Harvest, and unwanted ‘house guests’

Tony Nye - OSU Extension

Harvest is moving right along now. I have not heard much in the way of yields, but first yield reports sound very favorable in most cases for corn and soybeans.

Soybeans are almost getting too dry (8 and 9% moisture) and I am hearing of shatter loss because of it. Corn moisture is variable with reports of harvest moisture from 17% to 25% moisture.

In regards to the soybean situation, Laura Lyndsey, Ohio State University soybean specialist notes that pre-harvest and harvest loss of grain can result in significant yield reductions. Pre-harvest pod shatter (breaking of pods resulting in soybeans on the ground) can occur when dry pods are re-wetted. So far this year, in OSU trials, she has seen very little pre-harvest loss.

Lyndsey suggests that at grain moisture content less than 13%, shatter loss at harvest can occur. As soybean moisture decreases, shatter and harvest loss increase.

In some of our trials, we’ve seen approximately 8% loss when harvesting at 9% moisture content. At 13% moisture content, we still see some loss, but at a much lower level (1-2%). If scouting harvested fields for loss keep in mind that only four soybean seeds per square foot equals one bushel per acre in loss. The seeds are often covered by soybean residue and chaff which need to be brushed away to look for seed losses.

While harvest continues and temperatures drop, the October ghouls and goblins from the fields will soon be invading our homes.

By now, most of us are familiar with the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB), a newer troublesome bug that feeds on soybean, corn, fruits and vegetables. As the cool weather returns over the next few weeks, we will see BMSB come into homes—and infestations can be large. They will spend the winter as adults in homes, emerging once temperatures warm in the spring.

Apart from making a smell when they are disturbed, BMSB are not harmful to people. Nor do they cause any damage to buildings, though seeing them in the house is sometimes bothersome.

There are four or five other species of fall invaders that might show up on the outside walls of our homes looking for a nice crack or crevice to crawl into to protect themselves from our extreme winter weather. These invaders would include the Boxelder bug, the multicolored Asian lady beetle, cluster fly, a few other beetles and don’t forget the annoying cricket when it gets into the house.

As our nighttime temperatures cool many of us will begin to see some insects congregating on the outside of the south and west facing walls of our homes before they really start coming into our homes.

The unlucky may see thousands of them. If they just stayed on the outside of our homes, I think most people would not mind them so much, but they don’t stay on the outside. In bad years hundreds may find their way inside to the very space where we spend the winter.

A simple way to remove most of these invaders is to collect them in a plastic bag or jar and put them in the freezer for a day or so to kill them. Use a tissue or a plastic glove as some of them like the stink bug can leave a stain on skin or fabric when handling.

Another method to pick up individual stink bugs is to use the sticky side of a piece of packing or duct tape, which can then be stashed in a bag for freezing. You can also vacuum them and toss them outside (do this quickly otherwise they may crawl out of the vacuum if not immediately killed, and they can stink up your vacuum).

A good way to limit home invasions is to seal windows, doors and cracks. We do not recommend insecticides in the home, mainly because more will continue to come in, and they do not cause any damage.

A pesticide might be helpful. Spraying the outside walls of the home, especially the south and west facing walls with a long-lasting insecticide registered for this use can help reduce the number of insects entering homes, but will not probably stop all the invaders.

I realize we do not like these invaders in our homes but remember these bugs are harmless: most do not bite; they do not eat fabrics, stored foods, wood or pets; and they do not lay eggs in the house.

L. Tony Nye is Ohio State University Extension ANR Educator, Clinton County.


Tony Nye

OSU Extension