August - September 2004 issue:
(download in pdf format)
Asian lady beetles and boxelder bugs
Ten reasons to eat carbohydrates
Fencing for appearance
Dealing with herbicide drift
This fall, give tough weeds the ol’
Insects in firewood
lady beetles and boxelder bugs
Asian lady beetles and boxelder bugs are accidental
invaders. They do
not feed or reproduce indoors. They cannot attack a
furniture, or fabrics; sting; or carry disease. They
do not feed on people,
although Asian lady beetles infrequently pinch exposed
skin. Asian lady
beetles may leave a slimy smear and they have a distinct
Boxelder bugs live, feed, and reproduce on trees,
shrubs, and other
plants. They are sap-feeding insects with a beak that
can only suck liquid
food (sap) from the twigs and seeds of selected species
of trees and
The best way to deter Asian lady beetles and boxelder
bugs is to prevent
their entry by caulking and sealing cracks and gaps.
also may limit the number of bugs that get into the
house. A lawn and
garden insecticide such as Sevin® or Dursban®
or soapy water
(5 tablespoons liquid detergent per gallon water) can
be used outside on
masses of boxelder bugs perched on and along the foundation
in the fall.
For large infestations of Asian lady beetles, spraying
insecticides such as permethrin to the outside of buildings
beetles appear may help prevent pest entry.
Unfortunately, there is no easy cure for eliminating
Asian lady beetles or
boxelder bugs already inside the house. A sure control
for bugs already in
the house is to remove them as they appear by vacuuming
More information and pictures can be found at
This article references information found in the Iowa
Information Notes by Donald Lewis, ISU Extension
reasons to eat carbohydrates
By Paulelda Gilbert, ISU Extension Nutrition
& Health Specialist
protein, low carbohydrate diets are the rage. However,
carbohydrates are an important part of our diet. There
are many benefits to nutritionally balanced eating.
Excluding any one of the basic nutrients can have a
negative impact on health.
Here are 10 reasons why carbohydrates are necessary
in the diet.
1. Energy: The Dietary Reference Intakes recommend
130gm of carbohydrates daily to provide adequate energy
which rely solely on glucose (carbohydrates) for energy.
2. Brain power: The preferred fuel for the brain is
glucose, which comes from carbohydrates.
3. Muscle power: To support the energy demands of
high-intensity exercise, muscles prefer glucose (carbohydrates).
Carbohydrates can produce energy three times faster
than fat for the working muscle.
4. Weight control: Weight loss is achieved by eating
fewer calories or increasing physical activity. Carbohydrate
foods are not higher in calories. Long-term weight control
is difficult on a low carbohydrate diet because of the
decreased food variety in the diet. The calories in
a gram of protein are equal to the calories in a gram
of carbohydrate food.
5. Dehydration and constipation: Much of the weight
lost initially on the low carbohydrate diet is a result
of water loss, not fat loss. For every gram or ounce
of carbohydrate stored by the body, 3 grams or ounces
of water are stored with it. As the body uses the stored
carbohydrate, water is lost and accounts for much of
the initial weight loss. In addition, high protein diets
are low in fiber. Dehydration plus low fiber intake
6. Heart disease: A low carbohydrate, low-fiber diet
that is high in animal protein, cholesterol and saturated
fat increases risk of heart disease.
7. Cancer: Fruit and vegetable consumption has been
shown to decrease the incidence of certain types of
cancer. Fruits and vegetables contain a number of antioxidants
and phytochemicals, which appear to inhibit or interfere
with the development of cancerous cells.
8. Blood pressure: A low carbohydrate diet, which
restricts fruit and vegetable intake, can lead to high
blood pressure. Fruits and vegetables contain minerals
such as potassium, calcium, and magnesium, which appear
to exert a protective effect against high blood pressure.
9. Calcium counts: Milk contains carbohydrates, but
it also contains calcium. High protein intakes over
time, especially from animal sources, can increase the
loss of calcium in the urine. This loss of calcium can
increase the risk of kidney stones and contribute to
10. Tastes good! Carbohydrates, including cereal,
bread, pastas, rice, fruits and vegetables add variety
For more nutrition information, contact your local
Extension office or call ISU Extension’s Answer
Line toll free at (800) 262-3804.
