Saturday, July 28, 2012

Pest News for July 30th 2012


From: Steve Frank, Extension Entomologist

Oleander Aphids

Anyone who has grown or looked at milkweed has seen oleander aphids. They are orange and usually very abundant. Sometimes oleander aphids become so abundant they reduce plant growth and flowering but most of the time they are not very harmful. Since they are inevitable you might as well enjoy them. The most enjoyable and interesting thing about these aphids is that you can witness all kinds of ecological interactions. Inspecting a colony of these aphids you will see parasitoids and their mummies; predacious maggots of hoverflies that specialize on aphids; predacious maggots of Aphidoletes midges that bite aphid knees, inject paralytic toxins, and eat the aphids. Many other generalist predators such as green lacewing larvae, lady beetles, and minute pirate bugs also hang around. These are great plants to have in public gardens because you can always teach people about these predators and parasitoids.

Emerald Ash Borer Update

Around this time in 2010 I reported that emerald ash borer had been found in Tennessee not far from our border. I figured I would pass along the recent status of this pest in our neighboring states. Please visit the below link to map showing the emerald ash borer which is now in five Virginia counties bordering North Carolina and has spread to many counties in Tennessee:

It is essential that people are watching for this pest and report unusual boring damage in ash trees. The most complete and current information this pest can be found on the official website:

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