Around the Home and Farm

By Jerry Mahan

Graphic of what termites look like.

By Jerry Mahan

If ever there was a year to work on control of mosquitoes this is the time! With all of the potential diseases carried by these tiny insects this is the year to do an appraisal of your property to help identify the possible breeding areas for mosquitoes. Consider involving the whole family in this project as each can do their part to eliminate the insect’s breeding areas.

Some which I have dealt with over the past 10 years either on my property or in conversation with neighbors and friends include the following. An unused swimming pool, clogged spouting/downspouts, tree hole cavities, bird baths, old tires, unused machinery sitting on the farm, small holes on the property which hold rain water for several days and toys in the yard which are not used as often as they used to be. I will bet you can come up with several others.

Controlling the mosquitoes can be had with little or no use of chemicals just by getting rid of the standing stagnant water in the above mentioned items. If your neighbor has a potential mosquito breeding area now is the time to offer help or ask for their help in ridding the area of these insects. Mosquitoes breeding on a property can move several miles so a neighbor’s problem can become yours. In large geographical areas contact with local government officials and the Greene Co. Combined Health District may be needed.

For more info on mosquitoes log onto the Penn State Univ. Ext. website at: Also the website of the Greene Co. Health Dept. has excellent video and related materials on mosquito control at:

Termites in Your Home?

I have had several questions lately concerning termites in homes. A few ways to tell the difference between termites and ants are termites do not have a waist but an elongated body. Seeing a lot of broken insect wings in a window is usually a sign of termites that are swarming and seeking a way out. See the accompanying picture to help ID which you have. Do not panic if in fact you have termites.

Get at least three estimates from reputable pest control companies before making a decision. Compare treatments; contact previous clients of these companies for references and do not ask questions concerning a quote until a copy is in your hands. Then you can compare treatments and ask questions of the termite control company. This can save you hundreds of dollars.

For more details on this subject log on to Ohio line at: for the OSU Ext. fact sheet titled “Choosing A Pest Control Company.”

Do not be tempted to treat for termites yourself. These insects are present for many reasons including poor drainage around a building, wood in contact with the soil, and excess moisture in a building to name a few. Treatment for termites may be a temporary gesture if the environmental details are not addressed.

Sloping the soil away from a building’s foundation; not having mulch too close to the house or not having wood siding extending to the soil line are all important for termite control.

Termites eat wood for food while the large black carpenter ants eat wood to excavate an area for their nest and thus you will see sawdust with the ants. For more on carpenter ants log on to the OSU Ext. fact sheet on these insects at:

For more info on termites check out the Penn State Univ. Ext factsheet at:

Graphic of what termites look like. of what termites look like.

By Jerry Mahan

Jerry Mahan is a retired OSU Extension Educator Agriculture and Natural Resources for Greene County. He can be reached by email at

Jerry Mahan is a retired OSU Extension Educator Agriculture and Natural Resources for Greene County. He can be reached by email at