Check out the UGA College of Agriculture & Environmental Sciences Social Media

Social media CAES 2Do you like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or blogs? If so, the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences may have something of interest for you!

The college has a list of many of its social media sites all in one location! Visit this site to see a list of the College’s many social media or blog sites.

Examples of information you can find include:

  • Your local Extension Office Facebook site
  • Twitter account featuring new and revised college publications (and research articles)
  • Blogs (online articles) for the landscape, pest control, row crop, and greenhouse industries
  • The UGA Trial Gardens or Coastal Botanical Gardens Twitter sites
  • Facebook pages covering invasive species, forage production, the Griffin Research and Education Garden and more …

Check out the college’s list of social media sites today at

Successful seasonal color beds

Planning before planting seasonal color beds can improve their impact & quality and reduce the potential for problems. This is a list of some UGA publications that may be helpful in planning and planting successful color beds.

Crop Rotation and Cultural Practices Help Reduce Diseases in Seasonal Color Beds by Bodie Pennisi, Department of Horticulture and Jean Woodward, Department of Plant Pathology

This publication explains how to effectively use crop rotation and cultural practices to reduce disease incidence in seasonal color beds.

Success with Herbaceous Perennials by Bodie Pennisi, Paul Thomas and Sheri Dorn – Department of Horticulture.

This publication is intended to provide the basics of perennial plant biology, ideas on design and installation, and information on cultivation and maintenance of perennial beds.

Color wheelColor Theory by Matthew Chappell1, Brad Davis2, Bodie Pennisi1 and Merritt Sullivan3  Department of Horticulture, 2 Department of Landscape Architecture, 3 Dept of Horticulture B.S. Student.

This publication explores color relationships in the landscape, ways of seeing plants in terms of color, and various ways to use color successfully in plant selection and landscape design and composition.

To find other helpful UGA publications, visit

UGA entomologist Nancy Hinkle receives regional 2014 Recognition Award in Urban Entomology

Nancy HinkleThe Entomological Society of America’s Southeastern Branch presented University of Georgia entomologist Nancy Hinkle with its 2014 Recognition Award in Urban Entomology.

Hinkle, who has been a medical-veterinary entomologist at UGA since 2001, primarily works with insect pests that affect the poultry industry. But over her career she also has researched various insects that affect humans — from fleas to head lice to mosquitoes. Because of her interest in blood-sucking insects, Hinkle has become one of the nation’s leading experts on delusory parasitosis or imagined infestations.

“Dr. Hinkle’s primary responsibility is working with the poultry industry and with veterinary or medical entomology (research), but in this work she encounters a number of problems that affect our urban clientele,” said Wayne Gardner, a UGA professor of entomology with the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. “Even though it’s not her primary responsibility, Dr. Hinkle works to address each of those problems brought to her, and she addresses them quite effectively.” Gardner nominated Hinkle for the award.

Hinkle is the fourth UGA CAES entomologist to receive this award. Ron Oetting (1990), Dan Suiter (2010) and Brian Forschler (2011) have also received this honor. As Southeastern Branch winner, Hinkle is eligible for the Entomological Society of America’s national Recognition Award in Urban Entomology, one of the most prestigious awards the society bestows.

Hinkle’s work with urban and agriculturally problematic pests is well respected, but her two decades working with delusory parasitosis created a name for the entomologist outside of the academic world.

Her interest in the subject started in the 1980s when her doctoral advisor at the University of Florida, flea researcher Phil Koehler, received a sample he did not have time to identify. He handed it off to Hinkle who spent hours trying to identify the insect. There was nothing there. With funding from the Florida Entomological Society, Hinkle found that it wasn’t uncommon for pest control operators and labs to be asked to solve imaginary pest infestations.

As an Extension entomologist, she often received — and still receives — calls from worried individuals who believe they are infested with an unknown skin parasite. This condition is sometimes found in people with no other sign of mental illness or substance abuse.

