All sorts of bugs

LibbyLizApril 25, 2007

I've been listening to crickets for days now, like past springs through fall.

I don't mind the serenade.

I also had the company of so many grasshopper babies in the lawn that it looked like I was being attacked while mowing.

They're cute.

I know they mostly like crops, but are grasshoppers bad for the lawn?

Do crickets do any lawn & plant damage?

I haven't noticed either in my small perennial garden, but some rather large grasshoppers were eating off my annual container gardening pot plants last summer.

Small & large black beetles, watermelon-striped moth-eared June bugs, lace-like winged green bugs, giant mosquito-looking bugs, mosquitoes, moths & earwigs have been noticed around our house as well.

Do the beetles & unknown green & giant mosquito-like bugs do damage?

I know the moths do since I've found them throughout the lawn from the moment renting our home & have been dealing with dying patches in the lawn ever since.

All the bugs have obviously brought black widows to our place because of the lack of birds to eat them first since water's not nearby & adult trees are sparse.

And the many dragon flies & large jumping spiders that I find so pretty haven't done their job eating the possibly offensive bugs.

The black widows I do not like/want, because they have made their way indoors looking for the bugs that also come inside through gaps under & to the side of the front door.

I put down a sticky trap to the side of the door inside to catch what bugs I can & a new door sweep was installed, though a bit short.

Foam tape didn't seem to help much with the side gaps & the only thing to fix the problem completely would be a new door frame which the landlord's maintenance crew won't build.

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Additionally we get plenty of yellow jackets that nest in bad places & swarm us if we get close; eves near the patio table that we use for summer dining, & in the gapes of the "plastic" lawn shed that stores bikes, golf equipment, mower, garden cart, wheelbarrow, outdoor toys & broadcast spreader that we get into often.

I thought these "bees" were supposed to eat bugs & leave people alone!

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 1:07PM
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stevation(z5a Utah)

Yellowjackets are a serious pain in the neck, especially if you try to eat outside -- they're attracted to the smell of meat. You can buy yellowjacket traps -- cylindrical things that they climb up into for some sweet bait but can't get out of. We also get regular wasps that build paper nests under eaves and things. They seem remarkably timid, and I can usually knock down the nests and crush them without getting attacked, although having a can of wasp spray handy is always a good safeguard.

I think the large mosquito-looking bugs are crane flies (or "mosquito hawks") which actually eat mosquitoes, so they're great to have around. Lacewings eat bad bugs, too, like ladybugs do.

I had a small infestation of grasshoppers in one flowerbed several years ago and decided to not spray to see if natural predators would take care of them. We have mantises in plentiful supply, but they're no match for a growing horde of grasshoppers. After seeing the hopper population get out of control the next year, we started spraying Ortho Max to kill them. They ate the tassels off my corn so the ears didn't get pollinated right, and I was REALLY mad that they destroyed the corn! I think you should try to knock them down before they keep multiplying. When they're little, they're more susceptible to a poison bait you can sprinkle in the garden or lawn that they eat. It's worth a try.

Both beetles and moths will create grubs that can harm your lawn. I always apply Grubex pesticide to my lawn in early June and usually in the fall, too. It's granules you can spread like lawn fertilizer. Some of the beetles also have larva that will bore into tree trunks and kill the trees. Fruit trees are watched carefully for signs of borers.

Anyway, I generally don't like pesticide chemicals, but after failing to see natural controls work, I've had to use them somewhat regularly, and I'm especially careful with regular applications to my apple, cherry, and nectarine trees. I think it's very hard to grow fruit without pesticides. And lawns need a little help to keep grubs out, too.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 2:16PM
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Alright, so ALL beetle & moth larva are bad for the lawns, as well as the grasshopper nymphs.

If they return, & they probably will, I'll have to do something about them then since nature hasn't taken care of them for me.

Of my 19 years in PA, 16 years in WA State (9 on the west side & 7 on the east side) & two years in AR, I never saw anything like that funny June beetle I mentioned!

Do you know if you prod them with a twig they make a hissing/chirp sound? LOL

Oh yeah, we get two praying mantis every year, one green & one tan adult & they never stay around. =(

I haven't seen a single lady bug in our yard since moving to Utah.

I have one of those yellow jacket traps, but turkey ham, which is supposed to be the best, doesn't seem to last too long.

I've also tried soda, kool aid, hummingbird nectar (even though we get only one as a rare visitor), & other meat items.

I don't think the hormone liquid has ever lasted too long either.

I think it may help to have the trap in the shade & I wish the only tree that gives shade, which is a distance away from their nest, was closer.

Have you seen any bee/wasp/hornet spray made from mint?

Many years ago I got a can & it worked extremely well, but I haven't seen anything like it since.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 4:40PM
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I've started using the larger bait things that are supposed to last 10 weeks. That way, I only have to change the bait twice a year. So far this year, I've only caught two. Last year, I'd often find 10-15 a day, although maybe not this early in the season.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 5:50PM
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You're talking about the yellow plastic hormone-filled inserts?

So they work better than the oily liquid?

