Unusual growths on the leaves of an oak tree

These are cynipid leaf galls on an oak tree leaf

To read more about these and other insect pests on trees, read the publication Forest Health Guide for Georgia.

Galls are abnormal vegetative growths on trees that result from the feeding and egg laying activities of various insects and mites. Chemical secretions from the adults while laying eggs as well as the saliva from the feeding larvae cause the plant to react abnormally.

The more common gall producers on trees are aphids, beetles, jumping plant lice, midges, mites and wasps. Each species causes a swelling of plant tissue that is characteristic on specific plant parts such as the stem, twig, leaf or petiole. Most often the gall is more readily identified than the gall producer. It is convenient to identify galls and their producers simply by noting where the gall is located and also the shape of the gall. Table 2 on page 43 of the Forest Health Guide for Georgia lists some of the more common trees that are frequently attacked by gall producers along with a description and location of the gall.

Generally galls are not life threatening to trees. Oftentimes the most drastic effects are premature leaf fall and dieback of several smaller branches.

On small trees, galls should be pruned and destroyed. Leaf and twig litter that is on the ground around the base of the tree should be raked and disposed of. A few of the common species are shown in the images included here.

For information on galls, see page 42 of the publication Forest Health Guide for Georgia. This publication is produced by the Georgia Forestry Commission.

Other galls include:

Galls on black cherry
Galls on black cherry, Andy Boone, South Carolina Forestry Commission, Bugwood.org

Controlling Adult Mosquitoes

Asian tiger mosquito, Susan Ellis, Bugwood
Asian tiger mosquito, Susan Ellis, Bugwood

Elmer Gray, UGA Entomologist

Adult mosquito control is a growing business. However, depending on the local environment, success can vary. The first technique in most mosquito control programs is eliminating or treating the water where mosquito larvae develop (larviciding). In addition, some homeowners are looking for help to kill adult mosquitoes (adulticiding).

As with any pest management program, identifying the pest is extremely important. Knowing the particular species of mosquito you are targeting will help operators locate the larval habitat and devise the most efficient plan of attack.

In support of this type work, Dr. Rosmarie Kelly from the GA Department of Public Health has offered mosquito identification classes in the past and plans to do so in 2014 if the budget permits. Watch the Pest Control Alerts training calendar for information on these and other trainings. Dr. Kelly may be able to help with identifying small numbers of mosquitoes if you cannot attend these classes. Also see the information on mosquito identification in this article.

By identifying the pest species and targeting the larval habitat first, companies  can sell their program as operating in an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) manner. This is because these pesticide applicators target the pest in the most efficient manner even if that is by adulticiding. In some areas of Georgia, there can be vast acreages of low lying, wet areas that create excellent larval mosquito habitat. In this case, the best operators can do on a small scale is to larvicide the closest larval habitats where mosquito larvae are present and then adulticide around the area you are trying to protect.

ULV Application

When trying to suppress the adult mosquitoes prior to an event, some type of Ultra Low Volume (ULV) sprayer can be very helpful. There are a variety of sizes available, from those that fit in the back of a pickup truck, which can be used for whole communities to handheld units for much smaller areas. There are also some that fit on 4-wheelers, which can be handy for a smaller operation.

Permethrin is still a good choice for ULV applications, but the whole range of products available is listed in the Commercial Pest Management Handbook. As with all pesticides, follow the label closely.

With small scale adulticiding, suppression of the pest population is usually temporary. Any of the products when used properly will kill the adult mosquitoes that come in contact with the aerosol produced by the ULV machines. However if there are large areas of larval habitat surrounding the site, more mosquitoes are coming. When significant mosquito populations are present, a Wednesday and Friday evening application may be needed to provide relief for a weekend event. From an environmental, ethical and economical standpoint; it is important to only apply pesticides when significant mosquito populations are present.

One technique that has been used for a long time to monitor adult mosquito populations is the “landing rate count”. The technique consists of counting the number of mosquitoes that land on a person in a given amount of time. Consistency is extremely important with this technique. It is best if one person conducts the evaluation at a specified site, at a similar time of day, wearing similar clothing. Dark blue coveralls (most biting flies are attracted to dark colors) can be used to standardize clothing and reduce the actual number of bites received. A typically protocol could involve an individual standing  in a semi-protected area (out of the wind) for one minute, and then counting the number of mosquitoes landing on the front half of the body.  Landing rate data is important when documenting the need for adulticide applications.

