Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Pest News Update- May 16,2011


From: Steve Bambara, Extension Entomologist

White Marked Tussock Moths

Last week we had a report of a minor outbreak of white marked tussock moths. This moth is widely distributed throughout eastern North America and rarely causes a major problem. The larvae feed on foliage of a wide variety of trees, both conifers and hardwoods.
This insect overwinters in the egg stage. Eggs hatch in the spring, usually late April to May. Young larvae skeletonize leaves and older larvae consume entire leaves. Pupation is 5 to 6 weeks later and moths emerge about two weeks following.

Larvae are hairy with red head and shield. The two long black pencils of hairs on the first thorax segment project forward. A single black hair pencil arises from the eighth abdominal segment. The back is mostly yellow, cream, or grayish in color. There are four distinct tufts of white hairs on the first four abdominal segments, and a conspicuous red dot on segments six and seven. Fully grown larvae construct loose tan-gray cocoons on the underside of branches or in bark crevices and pupate.

The male moth is gray with wavy lines across the front wings, about 25 to 30 mm. Antennae are conspicuously feathery. The female moth is wingless, grayish-white to light brown. Females lay eggs in clumps covered with scales and cocoon material. There are probably two generations and a possible third generation per year.

This caterpillar does not "sting", but the hairs can be irritating to skin or the throat of some animal that takes it for a meal.

Keys to Successful Fire Ant Baiting

* Buy fresh bait and only what you will use up within a short time.
* Do not store bait near other pesticides, fuels or products from which it will absorb odors.
* Do not apply it to wet grass or when rain is expected within 24 hours.
* Do not apply directly on top of a mound. Ants do not forage there.
* Do not disturb the mound. Ants that are rebuilding or defending a nest are not busy foraging.
* Do not apply bait when the temperatures are too hot or too cold. Perform the "potato chip test" before baiting. That is, in mid-morning before baiting, drop one or two potato chips near a mound. If ants are consuming the potato chips within 20 minutes, it is a good time to apply bait.

Magicicada Pictures

Reports of periodical cicada are still coming in. It is nice to see how widespread they are (that is, from the viewpoint of an entomologist). J. Reed of Cary, North Carolina wrote us and supplied images of cicadas located around her home. I love her description of the insects and hope she doesn't mind us sharing it.

"They are everywhere; they drop on me from the doors as I leave the house and they especially love the tires on my car. My yard is a landscape of holes. The noise is like listening to heavy traffic from the porch of SpongeBob’s pineapple house (underwater). They are starting to creep me out."

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