Yes it's a bit early in the season for swarms of them, but there are a few around now rebuilding nests that were knocked down last year.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 6:19PM
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"You're talking about the yellow plastic hormone-filled inserts?"

Those are the ones I've used the past two years. They seem to work well, if for no other reason than that I don't have to remember to refill. Also, the cotton ball seems to fall out regularly when I'm emptying the dead wasps. I don't seem as prone to losing the plastic thing.

I put the bait in the traps because we saw a bunch of them a few weeks ago, but we've seen very few since.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 7:11PM
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Oh, do those funny little roll-up bugs do any sort of damage?

I don't know what their real name is as I've always just heard them called rollie-pollies (sp).

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 9:04PM
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Those bugs are actually crustaceans, believe it or not. Mostly, they eat dead and decaying stuff, and they can be beneficial, but they can sometimes eat vegetables, too.

Here is a link that might be useful: sow bugs/pill bugs

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 10:44PM
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Well, I don't have veges. We're not allowed to grow them in military housing. There's a common garden about a mile away near some horse stables for housing occupants to use. But I've heard how easy it is for anyone driving by to steal & they do every summer, so I'm not going that route.

I talked with the fellow at the nursery again, like last year, about the sod web worms & he said they're already back but will start doing their damage anywhere from 1 to 10 May.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2007 at 11:13PM
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Libbyliz--I have a couple of questions for you.

How close are you to the areas where they determined the soil is toxic (PCB levels)?

Have you had any of the mold issues?

Just out of curiosity, which nursery is that? Let's not advertise or anything, but is it more difficult to get to with the construction on Gentile? If so, we've probably met.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2007 at 12:41AM
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I think the PCB levels were determined to be inadequate & were/are in a different area of housing.

I only recently heard of mold issues, from my son from a friend of his, who I think lives in old housing, which is the section (noted above) that's downhill & across a main road from us. We haven't had any mold issues here, that I know of.

We probably have met, I wouldn't doubt it! LOL It is the nursery/greenhouses on Gentile, that's open to the public, across from the new Coldwater Creek housing development. *WINK*

Has the Siberian Elm seed parade started where you live? Today as I was on the top of Hill doing some shopping the seeds were blowing everywhere! The little tree behind the wall that's at the edge of our back lawn hasn't started dropping its seeds yet though.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2007 at 4:56PM
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stevation(z5a Utah)

So BP, are you saying you work in a nursery? That would explain all your expert knowledge on things! If so, how long have you worked in the plant business? For me, it's just a hobby, but sometimes I entertain the idea of opening my own nursery someday -- maybe as a second career after I "retire." Am I crazy to think about that? I'd be interested in your thoughts on the difficulties and benefits of being in the business. Perhaps the biggest hurdle to doing so would be my other "someday" desire -- to spend summers in a lake house in upper Wisconsin or Michigan! Yeah, we can dream, can't we?

By the way, I don't think it's advertising just to say where you work. I'm sure GW wouldn't delete your post just for that.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2007 at 6:09PM
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stevation(z5a Utah)

OK, I just read GW's advertising policy, and I guess I was wrong to assume you could even mention the name. Pretty strict! I think you're right to be careful.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2007 at 6:13PM
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I don't work in one. I think the one where Libby used to work is one where I shop pretty much every spring. I usually go to that one or one in Bountiful (it's closer, but they don't have as many plants). There's a little one in Kaysville that is close and that I used to go to, but their parking lot only holds about 10 cars (literally).

I think there's another thread where I mentioned the names of the nurseries I like, but I didn't mention it here because I thought that might put Libby in a spot with GW's policy.

Actually, a lot of my knowledge comes from being interested in gardening when I was in grade school and high school (long ago) in Illinois. After I bought a house here, I had to learn a lot because conditions are so different from what I grew up with. In Illinois, we'd basically just stick seeds in the ground and watch stuff grow like crazy.

I was thinking about putting in a buffalo grass lawn and was googling it and found a thread in the Rocky Mountain Garden forum here. I started asking questions on a few forums here and read everything that was posted.

Before I found this place, I lost a small tree to chlorosis, and had a large tree that was very pretty--bright yellow. The problem is that it was supposed to be green. Thanks to several posters on the RMG forum and the SCM (Soil Compost and Mulch) forum, it's now doing fine.

As for spending summers in upper Wisconsin or Michigan, what would you do the years that summer falls on a Wednesday? Ok, it's not _that_ cold there. But if you jump in one of the deeper lakes, you'd think it was winter.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2007 at 8:45PM
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I think there's another thread where I mentioned the names of the nurseries I like, but I didn't mention it here because I thought that might put Libby in a spot with GW's policy.

Oh, I'm sure I already did that on another thread.

Have you been to the one in Uintah? Parking's not all that bad & plant selection is decent, but neither are big like the other nursery. I just don't like the fact that only one shopping cart will fit down an aisle at the one in Uintah.