She summarized her experience with “invisible bugs” in the 2010 Annual Review of Entomology article, “Ekbom Syndrome: The Challenge of ‘Invisible Bug’ Infestations.” In 2011, Current Psychiatry Reports included her article, “Ekbom Syndrome: a delusional condition of ‘bugs in the skin’,” to help mental health professionals understand the condition.

“She’s kind of a focal point for professionals who work with people affected by this condition,” Gardner said. “She broke it down and talked about the different issues that can cause it.”

In addition to her work with human and animal ectoparasites and delusory ectoparasites, Hinkle maps the geographic range of brown recluse spiders in Georgia and illustrates how rare the feared spiders are in the state.

Hinkle is currently working on control methods for avian mites, pest flies and darkling beetles that carry salmonella and can transmit the bacteria among poultry flocks. In 2012, she received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Livestock Insect Workers Conference for her work with poultry and cattle parasites and pests.

Since her interests span the worlds of veterinary, agricultural and urban pest problems, Hinkle frequently addresses pest management conferences around the country. She has made more than 300 presentations to pest control groups, including 22 state associations, the National Conference on Urban Entomology, the Purdue Pest Management Conference and the National Pest Management Association.

Hinkle received a bachelor’s degree and a master’s in medical entomology from Auburn University and a Ph.D. from the University of Florida. She taught at the University of California, Riverside, for nine years before joining the UGA Department of Entomology.

Landscapes may be more at risk of a late frost this year

Merritt Melancon is a news editor with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

The northern and southern halves of the state vary slightly, but Georgia’s last frost typically falls between mid March and mid April. On some years the last frost has hit as late as May. University of Georgia Extension climatologist Pam Knox believes the current neutral weather pattern — one not affected by La Nina or El Nino — could put Georgia at greater risk for one of these rogue late frosts.

There’s no way for a gardener to predict or stop a late frost from hitting after they’ve put in transplants or started counting sprouts, but they can be prepared, said Paul Thomas, a UGA Extension horticulturist. Since no one knows when a frosty night might hit, gardeners should have a frost tool kit and game plan ready.

“Buying or collecting frost reduction materials prior to the frost and pre-positioning them close to the plants you want to protect is very important,” Thomas said.

One of the most effective ways to shield plants from frost is to cover them with any of a wide variety of materials, from high quality frost–reduction fabric, to blankets and sheets, to newspapers, baskets and straw.

For small shrubs such as Gardenia, a supply of old comforters or heavy blankets — maybe purchased from a local thrift store — will allow you to protect your plants from that first frost without spending much money. Covering plants with a heavier blanket will protect them more than if they’re covered with a simple sheet, Thomas said.

In addition to blankets, simple mulches — like dead leaves or grain straw — are some of the best materials for protecting small plants and flowers. For smaller plants such as young vegetable starts, lighter weight material like pine straw works great if enough is placed over the plants.

Gardeners can completely bury their newly flowering shrubs or tender garden seedlings in either leaves or straw, and then uncover them after the weather warms back up. The flowers and seedlings will be fine, he said.

Never use plastic sheeting to cover plants because plastic can trap too much heat. When the day starts to warm up, the plants can actually cook or scorch under the covering. “By 10:00 a.m. you can have significant damage to grass and young plants due to how quickly it can heat up under that plastic,” Thomas said.

It’s best to cover plants before sunset to retain some of the heat that is trapped in the soil and remove the coverings in the morning just after sunrise to prevent the plants from being scorched. The exception would be if it’s cloudy, snowing or icy.

Thomas also recommends having a collection of wooden garden stakes on hand. Place the stakes throughout your vegetable patch in order to suspend blankets over tender seedlings or delicate flowers. The stakes will prevent snow or rain soaked blankets from crushing your plants, Thomas said.

Insects and Cold Weather

Elmer Gray, University of Georgia, Entomology Department

With this winter’s unusually cold temperatures, the question of how these conditions affect insects is sure to arise. It is of little surprise that our native insects can usually withstand significant cold spells, particularly those insects that occur in the heart of winter. Insect fossils indicate that some forms of insects have been in existence for over 300 million years. As a result of their long history and widespread occurrence, insects are highly adaptable and routinely exist and thrive, despite extreme weather conditions. Vast regions of the northern-most latitudes are well known for their extraordinary mosquito and blackfly populations despite having extremely cold winter conditions.

