if they are a problem then make sure the area where they are found is dried out. It’s a good idea to seal up cracks around the window because they can get in through there. Remove things outside the home such as built up brush piles, bark mulch or any other mulches that are not being used. To get rid of them from inside the house you can vacuum them up and making sure to check for cracks and leaks.  For temporary relief there are insecticidal soaps you can use in your home to kill them off. The best bet is to be patient because eventually they do go away. To the right is a picture of one type of Springtail courtesy of UW Extension Garden Facts. Because they are so small it is hard to get a decent picture of the one that were brought in, but to the right there is the example of what a springtail might look like.

For more information:


Cottony Maple Scale

(Pulvinaria innumerabilis)

If you start to notice popcorn sized cottony masses that produce a sticky liquid similar to tree sap you may have Cottony Maple Scale. It prefers silver maple, but it also attacks other maples and numerous other trees and shrubs. Those that can be affect include apple, basswood, beech, black locust, boxelder, dogwood, elm, hackberry, hawthorn, honeylocust, lilac, oak, poplar, rose, sumac, white ask, willow and others. Cottony Maple Scale is usually a cyclical problem            ( meaning it will happen in cycles). The first signs of cottony maple scale are the cottony masses they produce in mid-June on twigs and small branches. A few scattered scales will not affect the health of the tree. However, this insect harms the tree when it becomes so numerous that there is evidence of scales on most major branches or when the tree drops it’s leaves in July. If you detect light infestations of mature females and egg masses before the eggs hatch, prune them out of the tree and destroy them. This will keep the populations from increasing. However, this is not feasible on large trees or when infestations are excessive. They are very hard to control chemically in early spring, especially if they begin to produce  considerable amounts of honeydew. The honeydew may cause sooty mold to grow so it is important to wash off sidewalks and areas lying under the tree so the mold does not begin to grow. If infestations have been extremely high for two or more consecutive years and forcing early leaf drop, chemical control may be necessary. Insecticide is most effective during the growing season during late June or early July. Be sure to read the labels thoroughly and are applying it like the label says to. (Picture to the right comes from wikipedia.com)

For more information click the link below

Cottony Maple Scale





The insect pictured above may look like something from a Sci-Fi film but they are actually quite common and quite harmless.They are called dobsonflies and once they reach adulthood only live fore seven days. They are generally nocturnal creatures, which is why you probably haven’t seen hordes of them around your house. Also they like to stick close to the rivers and streams where they were born. Like most night time creatures they are attracted to lights which may be why you would see them on the side of your house. It is only female dobsonflies that bight, and that is only when they are agitated. The one pictured above is a male Dobsonfly that was brought into the office. They are not a problem at all and generally you are only going to see one or two, so no control is necessary.