Insects and Animals

Pine Beetles – Diagnosis and Control

Several kinds of beetles ferociously attack drought-weakened pine trees in summer. The Southern pine beetle is the most feared. In September, homeowners typically notice a brown-needled tree, distinct among the other green pines around. By the time the tree is...

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Saddleback Caterpillars

Saddleback caterpillars are one to one and a half inches long. They are distinguished by the large brown spot or “saddle” in the center of their back. Stiff, white hairs cover the sides and both ends of their body. These...

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Sweet Flag (Acorus) – Scale

Former Extension agent Christi Heidt reports an unusual problem: scale insects on acorus (variegated sweet flag). As far as I can tell, this has never been reported before. Here are her comments: “I was really surprised about the acorus. I...

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White Grub – Control in Lawns

It’s common to find one or two “C-shaped” white grubs when you dig the soil in spring and early summer. A grub is the immature form of a beetle. Some grubs develop into Japanese beetles, some turn into the brown...

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Yellow Jacket – Control With Glass Bowl

Yellow jackets can be a real pest in late summer and fall. They swarm out of the nest at the slightest provocation, looking to punish whomever disturbed them. Want to know what works to kill a nest? We do too!...

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Screech Owl Box

Owls are excellent predators in a small landscape. They capture voles, mice and small snakes. It’s easy to build a box for a screech owl family. Make it 8″ by 10″ by 15″ tall with a 3″ hole. Hang 15...

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Ticks – Identification and Control

The sight of a mosquito on your skin is annoying but not alarming. A quick slap and the bloodsucker is bound for parts unknown. You return to your gardening or sunbathing. But the sight of a tick on your body...

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Carpenter Bee vs Bumblebee – Identification

S. M. e-mailed to ask what is the difference between a carpenter bee and a bumble bee. Since I am not a trained entomologist, I called Dr. Paul Guillebeau to find out. “Just look at their rear end,” he advised....

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Fire Ant – Control in Lawn

Fire ants can be a real problem in home lawns. While they do not directly affect the grass, they can cause damage to mowers and other maintenance equipment. They also sting people and pets, making the lawn an uninhabitable area....

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Southern Pine Beetle

When I was a boy, one of my favorite pastimes was to stack up several soup cans, walk a few paces away, then throw rocks at the tower of cans until they tumbled down. I was convinced that if I...

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Scale

Scale insects range from pinhead size to a quarter-inch in diameter. In general, they are easy to scrape from a twig or leaf. Many exude a reddish liquid when squeezed. Scale often release a sweet liquid (honeydew) that attracts ants...

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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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Flea – General Control

Great fleas have little fleas Upon their backs to bite ’em, And little fleas have lesser fleas, And so ad infinitum, And the great fleas themselves, in turn, Have greater fleas to go on, While these again have greater still,...

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Hornet – Control

It is startling to pass by a shrub or small tree in the yard and suddenly notice a gray, football-shaped hornet nest hanging down. Hornets have received such bad press in cartoons and folklore that you might instinctively cover your...

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Ground bee

One of the benefits of experience is knowing when something isn’t a big deal and, conversely, when something happens that could be worrisome. When I saw small mounds of clay, with hovering bees nearby, in my lawn this afternoon I...

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Unseen Biting Bugs

When you have an itch, you scratch it…and you look for a likely cause. Perhaps it’s poison ivy, maybe it’s an ant bite or maybe it’s one of those unexplainable “it just itches” kind of things. On the other hand,...

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Lawn Insects – Soap Flush

Lawn insects can be hard to find, especially when young. One way to detect them is to use a soap flush. Mix 4 tablespoons of dish detergent in a 2 gallon bucket. Pour the mixture over a six square foot...

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Moth Control – Cedar Closets

At public gatherings on the first cool nights of winter, the scent of mothballs from stored winter clothing can be suffocating. Woolen clothing is readily consumed by the larvae of clothes moths and it has somehow become common practice to...

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