Timing ULV Applications

ULV adulticiding should not be conducted during the heat of the day, when the insecticide will be carried away from the mosquito habitats by heat radiating from the ground. Adulticiding should be conducted when there are temperature inversion conditions that hold the aerosol of insecticide droplets close to the ground where the mosquitoes are active. This is usually in the early morning and later in the evening when the ground cools and the air close to the ground is cooler than the air higher up.

Barrier Sprays

Another technique that has proven effective for adult mosquito suppression is barrier sprays. Applicators apply a uniform spray to vegetation, taking care to cover the undersides of the leaves where the mosquitoes rest during the heat of the day. The adult mosquitoes are killed when they contact the residual chemical. Any type of pressurized sprayer can be used. The active ingredient of choice for barrier sprays is bifenthrin, but permethrin and the other pyrethroids are effective as well.

Barrier sprays are particularly effective against the Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus, which is our most common mosquito pest throughout most of Georgia. (In coastal areas, the salt marsh mosquito is predominant). The Asian Tiger mosquito develops in containers during the heat of the summer and is described as a daytime biter. Consequently, it is difficult to use ULV applications for this pest, because the Asian tiger mosquitoes are not active after dusk when conditions are best for ULV operations. As a result, public education to encourage people to eliminate containers and standing water around their homes is extremely important, but realize that compliance is a concern.

West Nile Virus

The presence of West Nile Virus (WNV) has created more interest in mosquito control. Now there is a focus on the Southern House mosquito, Culex quinquefasciatus, which is the primary vector of WNV in the southeast. This species prefers to develop in nutrient rich waters, like waste lagoons and catch basins. When it gets dry, the water stands in the catch basins and storm drains and this species proliferates. This leads to confusion about wet and dry conditions. When the weather is wet, all the other mosquitoes do well. When it is dry and water stagnates in the storm drain system, the Southern House mosquito thrives and there is an increased risk of WNV transmission.

There has been a whole series of products developed for treating water in storm drains and catch basins, including Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. israelensis (Bti) and Bacillus sphaericus based products and a variety of methoprene formulations.

Pesticide Applicator Licensing for Mosquito Control

A couple years ago Georgia created a mosquito control category for certified pesticide applicators, Category 41 – Commercial Mosquito Control. Applicators that were already treating mosquitoes before this time under Category 31 (Public Health) are allowed to continue treating mosquitoes using their current license. New applicators should obtain a Category 41 license.

The training manual for Category 41 is very helpful, since it was created to be used as a resource for smaller operators. Order the Mosquito Pesticide Applicator study materials (Mosquito Biology, Surveillance and Control) at – http://www.caes.uga.edu/publications/for_sale.cfm

If an applicator wants to obtain a Category 41 license, there is also a video to help as they study the manual and prepare for the exam. Find the video at this website.

If any commercial companies are conducting large-scale mosquito control programs, they may need to file a Notice of Intent (NOI) for an NPDES permit.  The website for the Georgia Mosquito Control Association (gamosquito.org) has information on permitting and is loaded with other relevant information.

(The Alerts editor wants to say ‘Thank you!’ to Dr. Rosemarie Kelly who reviewed and contributed to this article.)

Do you recognize this nest?

Pipe Organ Mud dauber Nest, Wikipedia, User: Pollinator
Pipe Organ Mud dauber Nest, Wikipedia, User: Pollinator

This is a mud-dauber wasp nest

Info taken from the UGA publication Stinging and Biting Pests

Pipe organ mud daubers are elongated, slender and usually shiny-black wasps that vary in length from about a half inch to an inch or more. These wasps make their mud nests with the cells arranged in the form of long tubes, hence the common “pipe organ” name.

Individual wasps make a buzzing sound as they shape mud into a nest and provision it with spiders for their larvae to feed upon during development. The female wasp stings and paralyzes the spider and then lays an egg on it and seals it in the mud tube. The nests are often in protected but open areas under the roof eaves of buildings or sheds. Mud daubers rarely sting and are generally considered beneficial in reducing spider populations.

Pipe Organ mud-dauber — Johnny N. Dell, Bugwood.org
Pipe Organ mud-dauber — Johnny N. Dell, Bugwood.org

Learn about many more of these type pests in the UGA publication Stinging and Biting Pests

New Online Video Helps Prepare Pesticide Applicators to Pass the Mosquito Control Exam

Elmer Gray, UGA Entomology Department

For pesticide applicators preparing to take the Mosquito Control Pesticide Applicators exam, help is as close as your computer!

