Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Fall Webworms

Fall webworms are beginning to show up on trees throughout Haywood County. In a recent article in North Carolina Pest News, Stephen J. Toth posted the following article.

We usually think of the fall webworm as a tree foliage pest of late summer/early fall. That is generally true. However, what was once thought to be a first generation may really be a different race of fall webworm that comes out earlier. There seems to be enough evidence from Kansas State University entomologists to support this hypothesis. True or not, and earlier than I remember, this week I've noticed the beginnings of fall webworm webbing on sourwood. Though it webs other trees, sourwood, pecan and persimmon are among its favorite hosts.Fall webworm damage accrues over the summer. They usually cause little long-term damage to the health of the trees they defoliate unless the trees are completely defoliated year after year. At any one location, the populations of fall webworms wax and wane so that they are conspicuous and damaging for a year or two and then the populations seem to disappear.Through the summer, the webs become filled with cast skins, droppings and dead leaves. The web is enlarged to encompass fresh, green leaves until the web may become two to three feet in length. Small trees infested with several broods of caterpillars may be entirely enclosed in webs. After feeding for four or five weeks, the caterpillars make it to the ground, spin cocoons and pupate in mulch or soil and continue the life cycle. There are two or three generations each year in North Carolina depending upon how early or late in the spring the first moths emerge. They overwinter as pupae in cocoons in the litter.White moths emerge to mate and lay 350 to 900 eggs on the lower leaf surface. The hairy caterpillars spin the webs as they feed. Fall webworms can be destroyed by pulling down the webs and destroying the caterpillars if the webs are in reach of a pole. If the webs are within reach of a hose-end sprayer, several insecticides can be sprayed for control. Insecticides work best when the caterpillars are young. Thus it is best to treat as soon as the webs are first noticed. If the trees are too tall for equipment used by the amateur horticulturist, many professional landscapers and arborists offer tree spraying as a part of their services. Bacillus thuringiensis and Orthene are two of several pesticides labeled for fall webworm control, but there are other choices.Ornamentals and Turf Insect Information Note No. 46 has additional information on the control of fall webworms (see You can also view a short QuickTime clip accessible through the Internet at:

For additional information, contact me at 828-456-3575.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Fun Video from YouTube

Occasionally I like to look on YouTube for interesting videos about plants and insects. Here is a great time lapsed video of a beetle skeletonizing a viburnum leaf. Enjoy!

Attack of Green June Beetles

Green June beetle adults often emerge in large numbers following a period of rainy weather that softens the soil. Henderson County residents are already reporting them. They buzz around the yard and may seem menacing, but they are completely harmless to humans. Green June beetles are most common in older lawns and pastures with high organic content soils or which have been fertilized with manure. The adult June beetle is an attractive green and gold-colored beetle, which feeds as a minor chafer on the foliage and fruit of trees in mid summer.

Sevin insecticide can be used to protect foliage and fruit, also, if needed. Ornamentals and Turf Insect Note No. 67 provides information on controlling green June beetle grubs, which is rarely necessary for the homeowner.

The amazing behavior of grubs crawling above ground on their backs is also characteristic of this insect. Click here for a link to a movie clip of this behavior on the University of Arkansas website.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Henderson County Pesticide Collection Day

NC Cooperative Extension is pleased to announce our annual Pesticide Disposal Collection Day will be held this year on Tuesday, July 29th from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM. The collection will be located in Jackson Park in the parking lot of fields 8 & 9 (behind the Extension Center). There is no charge and we will collect any pesticides (insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, etc.) that are in original containers and are clearly labeled. Materials of unknown identity, paints, or other hazardous waste will NOT be accepted.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Garden Tour 2009

This year’s garden tour was a great success thanks to our tour committee. We had well over 500 people attend this annual tour that is designed to educate and inspire participants to improve on their own gardens. Our committee has already begun to search out gardens for the 2009 tour. If you would like to have your garden considered for the next tour or if you know of someone who would, please contact me at 456-3575.