Thursday, June 30, 2011

WCHA Irrigation and Pesticide Credit Program

Consider registering for this program: Irrigation and Pesticide Credit Program This will be an opportunity to get 2 hours of credit in Irrigation and 2 hours of credits for Pesticide Applicators.

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

Monday, June 27, 2011

Pest News for June 27th


From: Christine Nalepa and Whitney Swink, Research Specialists, North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services

Hemlock Borers Collected by the Native Wasp Cerceris fumipennis in the North Carolina Mountains

The Beneficial Insects Laboratory of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services has been using the solitary wasp Cerceris fumipennis as a biosurveillance tool to monitor for the Emerald Ash Borer and other pest Buprestidae throughout the state Solitary Wasp. The wasps nest on the hard-packed sandy soil typical of baseball and softball diamonds. They forage for buprestid beetles in the canopy, bringing them back to the nest to feed their offspring. The pest survey consists of intercepting Cerceris females at the nest when they return from foraging trips, and collecting and identifying the beetles they carry.

In recent weeks Cerceris surveys in the mountains of the state indicate that the wasps are bringing in large numbers of hemlock borers (Melanophila fulvoguttata), a pest of eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis), throughout its natural range. Hemlock borers are secondary pests that can reach significant levels in hosts weakened by hemlock woolly adelgids and other pests (see the June 11, 2010 issue of the North Carolina Pest News at Hemlock Borer).

The Cerceris surveys suggest that hemlock borers may be at or near outbreak levels in some locations of the North Carolina mountains. Melanophila fulvoguttata to date has been collected in seven sites, in the cities of Andrews, Asheville, Franklin, Murphy, and Bryson City. In the latter, 97% (57 of 59) of the beetles collected from the wasps were hemlock borers. Specimens have been deposited in the North Carolina State University Insect Museum.

From: Steve Bambara, Extension Entomologist

Where are the Green June Beetles?

We know that Mary had a little lamb, a little pork, a little jam. And she probably also had green June beetles. Expect to see them soon. They rarely do harm to landscape plants and do not harm people. They can be handled without fear. There are possible control measures available for larvae in turf and pasture (later in the season). I have rarely ever seen this justified in residential turf (unless your backyard used to be a pasture). Grubs are sometimes a problem in pastures and heavy manure-applied fields because they like the decaying organic matter. Adults are sometimes a problem in fruit trees and grapes. Adult populations should start to decline after two weeks and they should be gone after three to four weeks. Patience 25W* (a.i. time) is the best recommendation and can be applied without environmental concern. No, that's not a new pesticide, it's called waiting. For more information on green June beetles, see the following insect notes available on the web:

Green June Beetles
Green June Beetle Note

* Wait 25 days

Yellowjackets Building

Yellowjacket nests start from scratch each spring, as they do not reuse old nests. I've seen more yellowjackets out foraging recently. I've had one contact who reported disturbing a nest and being stung twice. If this episode had been a few weeks from now, I'm sure the number of stings would have been much greater. The nests are probably at their largest around the end of July. Wasps and yellow jackets are great predators of other flying insects and caterpillars.

Be aware of the potential for yellowjacket nests around shrubs and when mowing the lawn. Undisturbed "natural" areas in the landscape are good spots for them. They generally nest in the ground in loose-rooted areas at the base of shrubs and trees or below-ground rotted wood. Once-containerized plants that are now in the landscape often have voids where the media has degraded away. If the nest poses a stinging threat to humans or pets, control may be appropriate. Spray an aerosol hornet and wasp insecticide directly into the entrance hole at night. Don't use gasoline for a bunch of reasons! (Besides, it is too expensive.) Yellowjacket traps that are sold in stores (or homemade) have not been shown to be effective in North Carolina, though they make great conversation pieces in the yard.

Return of Oak Blotch Leafminers?

This week we received a report of an infestation of oak blotch leafminers in a Wake County neighborhood. The last outbreak I recall was about five years ago. Caterpillars of a small moth in the genus Cameraria mine in the leaves primarily of white oak (oak leaves with rounded lobes) leaving brown blotches. These blotches start small and may increase to the size of a dime or larger. There can be many blotches per leaf. There are several species of these moths that may attack oak leaves. Some of the caterpillars are gregarious and there may be several caterpillars in each blotch mine.

Now that the caterpillars are a bit larger, the mines are quite noticeable and the silvery blotches will begin to turn brown. A severe infestation can cause most of the leaf area to turn brown by mid-summer. Leaves may drop prematurely. Two or three generations could be possible per season.

Control by insecticides is not effective and not practical. Trees are not likely to be killed. These caterpillars are present every year, but it may be worse this year in some places. This insect overwinters as a larva in the leaf. Collecting and destroying fallen leaves may be a good idea this year. Oak trees often shed their leaves over a long period of time and may not drop them all until spring. If you are in an area surrounded by woods or neighbors with oak trees, there may be a plentiful supply of new caterpillars next year. Hopefully, the normally plentiful supply of parasitoid wasps will keep numbers lower.