Mosquito Control is a growing part of the landscape industry. Commercial applicators of mosquito control products need to have pesticide applicator certification in Category 41, Mosquito Control. UGA Entomologist Elmer Gray has recorded an online video to better prepare applicators to take and to pass the Category 41 pesticide exam.

The new video that helps to prepare applicators to take the Mosquito Control (Category 41) exam is posted online at http://www.gamosquito.org/training.html

Note that the video is a supplemental help to those studying for the exam and is not a replacement for studying the manual!  Applicators should order and study the manual before taking the exam.

If the applicator has not already passed the general standards exam through the GA Dept of Ag Pesticide Division, they will also need to order that manual, study and also pass that exam as well.

Mosquito control certification is handled through the GA Dept of Ag Pesticide Division. We sent the following information earlier concerning the Pesticide Division, but include it here again so that you have all info together in case you want to pursue a license.

New Online Video Helps Prepare Pesticide Applicators to Pass the Mosquito Control Exam

More information on the Mosquito Control exam and the Georgia Dept of Ag Pesticide Division

Note that the commercial mosquito pesticide applicator program is administered by the GA Department of Agriculture Pesticide Division, not the Structural Pest Control Division. Regulations and contacts for the Pesticide Division differ from those in the Structural Pest Division. This info will help guide you as you pursue this certification. You can also call GDA directly – (800) 282-5852.

Where can I order training manuals to study to take the commercial pesticide applicator exam (mosquito control, ornamentals and turf, etc.)?

If you do not already have a commercial license, you will need to take two exams – the General Standards exam and the exam specific for your field (Mosquito Control, Ornamentals & Turf, Right of Way, etc.) You can find information on ordering the manuals for the general standards exam and the category exams at this website – http://www.caes.uga.edu/publications/for_sale.cfm

How can I register to take a commercial pesticide applicator exam?

Visit this website – https://www.gapestexam.com/. You will need to create an account to enter the system. The exams are given at Technical Colleges across the state.

I have a license in one category from the Pesticide Division and want a license in a second category. Do I have to take the General Standards exam again?

No, you just need to take the test for that exam. Order the manual for that category, study the manual and then register for and take the exam that is specific for that category.

Where can I find pesticide applicator recertification classes?

Visit www.kellysolutions.com/GA/Applicators/Courses/CourseIndex.asp

Also contact your local Extension Agent for classes – http://extension.uga.edu/about/county/index.cfm

Where can I find information on my commercial applicator’s license (hours needed, etc), recertification classes available, etc.?

Visit this website – http://agr.georgia.gov/1pesticide-applicator-licensing-and-certification.aspx

The Georgia Department of Agriculture now has a Licensing Division. There are 7 coordinators with a call center to help assist with online renewals. The coordinators are being crossed trained so that everyone is familiar with the basic licensing process for each license. Contact the Licensing Division if you have questions – 404-586-1411 or toll free 855-424-5423 or email GDAlicensing@agr.georgia.gov

For regulatory questions continue to contact the respective division.

Sandy Shell is one of the Licensing Coordinators for the Georgia Department of Agriculture. She recommends the following website:

www.kellysolutions.com/ga The following can be accessed through this website:

  • Verify credit hours for Commercial Pesticide Applicator and Structural Pest licenses
  • Find recertification courses for private and commercial licenses
  • Renew Commercial and Pesticide Contractor Licenses (Structural renewals coming very soon)
  • Apply for a new Pesticide Contractor License
  • Apply for a new RUP Dealer license
  • Secure & Verifiable documents (coming very soon)

Does Georgia have reciprocal pesticide applicator license agreements with other states?

Georgia does reciprocate with other states on certain categories. Anyone needing more information on this can call Ag Inputs – Pesticide Section at 404-656-4958.

Identifying & controlling different mosquito species

Skeeter wordRosmarie Kelly, Public Health Entomologist, Georgia Department of Public Health

The first step in controlling the mosquito species which are causing your client problems is to identify the local species.  Quite often, not all methods of control will work well for all species.   Knowing which species are the issue can help you determine future control methods.

So, how do you determine which species are active at any given time in your area?  The best method is to set out light traps in the area, collect the mosquitoes, and identify them.  If this is done in a systematic way, it is possible to develop a database of local mosquito species that will aid you in determining the best method of control at any given time.

Is this always feasible?  Unfortunately, no.  However, depending on where your client lives, some of this information may be available from other sources. Municipal mosquito control programs in Georgia rarely have sufficient funding to do mosquito surveillance.  However, there are a few programs that do collect surveillance data and may be willing to share information.

