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What’s Bugging you?

 

By: Jennifer Gregory

As the weather warms and spring is truly upon us, one cannot help but to notice the explosion of new life. New, voracious life. Any walk through one’s garden can be met with dismay at the damage wrought by uninvited guests. How can you tell at a glance what pest is helping themselves to your strawberries and oranges? There are some general guidelines based on the type of damage present.

If you see fine webs, yellowing spots on the leaf’s upper surface and small red or brown spots on the underside of the leaf, then you are dealing with spider mites.spider mites

Irregular holes along the center and edge of the leaf can indicate snail or slug damage. Look also for a shiny trail of slime upon the leaf. Caterpillars can also leave irregular holes, but the damage will be greater. The softer part of leaves will be totally consumed and if main ribs are present they will be exposed. There will be no slime trails, but the evidence of their feeding will be in the form of their waste. Look for large pellet shaped droppings.

A second type of caterpillar to watch out for are Canna Leaf rollers. The canna is the only host plant to this caterpillar. They will chew small holes along the edge of a canna leaf, and roll it up around themselves. catipiller

Grasshopper feeding will also produce irregular holes as they move from leaf to leaf. It can be visually very similar to snail and slug damage, just keep an eye out for those ­tell-tell slime trails.

A leaf with tiny portions of the green flesh devoured leaving behind a delicate frame are typical of Lace bugs. Curled leaves with a waxy coating and small trail in the leaf indicate leaf miner damage.

Yellowing leaves followed by a black mold are signatures of white flies, their excrement is high in sugar from feeding on plant sap and thus a perfect medium for mold.

Last but not least, should you see a large number of ants climbing along your plant check it for scale or aphids. Scale can come in a variety of colors, from white to brown. Ants “milk” scale for their sugary excrement. Aphids come in a few different colors, but they will be in clustered groups. The most common colors of aphid are orange, yellow, and green. Ants will also be “milking” them for their honeydew.

There are organic treatments for the majority of these pests and the fine folks at Maas will be happy to help with the needed product to prevent further plant damage or loss.