Saturday, April 16, 2011

Ornamental Pest News for April 15th

The pests mentioned in this blog may be a little later here in Western NC but be on the lookout!
Read carefully.


From: Steve Bambara, Extension Entomologist

Early Spring Insects

Just to catch you up over the past few weeks, you've probably already noticed the ground nesting bees. Some of the early species are andrenids, but other species will be popping up through the spring. These can upset home owners, but they are not a sting threat. For more information, see Ornamentals and Turf Insect Note No. 100 at

Carpenter bees are very active. Males are marking off territory and looking for females. These bees are good pollinators. They can be very distracting if boring into your porch or deck. It’s time to practice your tennis serve. For more information, see Residential, Structural and Community Pests Insect Note No. 4 at

Tent caterpillars seem late, but the temperatures have been up and down. These hairy caterpillars web the crotches of cherry trees and crabapples, primarily. For more information, see Ornamentals and Turf Insect Note No. 62 at

Minute Cypress Scales

The minute cypress scale may be tiny in size, but it can be a headache if you're trying to grow Leyland Cypress. It may also infest other hosts such as arborvitae, juniper and similar evergreens. The minute cypress scale, Carulaspis minima, is a small armored scale with a circular to oval cover (Fig. 13). It has a brown papery appearance with a yellow center. The scales can be found on needles and bark, where they cause yellowing and dieback. This scale overwinters on the needles, and the crawlers hatch in late spring. A recently received specimen at the Plant Disease and Insect Clinic at North Carolina State University ( showed eggs still not hatched, so there is a little time in most regions before the crawler stage. For additional information on insect pests of the Leyland Cypress, see Ornamentals and Turf Insect Note No. 133 on the web at

From: Steven Frank, Extension Entomologist

Boxwood Leafminers are Active!

The boxwood leafminer is the most commonly reported pest of boxwoods in North Carolina. Accidentally introduced from Europe, this small fly seems to prefer American boxwood, although English and Japanese boxwoods are also susceptible. Boxwoods infested with this leafminer develop blisters on the lower leaf surface. Infested leaves are usually smaller, off-color and drop sooner than healthy leaves. Heavily infested boxwoods usually have sparse foliage and poor color.

Adult leafminers are active right now. The flies can be found hovering around boxwoods looking for places to lay eggs. A number of insecticides can be used to prevent the flies from landing and laying eggs or to kill the maggots that mine the leaves and cause damage. More information can be found at
Ornamental Pest Alerts on Twitter

I am offering a new pest alert system this year via Twitter. Twitter is a social networking service that allows short messages to be sent to anyone who signs up to receive them. The advantage of Twitter over electronic mail for this purpose is that Tweets arrive on grower smart phones or cell phones while they are in the field working rather than on their office desk in the evening.

I am monitoring landscape and nursery pest activity by degree day calculations and scouting, then “tweet” when I find that pests are active or will soon be active. My Twitter name is @OrnaPests. Sign up for Twitter (super easy) then choose to follow @OrnaPests to receive these valuable alerts.

For more information contact your local Cooperative Extension Center and ask for the Commercial Horticulture Agent.