Insects and Animals

Beautyberry – Mosquito Repellent

Many are the plants and plant oils that are reputed to repel insects! From the citrosa geranium to the lemongrass plant, there are differing levels of insect repellency in their skin-applied oils. Now comes word that a researcher at the...

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Camellia/Azalea/Rhododendron/Blueberry – Cranberry Rootworm

When a gardening friend first described the damage to her camellias on Sea Island, I thought the holes in the leaves must be caused by an insect pest. But when I saw the holes were not round, I shifted gears...

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Deer Repellents – Scientific Research

There are many repellents for deer; some are sold commercially and some are concocted by homeowners. I found two articles that actually used the scientific process to evaluate deer repellents. Reducing Deer Damage Comparative Analysis of Deer...

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Chigger – Control

“There was a little chigger and he wasn’t any bigger than the head of a very small pin. But the bump that he raises just itches like the blazes – and that’s where the rubbin’ comes in!” A day in...

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Plant Hoppers (Planthoppers) – Roosting on Stems

The fuzzy white powder covering the upper stems of hosta, azalea and many other landscape plants looks just like a fungus. Powdery mildew has disfigured the leaves of crape myrtles and dogwoods for weeks, so this white powdery stuff must...

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No BS! Free HS! – Getting Horse Manure for your Garden

Gardeners have used animal manure for thousands of years to add nutrients and organic matter to their gardens. In metro Atlanta, it has become harder and harder to find a stable because owners have had to move as their land...

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Pansy – Caterpillar Damage

A skill that gardeners could practice more often is observational horticulture. Sometimes you learn more from just looking around than you do from a book. Last week I noticed that my early-planted pansies were severely chewed-upon. Initially, I suspected chipmunk...

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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. Saddlebacks...

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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