Photo of an earwig

“Bugs just freak people out.”

Entomologist Emily Fontenot has seen this happen time and time again, people shuddering at the thought of insects, but that reaction is usually not warranted. And the way people deal with bugs is not always the best either.

Instead of a spray-first mentality, Fontenot will give alternative solutions during a presentation on natural pest management 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 22, at the Dickinson County Nature Center, a part of the Lake Friendly Lawn Care series.

“Ask your burning bug questions,” she said.

From earwigs to ticks to fleas to fruit flies, bring any questions you have for this bug expert to answer. She will also help people see alternatives to dealing with bug problems that might not be the go-to reaction. For instance, she said people often start dealing with mosquitoes by burning citronella candles and lathering themselves in sprays and lotions when the best way to deal with them is often to get a fan.

“They can’t bite you if they can’t land on you,” she said.

She will also discuss different insecticides and what an “all-natural” label can really mean, because some products we think are healthy turn out to not be what we expect.

“There’s always an alternative to synthetic insecticides and herbicides,” Fontenot said.

Insect management often goes hand-in-hand with land management, and Fontenot will also discuss the importance of mowing practices and the relationship between plant life and insects.

The Lake Friendly Lawn Care series at the nature center was created to teach people the myriad of ways that we can all work together in our own yards to help keep our lakes clean. Workshops began in 2016 and continue throughout this year as well with a program on using native plants in your landscaping 6 p.m. Thursday, March 23, a workshop at the Lakes Area Farmers Market July 26 in Spirit Lake and a seed collecting day 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 21, at the Dickinson County Nature Center in Okoboji.

Whether you live right on the Iowa Great Lakes or not, the entire region’s watershed affects our system of lakes. Come to the Dickinson County Nature Center Feb. 22 to see how you can take small steps in making your yard a more lake-friendly environment.

For more information on the Lake Friendly Lawn Care program or other Dickinson County Nature Center offerings, call 712-336-6352. You can also keep up with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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