Mosquito information is available through the Georgia Mosquito Control Association.  Also see the other resources listed at the end of this article.

Asian tiger mosquito, Susan Ellis, Bugwood
Asian tiger mosquito, Susan Ellis, Bugwood

The very least that should be done is to determine if the mosquito causing the problem is Aedes albopictus, the Asian tiger mosquito.   Asian tiger mosquitoes are small, aggressive, day-biting mosquitoes with black and white striped legs.

Since they do not fly far from their breeding ground, Asian tiger mosquitoes can be controlled through a combination of source reduction (eliminating breeding sites) and barrier spray (application of pesticide to vegetation where mosquitoes rest).  Not all mosquitoes will rest locally after biting, so barrier spray may not be as effective for all species but it works well for Asian tiger mosquitoes.

The most important reason to understand which mosquito species are causing problems at any given time is to assist with educating the client.  People tend to believe that all mosquitoes are the same, and often have unrealistic ideas about their control.  If you are well informed, it can help you when discussing control issues with the client and assist in keeping the client happy with your control program.

There are control situations that are better handled by commercial mosquito control companies. Having a list of local commercial applicators can be useful to a municipal program.

Resources are available to assist with mosquito surveillance and identification.  Check out:

Simple Key to Some Common Georgia Mosquitoes

Best Management Practices for Integrated Mosquito Management

Georgia Mosquito Control Association

American Mosquito Control Association

The Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory at the University of Florida offers an Advanced Mosquito Identification and Certification Course (http://mosquito.ifas.ufl.edu/Advanced_Mosquito_ID_Course.htm).

The Georgia Department of Public Health has offered at least one mosquito ID course every year since 2002, and hopes to continue this tradition depending on funding.  Watch the Pest Control Alerts training page for these classes or other upcoming training.

The various mosquito control products vendors not only offer equipment calibration, they also offer training opportunities.

UGA Urban Pest Management Program

Urban IPM videoUrbanization creates pest problems that threaten the health and welfare of all Georgians. Insect and rodent pests consume and contaminate our food anywhere that it is grown, prepared, cooked, served, or stored. Insects also consume the wood from which our homes are built. Some pests are life-threatening, especially those that bite, sting, or trigger allergies.

The Urban Pest Management Program on the University of Georgia’s Griffin Campus is responding to these challenges by researching key problems and disseminating information to those who can use it best, specifically Georgia’s residents and the owners and operators of Georgia’s termite and pest control companies.

The Griffin Pest Management Program is dedicated to the continuing education of employees of all of Georgia’s pest management companies. To that end, the Program offers multiple training opportunities for the pest management professional. Annually, more than 30/40 continuing education hours are available to Georgia’s registered/certified pest management company employees through a multitude of training programs.

The Georgia Structural Pest Control Training Facility is located on the University of Georgia’s Griffin Campus. The facility was built to train and educate pest management professionals, regulatory inspectors, and Cooperative Extension personnel on the biology and management of pests in the home, business and school environments.

For more information on our programs, contact Dr. Dan Suiter at 770-233-6114 or email dsuiter@uga.edu. Watch this video (YouTube) for an overview of the training programs offered on the UGA Griffin Campus.

Visit the Urban IPM Pest Management website here

Growing Southern Peas

June is the perfect time to get Southern peas, also known as field peas, in the ground.  The soil and air temperatures are very warm and hot summer days stretch out in front of us.   Southern peas include cream, crowder, and black-eyed types.  They thrive during hot weather in full sun.  Your local UGA Extension agent knows what types typically are grown in your area.

North Georgia gardeners are harvesting the end of the cool season lettuces and Southern peas would be a perfect replacement.  Add a bit of compost to the soil and sow seeds about 1 inch deep, 3-6 inches apart.  For those of you who grow in rows space them 20-42 inches apart.  Make sure your soil is well draining.

Southern peas act more like beans than peas.  Some cultivars are vining and will need some support and some are more bush type.  Experience shows that even bush types are easier to manage with a small trellis.  If you keep them picked they will keep producing all through our hot, humid summer!

Knuckle Purple Hulls using sunflowers as support.
Knuckle Purple Hulls using sunflowers as support.

Cream peas are the mildest in flavor.  Cream Crowder, White Acre, and Texas Cream #12 are non-vining cultivars to consider trying.

