Genista Caterpillar

The Genista Caterpillar is the caterpillar commonly seen on the new growth of Texas Mountain Laurels. Note, it is ONLY the new growth that they will be found on. This saves us time and money in our control efforts. Any time Texas Mountain Laurels have new growth emerging, as in the spring and fall, is a good time to protect the new growth by spraying it with either Bt (Bacillis thurengiensis) or Spinosad. These are both Organic solutions to control caterpillars. I usually keep a “ready to spray” bottle of [...]

By |2019-04-24T11:21:12-05:00April 24th, 2019|Insects|

Using Oil Products to Control Insects and Disease

We now have available to us a wide range of oil products to use as alternatives to synthetic insecticides and fungicides. These include oils distilled from petroleum and oils extracted from plants and animals. Petroleum oils (including mineral oils) are highly refined, paraffinic oils that are often referred to as horticultural spray, summer oil, spray oil or white mineral oil. We recommend Bonide “All Seasons Spray Oil” for late winter insect and disease control. (The antiquated term “dormant oil” referred to the heavier, less refined oils produced in the past [...]

By |2019-02-13T10:42:05-05:00February 13th, 2019|Disease, Insects|

Helping the Monarch Migration

Have you seen the Monarchs yet? Every year, I watch in expectation for the annual migration to pass through our area. I’ve been planting nectar plants all year in anticipation! Most of us have heard about the recent decline in the population of the Monarch, and how the use of herbicide-tolerant crops in the mid-west has limited the Monarch’s larval food plant, milkweed. We now have new information on how important the nectar plants are for the adult Monarch on the long migration to its Mexico breeding grounds in the [...]

By |2018-10-15T10:27:41-05:00October 15th, 2018|Insects|

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 |2018-08-01T15:10:23-05:00July 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 |2018-08-01T15:12:50-05:00July 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 |2018-07-05T09:36:00-05:00July 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 |2018-06-05T22:22:12-05:00June 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 |2018-06-05T18:12:58-05:00June 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 |2018-05-29T12:07:30-05:00May 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 |2018-05-23T20:03:49-05:00May 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 |2018-05-04T14:07:33-05:00May 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 |2018-04-23T10:07:19-05:00April 18th, 2018|Insects|