AUSTIN (KXAN) — Summer is here and with it comes some annoying pests. Creepy crawly creatures are out and about and not even the heat can stop them. Meteorologist Kristen Currie sat down with Entomologist Wizzie Brown from the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension office to learn more about the top three summer pests and what we can do to survive them.
You can watch the interview above or read the transcript below to learn more. This interview has been edited for clarity.
KRISTEN CURRIE, KXAN: Joining me now is Wizzie Brown, an entomologist with the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension. Wizzie, let’s talk about these bugs, because we’re specifically targeting pests. If you had to say, what are the three biggest pests that we battle here in Central Texas in the summer?
WIZZIE BROWN, ENTOMOLOGIST: I would say the most common that I get calls on are gonna be fleas, mosquitoes, definitely. And then flies like the larger flies, house flies, flesh flies, blow flies, which most people probably are just like, they’re just big flies.
CURRIE: They’re big, and we don’t want them in our yard. So what can we do to maybe keep the fleas in their home and out of our home?
BROWN: So if you take your dog to a dog park, definitely make sure that they are on some sort of a flea treatment. You might want to even get a flea comb to comb them when you get back, because if they’re interacting in those spaces, you never know what they might be bringing home into your space that you may not want.
If it’s your own yard, then you know, definitely take care of what you’ve got going on. Try to reduce wildlife that you have in the area. And then you can do treatments if you want.
If you have to treat for fleas, you need to treat all locations where they can be living. So that would be on the animal, in your house and in the landscape.
CURRIE: Mosquitoes, the arch nemesis in Central Texas this year. We talked about “don’t have any standing water,” but is there a way to get rid of mosquitoes?
BROWN: No. But you can definitely reduce the populations of them. Get rid of standing water. If you have standing water that you can’t necessarily get rid of, then you can either treat that with Bacillus thuringiensis or BT. A lot of people know them as those little mosquito dunk things. And that can be used to treat the water or you could put fish in there or something like that to eat the mosquito larvae.
As for the adults, always wear repellent if you’re going to be outside for a lengthy period of time. And there are a variety of repellents that you can utilize. If you’re working in the yard, you’re going to be sweating a lot, so you might need to reapply it more often. The EPA actually has a website that you can go to and it can help you choose what repellent would be best for whatever situation you have.
CURRIE: The citronella candles, do those work too?
BROWN: If you are in a somewhat small area, then they can. It really depends on how much air flows in the area. A lot of times you could just put fans blowing, which is really great right now anyway since it’s so hot.
You get the added benefit of cooling off, but it’s also going to reduce mosquitoes, because they can’t really fly through that really strong air currents.
CURRIE: This is my personal battle the flies, what can we do to deter the flies from our backyard in our yards.
BROWN: So flies are going to be attracted to anything that’s kind of a decaying organic matter. So it could be a huge variety of things. Garbage is going to be a big one. Recycling can be a big one. If you have pets, picking up pet waste on a regular basis can really help reduce the flies that are in your yard.
And then the other big huge one is actually cleaning out your garbage and recycling bins on a somewhat regular basis, because it kind of builds up all that funk and that can lead to fly problems.
If you’re dealing with flies, just in a general area, fly swatters are gonna kill the adults, and they work just as well as anything. If you get fly traps for them, you’re going to want to hang those away from the structure, not right by the back door, because that will attract them into that area.
My last thing is the plastic baggies of water don’t actually repel flies. There’s actually research that shows that there were more there was more fly activity in areas that had those bags hung than other areas.