Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Kudzu Bug Now Found in Transylvania and Union Counties

Kudzu bug (a.k.a. bean plataspid, Megacopta cribraria Fabricus) has recently been confirmed on kudzu in Union County and has potentially been found on wisteria in Transylvania County, North Carolina. I am awaiting the samples from Transylvania to confirm this identification. It is likely in other parts of the state, but because we have not done a concentrated search, its distribution in North Carolina is largely unknown.

Kudzu bug is a legume feeder and will feed on soybean in large numbers. We are concerned that this new invasive insect will become a major yield reducer in the future. Confirmed hosts are mainly legumes, but include cotton, wheat, and potato. Although many plants are confirmed hosts, kudzu bug may not feed extensively on them or may not reproduce on them. Soybean is the main agronomic host for this insect.

We are tracking this pest and would appreciate your contacting Dominic Reisig by electronic mail or telephone (252)793-4428 x133 if you find this pest in a non-confirmed county. If you can also provide GPS coordinates, as well as the plant on which it was found, it would enhance our ability to respond to this new threat. Please use caution not to spread this pest from field to field if you find it.

From: Dominic Reisig, NCSU Extension Entomologist

Friday, May 27, 2011

Food Preservation Classes Offered

North Carolina Cooperative Extension - Henderson County Center is offering a series of Food Preservation classes to the community. Please call 828-697-4891 for more information or to pre-register for any of these learning opportunities.

Canning High and Low Acid Foods
May 31st, 2011 @ 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM, June 6th, 2011 @ 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM, or June 6th, 2011 @ 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Jackson Park, Hendersonville, NC

Learn the latest information on canning high and low acid foods! Cost of class is $10.00.

Soft Spreads, Pickling, Freezing and Drying
June 2nd, 2011 @ 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Jackson Park, Hendersonville, NC

Learn how to make jams, jellies, pickles and relishes and the process of freezing and drying foods. Cost of class is $10.00 or attend 2 classes for $15.00.

Food Preservation - General Information
June 11th, 2011 @5:00pm
Hendersonville, NC

Covering all areas of safe food preservation. Includes Canning high and low acid foods, Soft Spreads, Pickling, Freezing and Drying foods. Cost of class is $15.00.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Drought Monitor Update

The North Carolina Drought Advisory issued by the Drought Management Advisory Council has been updated to reflect drought conditions on May 24, 2011 indicated on the weekly U.S. Drought Monitor of North Carolina. Luckily, western North Carolina has not been included in the recommendations to implement drought response actions. Click here for more info on areas included in the update.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Mosquitos Are Here

Rain and warmer weather are closely followed by increases in mosquito activity particularly with Asian tiger mosquito. Most people still think of swamps, ponds, etc. as the source of the mosquitoes that show up in their yards. However, in most residential areas the source is more likely to be all of those small and inconspicuous water sources that are prime mosquito breeding sites. So, before people start planning a chemical assault on their yards as the solution to their mosquito problems, they should start with the simpler and more long-term approach of eliminating "collectibles". We don't mean souvenirs; we're talking about all of those objects that collect and retain rainwater.
- Bird baths - simply flush them out with a garden hose. The birds will also appreciate the fresh water.
- Old cans, tires, etc. - empty them and get rid of them.
- Outdoor flower pots - empty the water from the dishes/trays underneath them. Your plants have plenty of water without the overflow. This also helps reduce fungus gnat problems.
- Remove all of that built-up debris from your gutters. The water and decaying material attract mosquitoes
- Kids' pools - if they're not being used by kids, they're probably being used by the mosquitoes.
- Drainage ditches - they're meant to collect water *temporarily*. Keep them free of debris so that water flows out.
- Decorative fish ponds can be a source of mosquitoes if they contain a lot vegetation which provides hiding places for the mosquito larvae. 'Mosquito Dunks' are an option here.
- Tree holes - When limbs fall off trees, the remaining hole in the trunk can collect water. Flush that out or put a small piece of a mosquito dunk into it.
Many people ask about treating shrubs in their yard. Mosquitoes *may* be resting there during the day but whether it "controls" a mosquito problem is debatable. Similarly, people that use outdoor foggers will definitely kill mosquitoes but depending on the time of day/evening that they use it, they may be missing the peak activity.
One other point to remember - mosquitoes have no concept of property lines. Mosquito management takes a neighborhood effort to be truly effective.
We have information for you here.

From: Mike Waldvogel and Charles Apperson, Extension Entomology

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Henderson County Master Gardeners Attend State Conference

Henderson County Master Gardeners attended the NC Master Gardener Conference in Raleigh this past week. The group will be hosting the 2012 conference in Asheville next May. They spent the week learning about gardening in North Carolina as well as promoting the upcoming event to their peers.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Predatory Ground Beetle Calosoma

Beetles in the genus Calosoma are called caterpillar hunters. They are among the largest in the Carabidae ground beetle family. Adults and larvae are active predators. Calosoma sycophanta is a large, metallic green beetle that was imported from Europe to New England for the biological control of the gypsy moth in 1905. The larva feeds day and night, consuming 50 caterpillars during its two-week developmental period. The adult will eat several hundred caterpillars during a life span of two to four years. There are also several native species of Calosoma. We have had several reports of these insects already this spring.
From Steve Bambara, NCSU Extension Entomologist