The question then arises, how do insects survive such conditions? In short, insects survive in cold temperatures by adapting. Some insects, such as the Monarch Butterfly migrate to warmer areas. However, most insects use other techniques to survive the cold.

Vector of West Nile Virus

In temperate regions like Georgia, the shortening day length during the fall stimulates insects to prepare for the inevitable winter that follows. As a result, many insects overwinter in a particular life stage, such as eggs or larvae. Many mosquitoes overwinter in the egg stage, such as our common urban pest the Asian Tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus), waiting for warmer temperatures and sufficient water levels to hatch in the spring. Another technique is to take advantage of protected areas, as do adult Culex mosquitoes overwintering in the underground storm drain systems. Other insects overwinter as larvae or pupae in the soil, protected from the most extreme temperatures. However, this still doesn’t answer how insects survive freezing temperatures, only to become active as warmer temperatures return.

All insects have a preferred range of temperatures at which they thrive. As the temperature drops below this range the insects become less active until they eventually cannot move. A gradual decline in temperatures, coupled with a shortening day length, serves to prepare an insect to tolerate freezing temperatures. Several factors are important to this tolerance.

The primary thing that an insect has to avoid is the formation ice crystals within their body. Ice crystals commonly form around some type of nucleus. As a result, overwintering insects commonly stop feeding so as to not have food material in their gut where ice crystals can form. This reduction in feeding will also result in a reduction in water intake.

A degree of desiccation increases the concentration of electrolytes in the insect hemolymph (blood) and tissues. In addition, insects that can tolerate the coldest of temperatures often convert glycogen to glycerol. These electrolytes and glycerol create a type of insect antifreeze. This will lower the freezing point of the insect to well below freezing, a condition described as supercooling. When this occurs, the insect can withstand extremely cold temperatures for extended periods.

However, at some point insects will suffer increased mortality, possibly due to desiccation, toxicity or starvation. Nevertheless, insects are well adapted to survive freezing temperatures, especially after a few 100 million years to perfect their systems. It is generally assumed that introduced pest insects from sub- and tropical areas would be more susceptible to extended cold spells, but depending on their ability to find local refuges and their numbers and adaptability, they likely will remain viable and persist as pests as well.

In summary, entomologists don’t expect the cold winter to have a significant impact on insect populations this spring. Local conditions related to moisture and overall seasonal temperatures (early spring/late spring) will play a much more important role in insect numbers as we move from winter to summer and prepare for the insects that will be sure to follow.

UGA experts share deer control tips

Sharon Dowdy is a news editor with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

Gardeners, and deer, love pansies and hostas. Image credit - Mark Hurley
Gardeners, and deer, love pansies and hostas. Image credit – Mark Hurley

“When it comes to wildlife damage in landscapes and agricultural plantings, the most common problem is deer feeding and browsing damage — especially in the winter and early spring,” said Paul Pugliese, a University of Georgia Extension agent in Bartow County.

A hungry deer in the winter will eat just about any vegetation and can easily consume four pounds or more of plant material each day, he said.

Plant prickly plants

To help keep Bambi and his buddies from destroying landscape plants, UGA Extension home vegetable horticulturist Bob Westerfield suggests planting varieties that are harder to swallow, literally.

“Tougher plants like hollies and junipers are usually less desirable to deer,” he said. “I’m not saying they won’t eat them, but the prickly leaves make it more difficult.”

Westerfield says plants like hostas, pansies and fleshy succulents are “like ice cream” to deer.

(A publication with a complete list of deer tolerant ornamental plants can be found on the UGA Extension publication website.)

Change odor repellents frequently

Odor repellents can also be used to keep deer at bay, but Pugliese and Westerfield both view them as temporary fixes.

