GARDEN INSECTS THAT MAKE YOU CRAZY
The insects saga continues on. I made the decision that another web page was required to cover additional pests that invade the gardener's world. I am sure you can fill an entire book with every species that attacks some plant or flower. A great many of these pests have migrated here from some other parts of the world. Other pests have been imported to destroy other pests already active. These became a nuisance themselves after eradication of the pest that these insects were imported to bring in line.
You can read and review about additional insects at my web page concerning other insects.
There are four lace bugs that do damage to both azaleas and rhododendrons. The most destructive of these insects is the azalea lace bug. An infected plant invaded by these creatures develops bleached,silvery or stippled symptoms sometimes found by plants invaded by mites.
As noted in the picture the insect known as azalea lace bug has netted lacy wings and has obvious black or sometimes brown patches. The lace bug,unless examined closely, with its transparent wings and small size is hardly visible. This is why in many cases the damage is done prior to the recognition of the cause. It is interesting to use a magnifying lens to view this pest. This can be done by shaking a leaf and catching several on a white piece of paper. Now if you observe them with the glass you will notice a hood over the head which is an important distinguishing mark of this insect.
These insects lay their eggs fix firmly on the underside of the leaves generally along the central rib but also along the lateral veins. These lace bugs lay incredible amount of up to 300 eggs during the adult stage and near the rate of five to seven eggs per day. Depending on the temperature range these eggs can develop from twelve to twenty-two days after laying. The life of an adult lace bug also depends on the temperature range and can survive anywhere from one to four months. The azalea lace bug is very damaging to evergreen azaleas and rhododendron however the deciduous varieties are not immuned from attack.
In these type of ornamental shrubs the real concern is with the beauty of the plant.If the damage occurs in the early season the beauty of the shrub will be destroyed for the remainder of the season. This is why it is important to control these insects early on in the growing season. It would be good to use good watering practices and fertilizer treatments,when necessary, to lower shrub stress as well as possible damage.
As I mentioned before using a hand held magnifying glass and a piece of white paper you can shake the shrub for any signs of lace bugs. It is important to check these shrubs weekly in the sping,summer and fall for their appearance on your shrubs. I would consult the Gardens Alive catalog mentioned above for any pesticide that could be used in their control. A jet of water from a garden hose can be shot directly on the underneath side of the shubs and will knock off some bugs and possibly the growing nymphs but there maybe some live lace bugs left behind to continue the attack on your shrubs.
Here is the perfect opportunity to subscribe to our newletter in the box above the Navbar on this page. The April issue will discuss the planting,care and feeding of both azalea and rhododendrons. This little four page letter will provide all the scoop and you can start enjoying our back issues as well.
INSECTS THAT ARE EXTREMELY BOTHERSOME INCLUDES SPIDER MITES
There are many garden and landscape shrubs that suffer damage at the hands of these insects. The spider mites enjoy a summer with little or no rain and can become more invasive making your garden or landscape to be increasing ravaged by this pest. Spider mites and the damage they bring can be recognized by any gardener if you take the time to identify them. You can study the picture below and as you can see they are usually dark green however yellow to red in color can also be found.
They have 8 legs as an adult and 6 in the larva stage. The adult females are much larger in size,if you can call a spider mite large,and darker in color. Particularly on broadleaf plants these insects feed on the underneath section of the leaves. A large colony of these spider mites may have a spider like webbing over them to protect themselves from you furious gardeners.As they feed the green leaf color becomes more speckled in appearance similar to the lace bug above.
The heaviest infested plants result in "bronzing" and leaf drop. However there is a spruce spider mite that attacks conifers and will be a problem in the spring as well as the fall. However, as discussed previously, most spider mites are at their worst under water stress conditions or plants that lack the proper nutrients. The initial time between larva and the two nymph stages can be as little as a week before the appearance of the adult. This means good warm weather with little or no watering or rain. This encourages the pest to multiply rapidly with more damage created during the summer months.
A plant that is sufficiently supplied with water and the required fertilizer has a better opportunity of maintaining a good front against spider mite damage. You should also follow a non crowding policy. If your plants are tightly growing with little room for air or nutrients to be released, then more than likely your plants will become stressed and a spider mite outbreak will commence.
