Urban IPM

Friday, August 21, 2015

FREE Webinar on Bees, Wasps & Hornets- September 4, 2015

2015 All Bugs Good and Bad Webinar Series

Is it a wasp, a bee, or a hornet?  Why do I care?  Dr. Charles Ray of Auburn University will explain the difference between these creatures, and give practical tips for preventing hornets, yellow jackets and other wasps from ruining your next picnic. 

Moderated by David Koon  and Lucy Edwards, Regional Extension Agents, Alabama Cooperative Extension System. 

Click here to login as a guest and participate in the live event.   Note: on October 2, the link to the live webinar opens about 15 minutes before the webinar.  If you try to log in earlier, you will get an error message. 

For more webinars in this series, see All Bugs Good and Bad 2015 Webinar Series. The webinars are brought to you by the following eXtension Communities of Practice: Imported Fire Ants, and Urban IPM; and by the Alabama Cooperative Extension System and the University of Georgia Center for Urban Agriculture.

When: September 4, 2015 1 PM Central
Where: online webinar (you can learn in your jammies!)

Friday, August 7, 2015

Spider mites

Do you have webbing covering plants in your landscape? Or maybe, you have webbing covering some of the leaves on your plants? Check the underside of the leaves for spider mites.

Spiders mites are not insects, but arachnids more closely related to spiders. They are very small, often looking like little dots running around on the leaf surface. If you look with a hand lens, you'll see that adults have eight legs and oval shaped bodies. Immatures resemble adults (except for the first stage out of the egg which only has six legs), but will be smaller in size.

Spider mites thrive and reproduce rapidly in hot weather, so conditions have been great for them lately. A generation can be completed within a week when conditions are favorable. Plants under water stress can become infested with spider mites.

Spider mites cause leaves to get a speckled appearance, called stippling, where the mites suck juices from the plant. Leaves may also turn a yellow or bronze color and eventually drop off. Leaves and other parts of the plant may also become covered with webbing.

So, what to do about spider mites?

  • First off, check that you have an active infestation. Many times people see spider mite damage, but the mites are long gone.
  • Ask yourself if you need to do anything or are beneficials doing the job for you.
  • Avoid spider mites by reducing stress to your plants with planting in the proper location, watering and fertilizing properly.
  • Try knocking spider mites off the plant using high pressure water spray.
  • Be aware that sometimes pesticides may cause spider mites to become more of a problem after they are used.
  • If you choose to use a pesticide, treat the underside of the leaves where spider mites like to hang out.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Seasonal Crickets

Prepare thy-selves people of Central Texas.....they are coming.  I've seen immature crickets around various buildings in Central Texas.  The adult masses are building.

Crickets are about 1" long, dark brown to black with large hind legs used for jumping.  Female crickets have a large, sword-like structure, the ovipositor, protruding from the tip of the abdomen.
The ovipositor is an egg laying structure.

Cricket nymph.

Crickets feed on plant material and other insects.  They can cause damage to seedlings and be destructive to plants when in high numbers.  Males can become a nuisance with their sounds (there's always that one cricket chirping at night when you're trying to sleep).  Crickets can further become a nuisance when masses of them flock to lights at night or when piles of dead crickets form near doorways and other areas, causing a foul odor.

Cricket management is more easily accomplished in the summer months when nymphs, who cannot fly, are present (this is why I am writing this now!).  Most people do not try to do anything about crickets until they are in the adult stage and in large numbers.

Before crickets invade your home try some of the following tips:

  • Turn off lights at night, direct lighting away from the structure or use yellow bulbs which are less attractive to insects
  • Seal cracks and crevices that give entrance to the structure with sealant
  • Remove debris that is stacked near the structure
  • Keep lawn and surrounding landscape tended
  • Stuff weep holes with copper mesh (this will allow air flow into the wall voids, but will reduce accessibility)