Chinch Bugs

Chinch Bugs Explained Here it is, the end of summer, and the hottest days are upon us. Many lawns have been showing signs of stress, and chinch bugs could be one of the culprits. They typically begin feeding in sunny areas along sidewalks and driveways, sucking juices from the grass blades and leaving yellowing grass bordering green grass. At the same time they are feeding, they inject a poison that causes the blades to turn brown and die. Chinch bugs will feed on many grass species, but St. Augustine and [...]

By |2018-08-01T15:10:23+00:00July 23rd, 2018|Insects, Lawn Care|

Bagworms

All About Bagworms Bagworms have a fascinating life cycle! After hatching, each caterpillar spins a silk and leaf “bag” around itself. These bags are protective against predators, and are easily carried by the caterpillar as it crawls around feeding on trees and shrubs. If you see one of these little bags moving, look closely and you will see the head and front legs peeking out of the front of the bag. The caterpillars feed and grow throughout the summer, then pupate in August or September. The male emerges as a [...]

By |2018-08-01T15:12:50+00:00July 16th, 2018|Insects|

Cicada Killers – Don’t Kill These Killers

Giant wasps sound like something out of a nightmare! Fear not though, the huge yellow and black insects loudly buzzing around are gentle giants that are either slow to sting, or unable to sting, depending on the gender. Although they are Texas-sized, these wasps are not limited to our state, and can be found from Canada to Mexico. Cicada Killers, Sphecius speciosus (Drury), are large, solitary burrowing wasps.  The name ‘solitary wasp’ may seem questionable as Cicada Killers can appear in large numbers, but refers to the fact that they do not [...]

By |2018-07-05T09:36:00+00:00July 4th, 2018|Insects|

Lacebug

There are many species of Lacebugs that can become abundant on certain host plants in certain years. (Do not confuse these with “LaceWINGS”, which are bright green, winged beneficial insects. Lacewing larvae eat aphids!) This year we have seen the destructive pest, Lacebug, on Texas Persimmon, Lantana and Elm trees. Watch for them on Azalea, Texas Sage, Pyracantha, Redbud, Bur Oak and Sycamore as well. Adult lace bugs are 1/8” to ¼” long and appear flattened. The wings are lace-like, and appear clear. Usually a plant infested with Lacebugs will [...]

By |2018-06-05T22:22:12+00:00June 5th, 2018|Insects|

Pecan Caterpillars

It happens every year. Pecan tree leaves just are tasty to many different caterpillars, and it is inevitable that your trees will become dinner to one type of caterpillar or another at some time during the year. So, which one do you have, and how do you control them? Walnut Caterpillars usually appear in the fall in Central Texas. They are fairly large, up to an inch or longer, are dark colored with lines down their bodies. But, the real give-away is they are very fuzzy or actually hairy! They [...]

By |2018-06-05T18:12:58+00:00June 5th, 2018|Insects|

Bringing in the Butterflies!

Working in a nursery certainly has its advantages. When the butterflies are out in force, it is a show-stopping display! Most of you know that butterflies have less specific “nectar” plants for the adult butterflies and more specific “food” plants for the caterpillars. It is interesting that the adults will often scope out where to lay their eggs while they are feeding on nectar. For this reason, it is helpful to have some of the “food” plants nearby when planting your nectar garden. An example of a “food” plant for [...]

By |2018-05-29T12:07:30+00:00May 29th, 2018|Insects, Plants|

Grasshopper Control

As our weather becomes hotter and drier, grasshoppers will become plentiful. Studies have shown that they are more plentiful and more voracious feeders in hot, dry years. When we have cool, wet springs, they are affected by a naturally occurring fungal disease that can control the population a bit. Because we have little doubt that this summer will be hot and dry, NOW is the time to start control of these destructive insects with Nosema locustae, a single-celled microsporidium protozoan that is impregnated on wheat bran and broadcast in affected [...]

By |2018-05-23T20:03:49+00:00May 23rd, 2018|Insects|

Trichogramma Wasps

Trichogramma wasps, despite their small size, are efficient destroyers of eggs of armyworms, bagworms, peach borers, squash borers, cutworms, tomato hornworms, cabbage loopers, walnut caterpillars and other leaf-eating caterpillars.  The female wasp deposits an egg into the egg of the pest species. After consuming the contents of the host egg, the adult wasp emerges within about a week. During the female wasp’s 9-11 day lifespan, she will seek out and destroy about 100 pest eggs by laying her egg inside of it. Release should be timed when the pest moth [...]

By |2018-05-04T14:07:33+00:00May 2nd, 2018|Insects|

Squash Vine Borers

I don’t know about you, but I consider squash vine borers one of my garden’s worst enemies! Just when my squash vines are beginning to produce well, they suddenly go limp and die! Luckily, there IS something we can do to prevent or minimize the damage from this pesky insect. Understanding the life cycle of any pest is key to its management. The squash vine borer adult is a small wasp-like “clear-wing” moth with a reddish-orange abdomen. The adult moths emerge from their pupating stage in the soil in late [...]

By |2018-04-23T10:07:19+00:00April 18th, 2018|Insects|

Scarlet Laurel Bug on Texas Mountain Laurel

Some of you may have noticed an exceptionally large outbreak of the Scarlet Laurel Bugs on the new growth of your Texas Mountain Laurels this year. This scarlet red bug with a central black wing area feeds on new growth, blooms and seed pods. In addition to having piercing/sucking mouthparts, the female of this species inserts eggs in to plant tissue with a bladelike ovipositor, causing further damage to foliage on your trees. Scarlet Laurel Bugs are “True Bugs”, meaning they are in the Order Hemiptera, and are related to [...]

By |2018-04-23T10:10:41+00:00April 12th, 2018|Insects|

Spider Mites on Italian Cypress

Treat Italian Cypress NOW! I’ve often mentioned that we have these “windows” for controlling insects and diseases on plants. For those of you who have Italian Cypress planted in your landscape, don’t miss this opportunity to apply dormant oil to prevent spider mites from infesting your plants this spring. I have had great success with one application of All-Season’s Spray Oil in February on Italian Cypress to suppress this damaging insect which often shows up in March. There are a few guidelines to go by for successful results: Temperatures must [...]

By |2018-02-07T00:50:11+00:00February 7th, 2018|Insects|

Cabbage Loopers

Keep those Loopers off your cabbage! If you have ever grown members of the Crucifer family, such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, radish or turnip, you have probably experienced the wrath of one of three hungry caterpillars. The Cabbage Looper, the Imported Cabbageworm and the larvae of the Diamondback Moth can all make your beautiful vegetable leaves look like Swiss cheese! Imported Cabbageworms adults are probably the most conspicuous of the three. They appear as a white to yellowish butterfly flitting about the garden laying their eggs on your plants! [...]

By |2018-01-15T14:01:22+00:00January 15th, 2018|Insects|