THE BEST CONTROL FOR SPIDER MITES
A good rain or overhead application of water. A good soaking rain will definitely reduce the insect population. In the summer those kind of soaking rains are far and few between. You can accomplish the same thing with some good heavy over head showers from your garden hose. A word of caution should be applied here; don't spray your plants when they will stay wet for more than two hours. This means evening watering is out as this will invite other types of plant diseases to gain a foothold. You can purchase azalea plants at Direct Gardening just click here:DirectGardening.com - Use special coupon # G5666 for 3 free Peacock Orchid Bulbs with any purchase!
You need to look for spider mites by holding a piece of white paper under the suspected leaves. Shake the branch with sufficient force to make these critters fall on to the paper. You will be able to see very tiny dark spots on the white paper indicating their presence. Then choose a good sunny morning and using your hose wash off the leaves with high water pressure.You can also go to one of our sponsors on this site and purchase a good insecticidal soap and follow the directions for mixing the solution. It is best to do the applying in the morning as I discovered soap can burn your foilage. I was really shocked when this happened because at first I did not realize what occurred. I also suggest before your soap application dries wash it off with a hose. This will remove any remaining soap that could burn some tender leaves. I would repeat this procedure for one to two weeks until there are no mites.
VIBURNUM LEAF BEETLE CAN DESTROY A FAVORITE LANDSCAPE PLANT
Your Viburnum bush,one of a dozen varieties or more, could be endangered by a minute six legged insect labeled the VIBURNUM LEAF BEETLE. This pest is actually a native of Europe but moved into Canada in 1947 and then began invading the state of New York and is tracking south into Ohio. It has accomplish this in 20 years or less so anywhere a viburnum shrub can grow this pest will arrive someday. It is best to be forewarned now than when your viburnum shrubs are destroyed in less than two years.
This destruction begins in late June through July with the mating of millions of these beetles. The first indication of a problem occurs upon inspection of your shrub and you find leaves with small shot holes. The infestation continues until the leaves are completely skeletonized. The larvae are greenish-grey with tiny black dots and become close to one-half inch long when fully grown. You may need to check the underside of the leaves as this is where the larvae are often found feeding. The adult become brownish-grey with antennae about half the length of their body.
The viburnum leaf beetle eggs are overwintered on the underside of leaves and appear as bumps about the size of a match head. They will feed on new leaves and finish their cycle by mid-June. The larvae drop down to the ground and pupate and emerge from the soil around the end of June as adults. The adults then return to either the same shrub or can fly to a nearby shrub and feed on the leaves.
The best method of controlling these pests is to inspect the shrub between October and early April noting the egg locations. Prune out and destroy the twigs infected as aggressive pruning while dormant can be extremely helpful in the control of damage done by the viburnum leaf beetle.
This picture gives you an idea of the identification of damage done by this insect. The control of the flying adults by hand picking them off the leaves. This is best accomplish in early morning hours before the heat of the day. Place your hand below as they roll off the foliage and place them in a bucket of soapy water detergent. The problem can ensue that your landscape contains either a large amount of viburnum shrubs or high populations of these insects to control manually. This will require the use of insecticides which can be horticultural oil or insecticidal soap may destroy larvae if applied at their early stages. If the discovery is not made until later it will require the use of products containing pyrethrins. The adult control you may need to use those insecticides that cover a broad range of effectiveness. The problem is the treatment is spotty at best since they fly away when hit by this spray. This requires repeated applications over a period of time. You should remember that this type of treatment also has an impact on beneficial insects.
The three viburnum shown above are the least suspectible varieties. This would be better plant management then just planting any variety of viburnum. These type of decisions I know are somewhat ruled by the color and shape of the flower and insect control is secondary until it happens to you!
Left to right we have the Korean Spice Viburnum,the Judd Viburnum and the Leatherleaf Viburnum for you to choose from with less problems with this insect.