Cicada Killer Wasps

The cicada killer wasps are beginning to emerge. Adult cicadas are caught and stung by this wasp, then dragged back to the nest. The most noticeable feature is often the large amount of soil excavated and mounded outside the burrow. Once in the nest, the female wasp lays her eggs on the cicada. Soon the egg hatches and the larva feeds on the cicada. When mature, the wasp larva pupates and another generation of wasps emerges to carry on the life cycle. This is one of our most "showy" wasps and the sight and sound of these coming and going is impressive. These wasps can be regarded as beneficial or neutral. They are also downright interesting. Ornamentals and Turf Insect Information Note No. 63 (see Cicada Killer Wasp) has additional information on the biology and control of cicada killer wasps, but I prefer the entertainment aspect of them.

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

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Pest News Update

Invasive Pest Found on North Carolina Soybeans Spreading Rapidly

Kudzu bug (aka bean plataspid, Megacopta cribraria Fabricus) has recently been confirmed on kudzu from several North Carolina counties where it was not previously found. In addition, it has been reported on a legume from the North Carolina Arboretum, although this has not been confirmed. Soybean is the main agronomic host for this insect, but it will feed on many other legumes.

This insect was found on flowering volunteer soybean plants on 10 June in Union county by a Wingate University researcher, Erika Scocco, collecting kudzu bug for a molecular study. This is the first confirmed sighting of this insect on soybean in our state. In North Carolina, the pattern of spread is mirroring that of South Carolina in 2010. This insect feeds on the stems and leaves, and may come into our soybean fields earlier, rather than later, during the season.

So far, kudzu bug has been relatively easy to kill with insecticides (except with neonicotinoids), but will often reinvade. A preliminary economic threshold, based on Georgia data, is one bug per sweep with large nymphs present, or three bugs per plant with large nymphs present.

We are tracking this pest and would appreciate you contacting Dominic Reisig (electronic mail at; telephone at 252-793-4428 x133) if you find this pest in a non-confirmed county. If you could also provide GPS coordinates, as well as the plant on which it was found, it would enhance our ability to respond to this new threat. Please use caution not to spread this pest from field to field if you find it.

Although this insect sounds like a possible beneficial pest- eating Kudzu; it has been found on other legumes including desirable ornamental plants. So keep your eyes open!


From: Steve Bambara, Extension Entomologist

Lightning Bugs Are Looking Good

For the first time in several years, most of North Carolina has had a reasonable amount of rainfall in the spring. This year the lampyrids (lightning bugs) seem to be off to a good start. Lightning bugs are beetles. Fireflies are, coincidentally, also beetles! Lightning bug adults produce a heat-free source of light through a biochemical reaction. The light flashes are used to attract mates. Different species have different flash patterns and are active at different times during the evening. What does this have to do with pest management? One of the many great aspects of lightning bugs is that the larvae of some species are predatory on snails and slugs!

Citrus Whiteflies on Gardenia

The citrus whitefly is a tiny, frosty white insect about 2 mm in length. It is not a true fly. Females insert their eggs into the lower surface of the leaves of gardenia and Swedish ivy. Soon the immature stages hatch into scale-like insects that suck sap from the lower leaf surface. They are often mistakenly reported as a scale. Look for ant activity, honeydew, or sooty mold on these plants. There is additional information in Publication AG-136, Insect and Related Pests of Flowers and Foliage Plants available on the web at Whitefly.

Citrus whiteflies suck sap from the plant and excrete honeydew, a sweet, sticky substance. Sooty molds go hand-in-hand with infestations of citrus whitefly. Sooty molds grow in the honeydew and cause infested bushes to become dull and dark. Horticultural oils should give some control of the citrus whitefly. Orthene is also effective. Imidacloprid would also be an effective systemic as a root drench.

Cicadas, Act II

Periodical cicadas were a big hit this spring across most of North Carolina. It is now time for the annual cicada to make its appearance. Already spotted, are the larger green annual cicadas that appear every year in low numbers. By now, most of you are familiar with cicadas. Every summer the chunky brown nymphs crawl from under the ground and perform a transformation as dramatic as the change of a chrysalis to a butterfly. Though the individual life cycle may last several years for the annuals, the entire population does not emerge in synchrony as do their famous earlier periodical cousins. You should now be able to enjoy their daytime buzzing and still hear yourself think.

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

Friday, June 10, 2011

Heat Illness

The heat of summer has arrived early this year. A lot of concern is out there to prevent farmworkers and green industry personnel from becoming overwhelmed by the heat at becoming ill.
Remember a sick employee is not productive and could cost you thousands of dollars should they die or become disabled because of spending too much time working in the sun. Wendy Laing one of our Extension Specialist in Industrial Extension has this to share:

The heat and humidity of North Carolina summer is here. Three ingredients water, rest and shade - can be the best prevention steps to avoid a heat related illness. OSHA reports that each year thousands of workers suffer from heat related illnesses, including fatalities, that can be prevented.

Take the time now to educate your workforce about the hazards of working outdoors in hot weather and the simple tips to avoid heat related illnesses, including the simple steps below:

Drink Water Often

Rest in the Shade

Report Heat Symptoms Early

Know What To Do In Emergency

The following OSHA resource page provides numerous educational resources that you can download for your workforce. Thanks and have a safe summer!

Heat Illness

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