Leaf galls – What is this strange fleshy growth on azalea leaves?

Leaf galls - What is this strange fleshy growth on azalea leaves?
Leaf galls - What is this strange fleshy growth on azalea leaves?
Azalea leaf gall Image by Jean Williams-Woodward, UGA Plant Pathology

Leaf galls

Azalea leaf gall, caused by the fungus Exobasidium vaccinii, are common on azalea in the spring during wet, humid, cooler weather.

The fungus invades expanding leaf and flower buds causing these tissues to swell and become fleshy, bladder-like galls. Initially, the galls are pale green to pinkish. Eventually, they become covered with a whitish mold-like growth. Fungal spores are produced within the white growth and are spread by water-splashing or wind to other expanding leaf or flower buds, or they adhere to newly formed buds, over-winter, and infect these buds the following spring. Older leaves and flowers are immune to infection. As the galls age, they turn brown and hard.

The disease does not cause significant damage to affected plants. It just looks unsightly.

Azalea leaf gall can be prevented in subsequent years by removing the galls by hand as soon as they are detected and destroying them before they turn white and release spores. Fungicides are generally not needed or recommended for control of this disease.

For more information on azaleas, see the UGA publication Selecting and Growing Azaleas.

How do we control wild garlic in lawns?

Wild garlic plants - Photo by Jialin Yu
Wild garlic plants – Photo by Jialin Yu

Wild Garlic Identification and Control In Home Lawns

Drs. Jialin Yu and Patrick McCullough, UGA

Wild garlic (Allium vineale L.) is a common weed in most turf areas throughout Georgia. It emerges from underground bulbs in late fall and grows through the winter and spring months. Wild garlic is a winter perennial plant that declines in early summer.  This weed species is highly objectionable because it grows faster than cool-season turfgrasses after mowing and causes unsightly clumps in dormant warm-season turfgrasses during winter.  Wild garlic has a similar appearance to wild onion (Allium canadense L.) but they are easily distinguishable by their leaves. Wild garlic has round hollow leaves and while wild onion has solid flat leaves.

Wild garlic bulbs - Photo by Jialin Yu
Wild garlic bulbs – Photo by Jialin Yu

Mowing is not effective for controlling wild garlic because bulbs or bulblets in the soil will continue to sprout and grow. In addition, the bulbs can remain viable in the soil for years before emergence. Mowing, however, can weaken the plants and help prevent the production of seeds.

Chemical control is similar for wild garlic and wild onion. Preemergence herbicides do not provide effective control. Multiple applications of postemergence herbicides over more than one season are typically required to control wild garlic. Wild garlic has slender and waxy leaves, which may reduce herbicide uptake. In Georgia, herbicides should be timed during winter or early spring before the formation of bulbs.

Synthetic auxin herbicides are typically the best herbicides to use in tall fescue lawns for wild garlic control. 2,4-D alone or in three-way mixtures with dicamba and mecoprop (Trimec, Triplet, Weed B Gone, etc.) effectively control wild garlic. These herbicides are safe in warm-season grasses during active growth but should not be applied during the spring green-up. Reduced rates are recommended when spraying to sensitive turfgrasses including centipedegrass and St. Augustinegrass. Using PowerZone or SpeedZone, which include carfentrazone and three-way synthetic auxin herbicides, may improve wild garlic control in cold winter. However, turfgrass tolerance to these products may vary and temporary turfgrass yellowing may occur on certain turfgrass varieties.

Postemergence control may also be achieved with ALS-inhibitor herbicides. Imazaquin (Image) controls wild garlic on warm-season turfgrasses but should not be used during spring greenup or on newly planted or sprigged lawns. Imazaquin will severely injure fescue and ryegrass.

Metsulfuron (Manor, Blade, others)  effectively controls a wide number of broadleaf weeds and wild garlic. Metsulfuron can be applied to tolerant warm-season turfgrasses including bermudagrass, centipedegrass, St. Augustine, and zoysiagrass. However, applications may temporarily inhibit greenup of centipedegrass and other species during spring transition. Metsulfuron should not be used in lawns with desirable bahiagrass populations. Woody ornamentals should not be planted in treated areas within one year following the metsulfuron application.

Glyphosate may effectively control wild garlic in dormant bermudagrass. To avoid injuring desired turfgrasses that are not completely dormant, spot treatments should be used on sensitive turfgrasses.

 

Table 1. Postemergence herbicides for wild garlic control.