“Odor repellents … wear off when it rains,” Pugliese said. “If used, they should be applied at least once a month, or after every rainfall, from early fall until late winter. If you miss a timely application, the end result will be deer damage.”

If food is extremely scarce, he has seen deer ignore the repellents despite the taste or odor. “Deer don’t develop resistance to repellents, but they do get use to them,” he said.

Preventatives like garlic sticks and sprays will work longer if rotated, Westerfield added. On his farm in Pike County, he hung garlic sticks in his pear tree to keep deer from eating all the fruit. “What I discovered is the deer must like garlic-flavored pears,” he said.

Mesh or electric fences

Personally, Westerfield recommends building a fence to block deer from vegetable gardens. Home garden centers sell what Westerfield calls “a thin version” of deer fencing. He orders 7 ft. tall heavy gauge deer fencing online.

Deer recently chewed a hole through this. “The next level for our farm will be an electric fence. Electricity will be the first welcome to our garden from now on,” said a clearly frustrated Westerfield.

Todd Hurt, training coordinator for the UGA Center for Urban Agriculture, was so frustrated by deer destroying his landscape that he bought a Scarecrow Sprinkler. The device’s manufacturer claims a blast of water from the motion activated sprinkler will “scare animals away, teaching them to avoid the area in the future.”

“It seemed to work. It got me every time I would forget about it,” Hurt said. “It needs a constant supply of water pressure so I had to connect it to PVC pipe instead of a water hose because the hose will swell or burst. And, it was pretty strong and would move on the stake so the stake needs extra support.”

For more information on deer control in home landscapes, contact your local UGA Extension office at 1-800-ASK-UGA1.

Related Story – There are no truly deer-resistant plants

Online Information from EPA on Protecting Pets from Fleas & Ticks

Dog flea, Pest and Diseases Image Library,
Dog flea, Pest and Diseases Image Library,

Source: SR IPM News South

As a part of the Agency’s effort to build a more user-friendly website, EPA has redesigned its online information about protecting pets from fleas and ticks to make it simpler for visitors to find the information they need quickly and easily.

The Agency has reformatted the content using various tools to allow readers to scan content quickly. Additionally, these resources are now easier to read on mobile devices.

Visit the Protecting Pets from Fleas and Ticks Resource Directory at

LD50: A Measure of Product Toxicity

Taken from the publication Insecticide Basics for the Pest Management Professional

Daniel R. Suiter, UGA Department of Entomology & Michael E. Scharf, UFL Department of Entomology and Nematology

The MSDS provides specific information about a product’s toxicity and is expressed as an LD50. LD is an abbreviation for lethal dose, and 50 refers to 50 percent of the test animal’s population. An LD50, therefore, is a specific dose (or quantity) of a product known to be lethal to half (50 percent) of the test animals (typically lab rats) exposed individually to the reported dose. Because of the calculations involved in determining lethal doses, the LD50 is the most commonly reported value because it represents the most accurate average based on responses of test subjects. For example, LD50 is generally more accurate than LD25, LD75, or LD99 (the doses that are lethal to 25, 75, and 99 percent of the test population).

Relationship between LD 50 & toxicityThere is an inverse relationship between product toxicity and LD50 value. Products with lower LD50 values are more hazardous and pose a greater risk than products with higher LD50 values (Figure 1). For example, product A with an LD50 = 400 mg/kg is more toxic than product B with an LD50 = 600 mg/kg. In other words, to kill 50 percent of a group of test animals would require less of the more toxic product A (LD50 = 400 mg/kg) than the less toxic product B (LD50 = 600 mg/kg).

For liquid concentrates, the LD50 reported on the product’s MSDS is for the product in its concentrated form (i.e., before it’s mixed in water). For most ready-to-use products, such as most granules, baits, and dusts, the MSDS-reported LD50 is for the product in its useable form because these products can be used when purchased (i.e., they do not require further dilution or mixing).

