How dry I am

By on Jun 22, 2012 in Bug-Wiser |

All joking aside, if you own a Dwarf Alberta Spruce I recommend in summer to use your hose to give the interior of the plant a shower. Use your thumb on the end of the hose to blast water throughout the dense canopy of the spruce when you’re out watering….it will help with spider mite issues when it’s hot and dry outside.

Fear Factor

By on Aug 4, 2011 in Bug-Wiser |

There is an element of fear in people’s voices and a wide eyed look when they describe their first encounter with a Cicada Killer. Cicada Killers are big wasps that show up this time of year just like James Bond with a license to kill….Cicadas in this case. Their intimidating look can frighten children, small animals and even adultswho describe these amazing insects as the “biggest baddest most mutant bee on steroids I have ever seen!” The larval stages of this amazing insect (largest wasp in Michigan) feed on cicadas that are provided to them by the female wasp burrowing into the soil preferably sandy soil areas. You will see a mound of soil surrounding their burrow.  Cicada killers ignore people as they go about their business of digging holes and hunting for cicadas. Most people panic and want to “nuke them” with some kind of spray. This fear...

Don’t Get Uprooted!

By on Jun 9, 2011 in Bug-Wiser, General |

Eeew, gross! Did someone spit on your Coreopsis while you weren’t looking? Unless you have some really odd people living near you, it’s probably a spittlebug. The spittlebug is the Superman of the bug world; it can leap the equivalent of a 20-story building in a single bound. It is also one of the pests disrupting our “lawn and order” this season. Spittlebugs are typically found on shrubs and perennials like Coreopsis and Phlox. One reliable method you can use to control them is imidacloprid, like Bonide Annual Tree & Shrub. It is applied to the soil under each plant in October or April and absorbed into the plant before the spittlebug larvae begin feeding in May. That said, the problem is one of those “curious” low impact issues in the landscape where you’re better off marveling at nature and living with it. But if it really grosses you out, you can also take the less subtle (and...

Attack of the Tomato Hornworm!

By on Aug 2, 2010 in Bug-Wiser |

In July and August home gardeners can be subject to a sudden attack on tomato and pepper plants by a large insect that almost looks like an alien life form. The bright green and large Tomato Hornworm can frighten and creep you out when they make their appearance. I had an all out attack on my tomatoes and peppers while I was gone on a trip to the west coast. When I returned they had ravaged the foliage as well as green tomatoes and peppers in my garden. They can be difficult to spot because of their color until you see the damage which can be swift and complete. Foliage is standard fare with stems stripped of leaves but they will also attack green tomatoes or peppers like the one I plucked off and placed on a fence rail pictured above. The adult phase is a Sphinx Moth with a wingspan of up to 3 to 4 inches! The adult lays the eggs on the plants in your vegetable garden and the hatching...

Helpful hints for early July

By on Jul 2, 2010 in Bug-Wiser |

Some simple actions in early July can have a big impact on the appearance of your lawn and landscape later in the season. The first action is to remember this is last call for pinching your Mums, upright Sedums and Asters. A pinch now will keep their size in check for this fall. You’ll have shorter blooming plants able to stand on their own as opposed to tall and “floppy” plants. Another action is to raise the deck on the mower and keep the lawn properly irrigated to avoid European Chafer and Japanese beetle damage to the lawn later in the season. The female beetles during the feeding period are making intermittent stops to lay their eggs in the lawn. The young grubs that hatch from these eggs are hungry feeders. The female beetles like a closely groomed lawn and the young grubs that hatch will do significant damage to a lawn that is not properly irrigated and root...

Bug-Wiser about 4 lined plant bug

By on Jun 10, 2010 in Bug-Wiser |

A lot of damage is done to perennials, shrubs and trees by a colorful and jittery bug during the month of June. The four-lined plant bug creates spots on foliage by injecting saliva from needle sucking mouthparts. Because the foliage often becomes distorted people mistake the damage for a disease. Here is a picture I took of the culprit sitting on a Fothergilla leaf in the center of the picture looking at the damage he has already done to the Agastache foliage in the upper right….. Here is a picture of the damage typically done by a 4 lined plant bug. By the way…I have found an application of Captain Jack’s Dead Bug Brew is a great choice to keep the damage in check when this bug is most active (the month of June)……. While out in the landscape….prune out some of the lower branches and apply some Tanglefoot to the base of Rhododendrons to combat...