ASPARAGUS BEETLE WILL DESTROY YOUR CROP
The asparagus beetle comes in two distinct looks the spotted beetle as shown here and the common asparagus beetle not shown. These beetles wreck havoc with your plants making them both unedible and not saleable. Asparagus beetles are most active in the afternoon. These beetles feast on the foliage which will cause the stems to turn brown and besides making them of no use will reduce the crop in the following season. The spotted beetle is the most destructive of the two.
There are several ways to attempt to control these pests. You can spray the ferns with an approved insecticide when beetles appear on your plants. It can also be attempted with organic control. ORGANIC CONTROL
- Tomato plants that are close to the asparagus will fend off beetles
- You can pick off the beetles and crush the adult beetles
- The larvae should be brushed off and let fall to the soil and they will die unable to return to the plant
- A lady bug would also be an excellent choice in the organic fight
It would be a good idea to remove any plant debris when the growing season is over to reduce the overwintering places for the beetle.
LEAF ROLLERS AND WHAT TO DO
Your garden plants are in danger when attacked by leaf rollers. The leaf roller is well known eating and deforming leaves giving them the appearance of crumpled or wrinkled. The unsuspecting gardener may determine that it is from lack of water or some soil deficiency that is causing the problem. However take a look at the photo below it is a leaf roller and nothing else.
This is typical of either type of leaf roller except that the lesser leaf roller not only attacks, just as its larger counter part, but spins web-like strands around the leaf. This causes additional damage and more deformity to the leaf. The canna leaf roller attacks many canna plants. It rolls itself in the leaf causing severe deformity to the leaf.
The removal of leaf rollers does inflict further destruction or even removal of just the infected leaves can also add damage to the leaves. These insects are tightly entrenched in the leaf so tearing the damage and infected leaves is a necessary procedure unless the use of insecticides is planned. The damaged and infected leaf parts should be immediately burned to eliminate any eggs hatched in these leaves.
If your canna is infected and healthy leaves still exist,then I would cut off the damaged ones. In this way you will save the healthy leaves to live another day. The plant will produce new leaves eventually so don't be concerned that you have lost the plant for the rest of the season. As mentioned above,make sure you burn the damaged leaves as the pests could crawl back to the plant.
If your leaves have experience only partly damaged leaves,you can save them by manually extracting the insects. I recommend wearing gloves if you are the least bit queasy about handling insects. Again you must burn them don't just pitch them into the soil. Now if you purchase ladybugs from a source that sells ladybugs,you can release them on your garden. They will definitely target the insects or caterpillars in this form. All of the above is a fast way to remove these caterpillars from your life and garden. If you really have the urge to save the leaves then chemicals will be necessary.
CHEMICAL ANSWERS THAT REALLY WORK
There are several types of chemicals that work well one being CARBARYL INSECTICIDE which is in a liquid form making it easier for the insecticide to enter the rolled up leaf and eliminate the pest. A word of caution here in the use of this chemical as it can also wipe out insects that are beneficial to your garden. It should only be used when other methods fail to completely solve the infestation. A big word BACILLUS THURINGIENSIS INSECTICIDE is a powerful pest killer. This chemical stops the pests in their tracks from devouring the leaves and in the end wipes them out. This particular insecticide only lasts for several days so you shoud be checking daily on the results. I would apply the manual methods first before resorting to this solution. SYSTEMATIC INSECTICIDE are more powerful than normal ones because of their strong formula process. A systemtic insecticide means that it is either taken up by the roots or absorbed through the leaves of the plant. What this really means is the plant treated with such an insecticide now contains this product. This must be cautiously sprayed on the intended plant to prevent it from reaching other plants in your garden. This solution could easly ruin those plants causing as much damage as the leaf rollers. A little advise is to avoid windy days or go for the manual solutions.
A lesser chemical solution could be the use of fertilizer. Now fertilizer alone will not probably eliminate your leaf roller infestation but it will increase the plant leaves resistance to disease and insect attacks. Fertilizer also enriches your soil providing your plants with the proper nourishment to help in the fight against infection.
You can rejuvenate your garden by using any the methods above. However the most important thing to remember here is to always inspect your garden on a regularly schedule inspection. This will minimize any resultant impact from these leaf roller pests.
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