For products that must be diluted in water, the resulting LD50 increases considerably upon dilution. The diluted product becomes much less hazardous, where hazard is a function of a product’s concentration and the amount of exposure to it. Consider the insecticide Premise 0.5 SC. In its concentrated form, it is 5.65 percent imidacloprid. When diluted in water to the usable concentration of 0.05 percent imidacloprid, the active ingredient has undergone a 113-fold reduction in concentration. As a consequence of dilution, the product’s potential hazard is reduced considerably.

How is a Product’s LD50 Determined? LD50s are most commonly determined by testing the product’s acute (single dose), oral toxicity against laboratory rats. To obtain the data necessary to calculate an LD50, a single dose (quantity) of the candidate product is force-fed to each one of a known number of healthy rats. The procedure is repeated for multiple doses of the product. At some pre-determined time after exposure, mortality is tallied. From these mortality data, statistical tests are then used to compute the product’s LD50.

Because the LD50 of all products is determined by the same methodology and in the same manner (acute, oral toxicity to laboratory rats), we are able to compare LD50 values among and between all products to determine the relative risk associated with these products.

In some cases, a product’s LD50 cannot be calculated as a single value because not enough of it can be force-fed to the test animals to induce sufficient mortality to enable the toxicologist (scientists who study how pesticides work at the molecular level) to calculate an LD50. In cases where test animals cannot be killed by force-feeding, the LD50 is often reported as >2,500, >5,000, or typically another large, even, round number. The number is usually preceded by a greater than sign (>), indicating that the product is not very toxic to laboratory rats. In such cases, toxicologists are essentially making the statement, “We cannot calculate the LD50 because we cannot give the test animals enough product to kill enough of them to allow us to calculate an LD50. Therefore, we believe that the true LD50 is larger than the highest dose we have tested.”

In addition to determining a product’s acute, oral toxicity to rats, scientists may also determine the product’s toxicity when it is absorbed through the skin (called dermal toxicity) or breathed (called inhalation toxicity). Other animals on which oral, dermal, and inhalation toxicities may be determined include mice, quail, rabbits, and mallard ducks. These additional pieces of toxicological information, and associated ecological considerations, can be found on the MSDS in a section on environmental considerations.

See the rest of the publication at  Insecticide Basics for the Pest Management Professional

Relationship between LD50 and signal words

Online training for the pest control industry

Past trainings and webinars have been recorded and made available online. For more information, click on the links below. Not all webinars originate from Georgia, so not all information may be pertinent to our area.

This website lists the available online trainings.

Dealing with People Who Think They are Infested with Invisible Bugs February 19, 2014

Dr. Nancy Hinkle, Professor of Medical-Veterinary Entomology at the University of Georgia.

The presentation is available as a podcast at these two sites. You may need to download QuickTime to view the video.


Home Invaders (Kudzu bugs and others) October 2, 2013

Dr Dan Suiter, Professor and Program Leader-Urban Entomology, University of Georgia.


Category 41 (Mosquito Control) Exam Review to prepare applicators to take the GA Department of Agriculture commercial pesticide applicator exam June 2013

Elmer Gray, UGA Entomology Department.


The Bugs That Won’t Go Away: Your role in delusional infestation March 27, 2013

Dr Nancy Hinkle, UGA Entomologist

Dr. Peter Lepping, Consultant Psychiatrist, Visiting Professor at Glyndwr University in Wrexham, Wales


Ant Control Made Easy May 17, 2012

How Can You Tell if You Have Odorous House Ants? Dr. Karen Vail, University of Tennessee

Understanding the Biology and Behavior of Carpenter Ants Dr. Dan Suiter, University of Georgia

Managing Problems with Pharaoh Ants Dr. Michael Merchant, Texas A&M University


Fire Ant Control Made Easy May 10, 2012 

How Can You Tell if You Have Fire Ants? Dr. Jason Oliver, Tennessee State University

Understanding the Biology and Behavior of Fire Ants, Vicky Bertagnolli-Heller, Clemson University

Managing Imported Fire Ants, Dr. Bastiaan Drees, Professor, Texas A&M University

Biological Control of Fire Ants, Dr. Lawrence Graham, Auburn University