Black-eyed peas have a bit more flavor.  California #5, Magnolia, and Pink Eye Purple Hull are cultivars that are non-vining and grow well in our area.  Black-eyed peas are the ones seeped in Southern folklore.  If you eat black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day legend has it that your year will be prosperous.  Worth a try!

Crowder peas are the strongest in flavor.  You will remember them as the peas that are “crowded” in the hull.  Mississippi Silver and Mississippi Purple are non-vining while Knuckle Purple Hull and Colossus are cultivars that will need some type of firm support like fencing or staking.

You can harvest all of these either as green shelling peas or for drying.  A useful publication, although written for commercial production, is Southern Peas by UGA horticulturists Boyhan, Grandberry, and Kelley. This publication has additional information on cultivars and diseases.

Happy Gardening!



Mosquitoes Modified to Create Only Male Offspring Could Help Eradicate Malaria

From Entomology Today

Anopheles mosquito image from online article
Anopheles mosquito image from online article

Scientists have modified mosquitoes to produce sperm that will only create males, pioneering a fresh approach to eradicating malaria.

In a study published in the journal Nature Communications, scientists from Imperial College London have tested a new genetic method that distorts the sex ratio of Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes, the main transmitters of the malaria parasite, so that the female mosquitoes that bite and pass the disease to humans are no longer produced.

Read the entire article in Entomology Today.

Can you identify and control this troublesome weed?

Info taken from the publication Virginia Buttonweed Identification and Control in Turfgrass by Patrick McCullough and Jialin Yu, UGA Department of Crop and Soil Sciences

Virginia buttonweed (Diodia virginiana L.) is a troublesome broadleaf weed in turfgrass throughout the southeastern United States. Virginia buttonweed is a deep-rooted perennial with prostrate or spreading branches. It usually proliferates in moist to wet areas and can tolerate mowing heights as low as one-half inch. The species is a member of the Rubiaceae family and is found from New Jersey, west to Missouri and south into the Gulf Coast states.

Virginia buttonweed leaves are slightly thickened, opposite without petioles and slightly rough along the margins (Picture 1). Leaves are green on the upper surface, light green on the lower surface and often have a mottled yellow mosaic appearance caused by a virus that commonly infects foliage (Picture 2). Branched stems are occasionally hairy (Picture 3) and reproduction occurs via seeds, roots or stem fragments. Flowers are white with four star-shaped petals, which sometimes have pink streaks in the center and two sepals. Fruit are green, elliptically shaped, hairy and ridged.

For info on managing this weed:

See entire publication

Or see sections of the publication on:

Georgia’s Open Burning Ban in Effect May 1 – Sept 30

Info taken from the the Georgia Forestry Commission website

When is the burning ban in effect?
The burning ban is in effect from May 1 through September 30 each year.

What counties are under the burning ban?
The following counties are under the burning ban:

Banks, Barrow, Bartow, Bibb, Butts, Carroll, Catoosa, Chattooga, Cherokee, Clarke, Clayton, Cobb, Columbia, Coweta, Crawford, Dawson, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Floyd, Forsyth, Fulton, Gordon, Gwinnett, Hall, Haralson, Heard, Henry, Houston, Jackson, Jasper, Jones, Lamar, Lumpkin, Madison, Meriwether, Monroe, Morgan, Newton, Oconee, Paulding, Peach, Pickens, Pike, Polk, Putnam, Richmond, Rockdale, Spalding, Troup, Twiggs, Upson, Walker and Walton.

Who is responsible for the burning ban?
The open burning ban is under the jurisdiction of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Environmental Protection Division (EPD), Air Protection Branch.

Why is the burning ban needed?
The Georgia EPD imposes a ban on outdoor burning to comply with Federal Clean Air Regulations.  During the summer months in Georgia, the ozone in the air we breathe can reach unhealthy levels.  The Georgia EPD has identified open burning as a significant contributor of the pollutants that form ozone.  Consequently, open burning in metro Atlanta and larger counties must be restricted during the summer months.

How can the Georgia Forestry Commission (GFC) help me determine whether I can burn or not?
The Georgia Forestry Commission’s on-line burn permit system and 1-877-OK2-BURN phone system will inform by county whether or not you can burn or you can call your local GFC office.

Who can I contact for information? 
Georgia EPD Air Protection offices
Your local GFC office
Your local Fire Department

Other Resources
Open Burning Rules for Georgia – Environmental Protection Division (EPD), Georgia DNR
Clean Air Act – U.S. EPA
Office of Air and Radiation – U.S. EPA

See the original article here

Also see the GFC  Online Burn Permit System.