Ask the Ombudsman
Q: A bug has invaded our yard. It looks like a lightning bug, but it’s bigger, and it has red markings. Do you know what kind of bug we have?
A: It sounds like you’re describing a boxelder bug. Though harmless, they congregate in large numbers and can become a problem in homes. They are associated with boxelder trees and feed on the leaves and fruit of trees in the maple family.
There are a number of bugs that may cause problems for homeowners due to their swarming habits. Asian lady beetles are notorious for invading homes as they seek protection from winter. see below for a list of web sites with more information on these critters.
Hackberry is another tree with an accompanying insect. Hackberry psyllids are harmless, but annoying due to actions similar to boxelder bugs and lady beetles—congregating, often in homes.
If removing the host tree is too drastic a remedy, insect-proofing the house—screening the vents, caulking cracks around windows and doors, etc. is an alternative. Insecticides have little impact on lady beetles and psyllids. Listed below are some helpful sites on boxelder bugs and hackberry psyllids.
Ombudsman Ken Drenon will respond to your questions, suggestions or complaints concerning Conservation Department programs. Write him at P.O. Box 180, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0180, call him at (573) 522-4115, ext. 3848, or e-mail him at Ken.Drenon@mdc.mo.gov.
Conservation partnership helps Scouts manage resources.
Conservation agents not only enforce the Missouri Wildlife Code, they also conduct educational programs, work with private landowners to restore and manage wildlife habitat and gather wildlife population data. However, our most rewarding work occurs when, in the course of building a partnership with another conservation-minded group or organization, we also help young people get excited about the work of conservation.
That’s happening right now at the H. Roe Bartle Scout Reservation near Osceola. The Heart of America Scout Council has joined efforts with the Conservation Department to manage the resources on nearly 4,000 acres at the camp. Conservation programs at Bartle include glade and savanna restoration, tree planting, hunter education, Truman Lake crappie habitat enhancement and an annual No MOre Trash! event. The camp also hosts a Family Outdoor Skills Camp and a youth deer hunt. These events are aimed at deaf or hard-of-hearing children, who may have limited conservation opportunities.
This partnership allows the 10,000 scouts and visitors who annually camp at the facility to gain hands-on experience with conservation, and it helps ensure the continuation of sound conservation practices for the next generation.
Dennis Garrison is the conservation agent for St. Clair County, which is in the Kansas City region. If you would like to contact the agent for your county, phone your regional Conservation office.
In Least Tern Challenged to Survive, author John W. Smith reminds readers that, “Endangered means there’s still time.” The article highlights the least tern and the measures taken by the Department of Conservation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other organizations to monitor and improve the status of this endangered species. There are five different terns that regularly visit Missouri’s rivers, marshes and lakes: Forster’s, common, black, Caspian and least. However, the first four occur only during migration. The least tern, robin-sized and the smallest of the five species, is the only tern that nests in Missouri. Terns are usually considered seabirds, though on the whole they are less marine in habit than their close relatives, the gulls.—Contributed by the Circulation staff
Behind the Code
Resident lifetime permits prove a bargain.
by Tom Cwynar
The Conservation Department first offered Resident Lifetime Fishing Permits and Resident Lifetime Small Game Hunting Permits in 1996. A Resident Lifetime Conservation Partner Permit combines the privileges of both.
It’s easy to judge the investment quality of lifetime permits. The fishing permit, for example, saves you $19 in annual permit fees ($12 resident fishing permit and $7 trout permit). The small game hunting permit saves you $16 in annual permit fees ($10 small game permit and $6 state migratory bird hunting permit).
An age-based price structure makes the permits a bargain at various stages of life. The most savings occur for youths age 15 and younger. A Resident Lifetime Conservation Partner Permit purchased by or for a 16-year-old, for example, would equal a savings of $1,165 over the cost of the annual permits purchased separately by the time they reached age 64. If permit prices go up, savings increase. If holders move to another state, the permits are still valid for fishing or small- game hunting in Missouri.
Giving a lifetime permit to a child paves the way to a lifetime of outdoor recreation. Owning a lifetime permit demonstrates strong support for conservation efforts and a lifelong commitment to our outdoor heritage. For permit cost information and permit applications, visit your local Conservation Department office or online.