By Shawn Shouse, ISU Extension Ag Engineering Specialist
serve many purposes on the landscape. They may be built
to contain or exclude animals, to mark property boundaries,
to provide privacy, or to add beauty to the property.
When the primary purpose is appearance, board or rail
fences often are chosen.
For small enclosures such as yards, picket fences
or vertical board fences provide privacy and wind protection.
For larger enclosures such as pastures or entire properties,
horizontal board or rail fences are more practical and
The common horizontal wooden fence uses three or four
boards (1” x 6” lumber) nailed or screwed
to wooden posts every 8 to 10 feet. This fence adds
striking contrast and definition, especially when painted
white. The boards may be parallel horizontal or arranged
in decorative “crossbuck” patterns.
Rail fences consist of heavy horizontal rails that
generally have their ends chiseled down and inserted
into holes in the posts. The rails may be round or rectangular
in section, with smooth or rough split surfaces.
Livestock pressure and cribbing (biting) of the wood
can be reduced by placing one or more electric wires
on the inside of board or rail fences.
Wood fences can be painted, stained, or left to weather
to a natural wood color. Woods with natural decay resistance
such as cedar, redwood, and hedge (Osage orange) may
be used without treatment. Other woods must be painted
or treated with preservatives. Posts must be naturally
decay resistant or pressure treated with preservatives
and rated for permanent ground contact (preservative
retention of 0.4 to 0.6 pounds per cubic foot of wood).
An alternative to painted wood is vinyl fencing. Rails
and posts of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic require
no painting, but may require occasional washing to remove
mildew and dirt. They are highly resistant to decay,
but don’t have the strength or stiffness of wood.
Flexible vinyl fencing uses high-tensile wires encased
in a flexible PVC jacket that looks like a thin board.
The resulting fence looks like a board fence at a lower
White board fences look great when they are new and
straight, but show the slightest imperfections. Be prepared
to straighten leaning posts or replace warped rails.
Painted fences will require frequent touch-up.
Wood and plastic fences may cost $4 to $10 per running
foot. Wire fences can be built for less than $1 per
foot. For some situations, a compromise may be a wire
fence with a single rail at the top or flexible vinyl
fence at $3 to $5 per foot.
Additional information on fencing can be found in
Costs for Livestock Fencing, Iowa State University
Fencing, University of Maryland
for Horses, University of Georgia Extension
with herbicide drift
By Bob Hartzler, ISU Extension Weed Specialist
Herbicides are widely used by homeowners
to manage landscape weeds. When used properly, these
chemicals provide safe, efficient weed control. But
herbicide applications can be made under conditions
that favor off-target movement.
Drift problems usually are first noticed
when affected plants display injury symptoms. Growth
regulator herbicides such as 2,4-D and dicamba are responsible
for most off-target injury reports. However, it is important
manage drift for all herbicides, not just those that
may injure plants on adjacent properties.
Most cases of drift involve relatively
low concentrations of herbicides that will not threaten
the long-term health of trees and other landscape plants.
This assumes that the plants were healthy at the time
of drift and that other environmental stresses are minimized.
A more difficult issue involves what to do when drift
contacts garden plants.
The Environmental Protection Agency is
responsible for regulating pesticide residues in the
food system. Before any pesticides can be registered
for use on a crop, tolerance levels are established
that specify safe residue levels.