By the way, I spoke too soon about the Siberian Elm seed parade not hitting "my" property yet. It started this afternoon.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2007 at 10:35PM
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stevation(z5a Utah)

Like little ticker tapes floating down on a New York City parade, the Siberian Elm seeds are drifting all around my neighborhood now, too. These are evil trees! :-(

    Bookmark   May 2, 2007 at 11:37AM
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It looks like my Black Tartarian cherry found a polinator in the neighborhood, as there are a few forming cherries on our tree. Unfortunately, there was something else red on there that I was not as happy to see. Tiny bright red little bugs, almost looked like tiny bumps, on the stems of the leaves. None on the trunk or anywhere else. I applied something called Pyola that combines pyrethrin, a long-popular insecticide derived from chrysanthemum flowers, with canola oil extracted from rapeseed. I had used it last year, but I applied a 2% solution two days ago and this morning they are still around. I tried taking a picture, but I really need to figure out the manual focus since auto-focus gives me a blury image at that range. Any thoughts before I take my baggie with a couple of them to a nursery for help in identifying and controlling them?

    Bookmark   May 2, 2007 at 12:11PM
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"Have you been to the one in Uintah?"

Sorry--I'm a transplant and don't always recognize places. I thought Uintah was a mountain range. Is there a town by that name nearby?

Cyclewest--how small are those bugs? The only bright red bugs I can think of are really tiny (mites), and are related to spiders rather than insects.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2007 at 10:48PM
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It's a small town (population 1,303 as of 2007) situated between the SE edge of South Ogden & NE edge of South Weber. It's in the valley off 89 near the junction of 84.

I'm of the mindset "don't blink or you'll miss it" because I grew up near & went to school in a "one horse/one stop light town" (population 930 as of 2007) in PA. ;)

    Bookmark   May 3, 2007 at 9:51AM
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My neighbor seemed to think that they turn into larger, black bugs (he cut down his cherry tree this year because of them, nice!). I left the infected leaves where someone is to call me back with identification. They basically recommended triple action something, fungicide, insecticide, and I forgot what the third action was. The odd thing is that you can't really see a head, legs or anything, so I'm wondering if they're eggs? I'll post a picture on the link, but the grass background is remarkably clear while the leaves themselves are totally blurry.

Here is a link that might be useful: first picture, red spots circled

    Bookmark   May 3, 2007 at 1:21PM
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stevation(z5a Utah)

It's too hard to see in that blurry photo. Can you try again and get a clear photo for us?

    Bookmark   May 3, 2007 at 2:47PM
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Is there a way to manually focus the camera?

You may also be too close to the tree when you're taking the picture. The camera may only be able to focus on certain distances.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2007 at 2:55PM
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Does your camera have a close up function? On our Sony it's a flower symbol.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2007 at 3:59PM
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It really didn't take that long to figure out my camera, just to load them up. Still need to install and read up (figure out) putting pictures in here, but here's a link of my "bugs" I think they're eggs. The IFA guy said that there weren't any bugs in the bag I left them. I tried triple action plus a few days ago, it has neem oil. These pictures are this afternoon.

Here is a link that might be useful: Ailing cherry trees (yes, even the new one)

    Bookmark   May 11, 2007 at 8:46PM
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According to Larry Sager on the gardening show this morning, they are part of the tree that identifies the species or something. Feel free to comment on the damaged leaves, but apparently the red part is part of the tree. Have I never seen a semi-healthy cherry tree? Apparently not.......

    Bookmark   May 12, 2007 at 2:30PM
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stevation(z5a Utah)

You know, I had a suspicion that the red dots were just part of the natural leaves, but I wasn't sure. It seems that I've seen those on cherry stems before, but I was busy and didn't get around to inspecting my young cherries to get back to you on it.

As far as the chewed leaves, it could be a number of things. I have some weevils that attack some of my shrubs, and I think during the day they hide on the ground under litter or maybe they even dig down into the ground a little. Then, they come out at night and eat the leaves. But the weevil damage I have is more on the edges of leaves. If you can't see the pests that are doing this to your trees, go out late at night with a flashlight and see if you notice some bugs on the leaves. It could be earwigs, crickets, grasshoppers, beetles, or who knows what else. If the bugs are things like my weevils, you have to spray the ground around the tree and clean up any leaves or other litter around the trees to remove hiding places. Spraying the leaves during the day may not leave enough pesticide behind to kill the weevils that come out at night, so you have to spray them where they live.

Let us know what you find out!

    Bookmark   May 14, 2007 at 2:51PM
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Here's what the person who sends out the weekly IPM e-mail from the local extension office said....

"The leaves that are tattered, thoughÂI believe they may have been injured when they were very young and small by frost. It does not look like insect feeding or a disease. So unfortunately, there is nothing to be done about that. "

I guess I'm just overly cautious with all the new trees being planted! Too bad it was after I bought my second type of preventive measure. The interesting thing though, was that I totally recognized the smell of the neem oil. It must have been around for a while, because I'm sure that my grandmother used it on her flowers where I grew up in Southern California. So at least I took a trip down memory lane with my grandmother's birds of paradise, hydrangeas, roses, etc.

Thanks for everyone's input!

    Bookmark   May 14, 2007 at 11:23PM
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