Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Japanese Beetles are Emerging

Japanese beetles are now beginning to emerge which means egg laying will start in early July. Effective applications of insecticides for white grubs will be mid July - early August. Despite the dry weather earlier this year, the beetles are right on schedule. See the image to the left to see the full life cycle of Japanese Beetles.

Fire ants Moving throughout NC

In the past few years I have seen fire ant mounds in the southern most areas of Henderson County. Fire ants have also become quite active where present throughout the NC and baits will work quite well in the spring when workers are actively foraging. Be sure and use fresh bait and carefully follow label directions. Take the time to understand the product and that most baits take several weeks or more than a month to be fully effective. Click here for a full article on fire ant management.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Herbicide Carryover in Hay, Manure, Compost, and Grass Clippings:

Caution to Hay Producers, Livestock Owners, Farmers, and Home Gardeners
Many farmers and home gardeners have reported damage to vegetable and flower crops after applying horse or livestock manure, compost, hay, and grass clippings to the soil. The symptoms reported include poor seed germination; death of young plants; twisted, cupped, and elongated leaves; misshapen fruit; and reduced yields. These symptoms can be caused by other factors, including diseases, insects, and herbicide drift. Another possibility for the source of these crop injuries should also be considered: the presence of herbicides in the manure, compost, hay, or grass clippings applied to the soil.

To read the full article from NC State University, click here.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Pesticide Collection Date Set

The North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, in cooperation with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Henderson County center will be offering a Pesticide Collection Day for residents in Henderson, Buncombe, Haywood, Polk, Transylvania and surrounding counties. The local site manager will be Mr. Marvin A. Owings, Jr. Agricultural Extension Agent for Henderson County. Collection will be Tuesday, July 20th from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at Jackson Park.

Nearly all pesticide products will be accepted. For liquid pesticide containers larger than 5 gal or for unlabeled pesticides, please contact the Cooperative Extension Office for information before bringing to the collection event. No gas cylinders are accepted at the event; however, assistance information can be provided. Contact the Cooperative Extension Office for more information. Don't miss this opportunity for residents in Henderson and surrounding counties. For more information contact the Henderson County Extension Center at (828) 697-4891.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Be on the lookout for bagworms now!

Bagworms hatched a couple weeks ago and are still quite small. Therefore they can be difficult to find although they have constructed tiny bags that can be seen on leaves and needles of infested plants. It is easier to look for the large bags left from last year’s bagworm adults. These will be empty, but are a good indication that small bagworms are likely roaming a plant. This is because female bagworms are flightless and overwinter and lay eggs in their bags on trees and shrubs. Thus, baby bagworms hatch and grow up on the same plant as their mother was on the previous year.

Early in the year the best strategy is to hand pick the bags before eggs hatch to prevent infestations. Although it is too late for that now, at this point the small caterpillars have not eaten much or caused much damage. This increases dramatically as they will grow until they easily defoliate branches, causing unsightly ornamental plants. Small caterpillars are also much easier to kill than large ones. This is because they have less body mass to dilute toxins and their protective bags are not as thick. Therefore less toxic chemicals such as Bt formulations can be very effective when targeting small caterpillars. Other chemical options that are considered compatible with natural enemies are Acelepryn, TriStar, and spinosad. More information can be found in Ornamentals and Turf Insect Information Note No. 81.

Steve Bambara, NCSU Extension Entomologist

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Bullington Center has new website

The Bullington Center, once the nursery of Bob Bullington, is on 12 acres of rolling land. Visitors are welcome to visit and enjoy the gardens which includes a therapy garden, shade garden, perennial borders, native woodland garden, pumpkin patch and herb garden.

These gardens incorporate some of the many unusual mature trees that Mr. Bullington collected and introduced to the area. There is a half-mile nature tail through the wooded area of the grounds. The facilities at the Center include a multipurpose room, a greenhouse and headhouse (used for hands-on workshops) and an amphitheater.

Click here to visit the new Bullington Center website and for more information.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Fireflies are Back

It has been an entire year, but with a good rain behind us, the lightning bugs have returned “right on time.” Hopefully, this will be a good year for these delightful beetles. Be sure to visit a wooded area with moist soils some evening.

Lightning bugs (or fireflies) produce a heat-free source of light through a biochemical reaction. The light flashing patterns are used to attract mates. Different species have different flash patterns. There are even flashing predator beetles which attract a meal by mimicking the flash of the female and wait for their meal to arrive. In some species, the larvae, which live in shallow soil, are known to glow, also. What could be better than the miracle of light coming from an insect? How about . . . the larvae eat snails and slugs! It doesn't get much better than that.

Steve Bambara, Extension Entomologist, NCSU