Battle of the Bugs

Springtime brings fresh green grass for the cows and loads of pesky insects.

There is always so much to do when spring rolls around. I know this is true for a lot of people, but especially those who live on farms. Even if you don’t live on a farm, those of you who have a yard get to drag out the lawn mower again. A part of spring maintenance for us is the Battle of the Bugs.

When the warm weather returns, so do the bugs. We have plenty of insect pests in East Texas, but the three that I detest the most are: red wasps, fire ants, and mosquitoes. Fighting off insects is a constant battle that you never seem to win. 

For red wasps, I use a product called Demon. I think it works the best and lasts the longest of anything else we’ve tried. As soon as we got a hint of warm weather, the red wasps were out in droves all around the eaves of our house and both the front and back porches. So, I prepared for battle and used a pump sprayer to spray those areas with Demon. By “prepared for battle,” I mean that I put on long pants, long-sleeves, gloves, a hat, safety glasses, and wore a face mask (now in vogue these days). Demon is dangerous stuff, so you don’t want to get any on you.

We hang mosquito bait around the house to try and cut down on these winged pests.

For mosquitoes, I hung up a product called Spartan Mosquito Eradicator. This seems to help lower the population in our yard. (It’s supposed to cover about one acre.)

Fire ants rebuild their mound. These ants have a nasty bite.

For fire ants, I send out a wish and a prayer. Well, maybe I do a little more than that, but, seriously, there’s not a lot you can do. They are super prolific, determined little creatures. I will put fire ant poison on the mounds that I feel are in extremely annoying locations, like right off our back porch. However, there are simply too many mounds to get them all covered. One day, I put poison on 60 mounds inside our yard before I stopped counting and gave up. 

For all these pests, you can beat them back, but you can’t completely rid yourself of them, at least not in my experience. I haven’t even mentioned flies. That would be a whole separate discussion.

This is the wormer we use.

Another item of spring maintenance is worming my family milk cow. I try to worm her every spring and fall, as you are supposed to worm cows about every six months. There are different methods of medication you can use for parasites. I use a pour-on wormer called Cydectin that I purchase from my local vet clinic. You pour the purplish liquid between the shoulder blades of the cow. Supposedly, you don’t have to throw out the milk from dairy cows after you use this medicine (as you would with some other types of meds). However, I choose times to worm Sienna that I won’t be using her milk for at least a week, just to be safe. Since I stopped milking Sienna last week, it was a good time to worm her and her daughter, Marabelle.  

I wish I could say that the big bug battle would lead to, “Bye-bye bugs and good riddance!” It’s actually more like, “Please don’t take over my entire farm!”

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