Insects and Animals

Raccoon scat (droppings) identified

Q: Our family recently purchased some acreage near Jefferson and we are beginning to build a horse farm. We found this scat and we were wondering what creature left it? It was about 6-8 inches long and about 1 ½...

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Magnolia tree has tufts of brown leaves

Q: My magnolia tree has tufts of brown leaves at the ends of several branches. A: I believe you have an infestation of black twig borer. UGA horticulturist Matthew Chappell says: “The borer will enter the stem 6″ to a...

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Iris borer identification and control

Q: I don’t know what happened to my iris’s but the leaves have a stripe on them and then they finally just die and fall over. The whole iris plant is loose from the crown. Some of the crowns are...

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Tomato fruitworm identification and control

Q: I found this in my tomatoes. How can I safely get rid of them? A: It is a fat and sassy tomato fruitworm. It would have continued devouring the inside of the tomato if you had not found him....

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Venomous (Poisonous) Caterpillars – Photos

Several kinds of venomous caterpillars are commonly seen in late summer – early fall. They are usually inconspicuous, so when one is encountered it’s “OUCH – what stung me???!!“. Below are photos of those you might find in the Southeast....

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Fuzzy orange galls on leaf

Q: I took these photos in Blairsville. In my 69 years I have never seen this on a leaf. A: It’s a group of woolly leaf galls. A tiny wasp laid eggs on the leaves a few weeks ago. The...

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Azalea Lacebug – Control

You may have seen the damage lace bugs do to azaleas without knowing who did the dirty deed. Lace bugs suck the juice out of individual leaf cells. Since they hide underneath azalea leaves, you’ll never notice the bugs but...

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Aphid explosion on evergreen clematis

Q: I just realized that the new growth on my evergreen clematis is looking really bad. A: Wow, that is a lot of aphids! These sapsucking insects are common in late spring/early summer and populations can explode if weather conditions...

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Hydrangea limbs suddenly wilt and die

Q: Why would my well established oakleaf hydrangea that has been in the same spot for eight years and has always bloomed for me suddenly be dead? Last year many of the stalks seemed to be dying. This spring it...

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Bluebird And Nuthatch Fighting Over House

Q: We setup a bluebird house in our rain garden. White-breasted nuthatchs went in and out for a few days. Then the bluebirds showed up. Today the nuthatch is going in and out. Did the bluebirds just give up? Is...

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White, Sticky Stuff On Hemlock Trees

Q: I have a white, sticky substance on my hemlock trees up at Lake Burton. Any advice would be appreciated. A: It’s very likely you are seeing hemlock adelgid insects. These sap sucking creatures have killed thousands of hemlocks in...

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Hunting “Piggies”

Q: As a kid, we would hunt what we called “piggies” in the woods. As I remember, the leaves were sort of heart-shaped and when we found them we would bend away the leaves so the little piggies could be...

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White Grub In Mondo

Q: I was replacing my dying mondo grass and as I planted the first one I found a white grub. Could that be the cause of my plants dying? A: White grubs, which eventually turn into various spring and summer...

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Ants On Potato Hills

Q: How do I get rid of ants that make my potato hills their home? Are they destroying my potatoes underground?  A: Assuming you have fire ants, they are known to feed on potato tubers. You’ll get the best organic...

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Are Loropetalum Leaves Dangerous For Dogs To Eat?

Q: Are loropetalum leaves dangerous for dogs to eat? My dog doesn’t obsess about them but he takes a mouthful every time we pass by one in the neighborhood.  A: I’m not a veterinarian but to my knowledge loropetalum leaves...

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Keep Worms From Eating My Peaches

Q: Do you have any suggestions to keep the worms from eating my young peaches? I have honeybees nearby. A: Plum curculio is a small “snout beetle” that attacks peaches and plums. Adults overwinter in debris near a tree and...

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Small Worms On Top Of Soil

Q: While watering my Meyer lemon tree I found a lot of small worms crawling on top of the soil. How can I eliminate?  A: I think you are seeing the larvae of dark-winged fungus gnats. They live in very...

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Magnolia scale on banana shrub – control

Q: I’ve got cooties on a banana shrub. Leaves have black soot on them. Limbs have brown growths. Thoughts? A: Your banana shrub has magnolia scale. These insects suck sap and then excrete a sticky liquid called honeydew. The honeydew...

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