Herbicide drift usually involves products
not registered for use on garden crops, so there are
no tolerance levels established to determine whether
the produce is safe for consumption. Factors to consider
include the amount of herbicide contacting the plants,
the time elapsed between drift
exposure and harvest, and the personal biases of the
Most cases of drift involve a very small
amount of pesticide; therefore, the risks associated
with the drift are relatively low. However, it is difficult
to determine the amount of pesticide that has contacted
garden plants. If symptoms on tomatoes and other sensitive
plants are limited to minor distortion of leaves, it
is likely that only a small amount of herbicide contacted
If sensitive plants are severely injured
by the herbicide, it probably would be wise not to harvest
produce from any plants in the garden, even those plants
not displaying significant injury symptoms. In the majority
of cases, the amount of herbicide contacting plants
on adjacent property is relatively low and should not
pose a long-term threat to plant health.
fall, give tough weeds the ol’ one-two punch
By Mary Ann deVries, Polk County Extension Horticulturalist
Like a bear coming out of hibernation, weeds emerge
in the spring well rested and ready to grow. Eradicating
tough weeds like Creeping Charlie (also called ground
ivy), poison ivy, or bind weed is hard to do early in
the season. You can fight them back in the spring and
summer, but if you’re really looking for a knockout
punch, fall is the time to go after weeds.
In the fall, weeds are settling down for the winter,
moving their reserves from the foliage to the roots.
Herbicides applied to leaves in the fall are carried
into the root zone where they can be truly effective.
Mid-September through early November is generally
the best time to control tough weeds. Two applications
of an appropriate herbicide are usually necessary. The
second application should be 10 to 14 days after the
The most effective product for controlling Creeping
Charlie in lawns is dicamba, a selective herbicide that
will kill a broadleaf weed without damaging surrounding
grass. Trimec® and Weed-B-Gon® Lawn Weed
Killer 2 are two widely sold products that contain dicamba.
For poison ivy and bind weed, you can use a nonselective
herbicide (i.e. will kill whatever it touches) such
as Roundup®. This can be sprayed carefully or “wicked”
on with a foam paint brush to target unwanted plants.
Again, two applications two weeks apart are recommended.
As always, when using any pesticide, read and follow
label directions carefully.
By Laura Jesse, Extension Associate, ISU Entomology
Each fall as we cut firewood and bring
it into our homes, we also may bring in some unexpected
hitchhikers. Luckily, most insects living in firewood
pose no danger to humans, our homes, or our furniture.
Insects in firewood either feed directly on the wood,
nest in the wood, or overwinter
under the bark.
The best way to prevent insects from
emerging from firewood into your house is to leave the
firewood outside until it is to be burned, bringing,
at most, a few days’ supply into the house at
one time. Insects in firewood stored outdoors generally
require several days to warm up in your home before
they become active.
Spraying firewood with insecticide is
of very little benefit and potentially dangerous. Therefore,
we strongly advise against treating firewood. Insecticides
will not penetrate deeply enough into firewood to control
the insects. In addition, storing and burning insecticide-treated
firewood indoors could be a health hazard if the insecticide
is vaporized into the living area of the house.
Two insects that may cause problems if
you keep your firewood stacked against the outside walls
of your house are carpenter ants and termites.
Wood that remains moist for an Although an annoyance,
the chances of these ants establishing a nest in your
house are very slim. Stacking wood against the outside
of your home may provide an avenue for these insects
to enter your home.
Wood that is stacked directly on the ground may be fed
upon by termites. Mud tunnels may be visible on the
outside of the wood, or there may be mud-lined galleries
within the log. The main termite nest containing the
queen is in soil, but the workers will tunnel into the
firewood and feed on it.
Termites brought into your home in firewood
cannot establish a new nest and will not damage your
home or furniture. But, as with carpenter ants, wood
piles stacked against the house can provide a way for
termites to extend their feeding into your home.
Stacking firewood off the ground is the
best method to prevent termites from feeding on your
firewood. If you discover a termite infestation in firewood
stacked next to your house, you should have your home
inspected by a pest management professional.
There are several groups of beetles that
feed on wood and can be brought accidentally into your
home in firewood. These beetles can be a nuisance if
they emerge from firewood; however, none of these beetles
will harm your home or furniture. For more information
about insects in firewood, go to www.ipm.iastate.edu/ipm/hortnews/2003/3-7-2003/firewood.html.
A longer version of this article originally appeared
and Home Pest News, ISU Extension, March 7, 2003.