Tuesday, April 9, 2013

New Insects to Look out for.

As the Spring warms up and plants begin to leaf out, insects start moving from their warm overwintering places or begin to hatch out.  A couple of insects that have been rapidly coming into our area are Kudzu Bugs and Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs.  The stink bugs have a broad host range and are often found on Paulownia ("empress tree"), Ailanthus ("tree of heaven"), and crabapple among others, but at this point in the year (particularly here western NC) those host plants have little foliage and cooler weather has kept the bug activity down. And so, a lot of this current activity is simply a response to the warmer temperature and you'll see the insects on non-host sites, such as house siding, cars, etc.  Keep a look out for this pest though as the nymphs have a wide range of possible food sources and could produce some damage as the summer comes on us.  Controlling them should be rather simple, particularly in the earlier nymph stages.

Kudzu bugs will be aggregating on almost anything and so you will see them on wisteria and other plants (even if there isn't much foliage), houses, early-planted beans in people's gardens, etc. But even on plants with foliage the insects will simply be hanging out rather than feeding.   Kudzu bugs probably will not cause that much damage to ornamental plants but monitoring them is still a good idea.  Last year they seemed to come out in enough numbers to alarm many people.

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