HerbicideTrade nameRate (Product/Acre)Tolerant Turfgrass
2,4-D2,4-D Amine,

Weedar 64, and others

See labelKentucky bluegrass, bermudagrass, centipedegrass, tall fescue, zoysiagrass
2,4-D + dicamba + MCPPTrimec, trimec Southern,

Triplet

Weed B Gone and others

See labelKentucky bluegrass, bermudagrass, centipedegrass, tall fescue, St. Augustinegrass, zoysiagrass
carfentrazone, MCPA, MCPP, dicambaPowerzone 2-6 ptTall fescue, Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, red or fine fescue
carfentrazone, 2,4-D, MCPP, dicambaSpeedzone2-5 ptKentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, tall fescue, colonial bentgrass, red or fine fescue, common bermudagrass, hybrid bermudagrass, zoysiagrass
imazaquinImage8.6-11.4 ozbermudagrass, centipedegrass, St. Augustinegrass, zoysiagrass
metsulfuronManor, Blade and others0.33-1.0 ozKentucky bluegrass, bermudagrass, centipedegrass, St. Augustinegrass, zoysiagrass
glyphosateRoundup Pro, Touchdown and others0.75 ptbermudagrass (dormant)

 

What is this insect and why is it inside?

Clothes moth from pubThis is a casemaking clothes moth larva feeding on wool carpet with an adult moth (inset). Clothes moth larvae feed on items of animal origin (feathers, wool, etc.) and can permanently damage items made from animal products – clothes, carpet, etc.

This information is taken from the UGA publication, Management of Pest Insects in and Around the Home

Clothes moths (Tineidae: Tineola and Tinea spp.): Shiny, light gold-colored, 1/4 inch moth with fringed wing margins. The most common species in Georgia is the casemaking clothes moth (Tinea pellionella). Larvae of casemaking clothes moths build rectangular to elliptical cases about 1/4 inch that are open at both ends and spun from materials and/or fibers in their immediate environment, often fibers they have been feeding on. Larvae live, protected, inside the case. Larvae have a dark band just behind their head, which is visible only when the larva projects its head out of the case to feed.

Habits: Moths fly at night, usually in an erratic pattern, in search of mates and food. Adults lay eggs on items of animal origin, commonly feathers and wool. Larvae crawl around and on the item while feeding from inside their case. In preparation for pupation, larvae of the casemaking clothes moth crawl away from the item they are infesting and attach their case to the wall or other nearby vertical surface.

Interventions: Wash, steam-clean or dry-clean all items of animal origin, especially wool. Have infested textiles professionally cleaned. If items cannot be washed or steam-cleaned (large quantities of material, such as area rugs) then consider small-scale fumigation or storage for at least a month in a freezer. Before cleaned items are put back in the home, remove, by hand, visible pupal cases from vertical surfaces and from shelves. Consider storing susceptible fabrics in sealed containers to prevent re-infestation. Use pheromone traps to capture male moths. If desired, apply a spot treatment with an appropriately labeled residual spray to the area where moths and larvae are found.

Might Be Confused With: Indianmeal moths; other, small, incidental moths that fly indoors, from outdoors, when doors are open.

For more information on control:

Look under Fabric Pests here for non-chemical controls

Which one of these is the bed bug?

Bed bug id with labelThe bed bug is the one in the middle!

Bed bug - Gary Alpert, Harvard University, Bugwood.org
Bed bug – Gary Alpert, Harvard University, Bugwood.org

Bed bugs are an ever growing problem in the US.  As bed bugs problems began increasing in Georgia, the Georgia Department of Public Health put together a bed bug handbook, providing information about the habits and habitats of the bed bug with an emphasis on information required by environmental health specialists dealing with infestations in hotels.

Recently, as bed bug problems continue to spread to homes, apartments, shelters, schools, dorms, and other places where people live, work, and study; it was decided to update and expand the bed bug handbook to include information on dealing with bed bugs in a wider variety of circumstances.

The revised handbook is posted on the GDPH website .

Bedbug lifecycleOne reason to update the handbook was to make it useful for people outside of public health who are dealing with bed bug issues.  Any comments or suggestions would be gratefully accepted. Please send comments to Dr. Rosmarie Kelly

Selected Information Found in the Bed Bug Handbook

Bed Bug Biology – Life cycle, habits and medical importance

Inspecting for Bed Bugs – Protecting yourself and specific methods for various structures and situations

Treatment and Control – Physical removal, temperature, Chemical control, Do it Yourself treatments, Follow-up and monitoring, and Controls for various structures and situations

Additional Information – Bedbug myths, Action plan for hotel treatment and information specific to Schools, Environmental Health Specialists, Hotel Managers and Homeowners

What is this winter weed that shows up every year at this time?

Florida betony plant
Figure 1 – Flower and foliage of Florida betony.

This weed is Florida betony. It is also called rattlesnake weed.

The publication Controlling Florida Betony in the Landscape gives cultural and chemical controls for this weed in lawns and landscape beds. The authors are Mark Czarnota, Ph.D., and Tim Murphy, Ph.D., Weed Control Specialists. Departments of Horticulture and Crop Science

Click here to see the publication for the following information:

Florida betony (Stachys floridana) (also called rattlesnake weed and hedge nettle) is a problem weed in both turfgrasses and ornamentals.

Florida betony tubers
Figure 2 – Tubers of Florida betony that look like the rattle of a rattlesnake, hence the name “rattlesnake weed.”

Florida betony is a “winter” perennial and, like most plants in the mint (Labiatae) family, has a square stem with opposite leaves. Flowers are usually pink and have the classic mint-like structure (Figure 1). Unlike its relatives, it has the unique characteristic of producing tubers that look like the rattles (buttons) of a rattlesnake, hence the name “rattlesnake weed” (Figure 2).

Click here to readthepublicationn Controlling Florida Betony in the Landscape

What are these large spiders found in the landscape?

The picture is of a Yellow Garden Spider which are often seen in the landscape in late summer and fall. Read on to learn more about this and another fall spider.

Late Summer & Autumn Spiders

Nancy C. Hinkle, UGA Department of Entomology 

Between now and Halloween we will be seeing more spiders around our yards.  The first hard frost will kill them off. Now they are mating and producing egg sacs so their eggs can overwinter and re-establish the population next spring.  There are two orb-weaver spiders with large webs that are most commonly seen.

Barn spiders (Araneus cavaticus) can be found on porches, where flying insects attracted to porch lights get trapped in their webs.  These spiders are nocturnal, constructing a new web every evening and taking it down before dawn.  This rusty brown spider has legs extending about 2 inches, making it look large and noticeable.  These spiders hide during the day, but at night are found in the middle of the web, waiting for insects to be trapped.

The yellow garden spider (Argiope aurantia) is one of the longest spiders we have here in Georgia.  It is frequently found in gardens and around shrubbery where it constructs large webs to entrap flying insects.  The abdomen has distinctive yellow and black markings while the front part of the body, the cephalothorax, is covered in white.

The female yellow garden spider typically remains in one spot throughout her life, repairing and reconstructing her web as it is damaged and ages.  Her web may have a distinctive zigzag of silk through the middle, explaining its other common name, “writing spider.”  Unlike the nocturnal barn spider, the yellow garden spider can be found in its web anytime.  Sometimes a smaller spider will be found in the web with her; this is the male garden spider.

These spiders have been present all summer, eating pest insects and growing.  By late summer they are large enough that people start noticing them.  Remember,Georgia has over 800 species of spiders, all of which are harmless if you leave them alone.  All spiders are more afraid of you than you are of them.

For more information:

Call your local Extension Agent at (800) ASK-UGA1 or locate your local Extension Office.

Stinging and Biting Pests of People

Golden Garden Spiders

Pest Management Handbook Follow all label recommendations when using any pesticide

Carpet beetles can be more common in the fall

Carpet beetle from pubThis pest is a carpet beetle – adult and larvae. See this information from Management of Pest Insects in and Around the Home

Carpet beetles (Dermestidae: Anthrenus spp.): Adults 1/16 to 1/8 inch, ovalshaped, and calico colored. Larvae 1/8 inch, hairy, oval-shaped, slow-moving, and cryptic.

Habits: Most homes are populated by a small number of carpet beetles, but because they are somewhat cryptic (slow moving, small, and inconspicuous) they are rarely seen. Larvae, but not adults, feed on products in the home that are of animal origin (feathers, wool, fur, hair, silk, skins, dry animal food, etc.) but will also feed on dead insects (found on window sills, in wall voids, and in light fixtures). Carpet beetles do not consume modern shirts and carpets, as they are made from cotton or synthetic fibers. Adults feed on pollen outdoors.

Interventions: Find infested article(s) and remove. Vacuum insects and discard bag, and especially watch for re-infestation. Wash, steam-clean or dry-clean all items of animal origin, especially wool. Have infested textiles professionally cleaned. If desired, apply a spot treatment with an appropriately labeled residual spray to the floor around the infested item(s).

Might Be Confused With: warehouse beetle (Dermestidae: Trogoderma variabile), bed bugs.

For information on these and other insects see Management of Pest Insects in and Around the Home

This caterpillar can sting – what is it?

This information came from the UGA publication, Stinging and Biting Pests by Elmer Gray, UGA Entomologist. See the original publication for more information on stinging and biting insects

The caterpillars of some moths have sharp, hollow spines or hairs that contain venom. Contact with these spines causes a burning inflammation of the skin, but can be more serious when in contact with a mucous membrane or the eyes. The spines from dead caterpillars are still problematic. Most of these caterpillars feed on the leaves of various hardwood trees and shrubs and contact with people is uncommon. The venomous spines are a defense mechanism and the colorful patterns or unusual body shapes serve as a warning to their enemies. About 25 species have spines that can be painful. Three of the more common species are described below.

Puss Caterpillars:

pusscaterpillar

Puss caterpillars may be pale yellow, gray or reddish brown, about 1 inch long and densely covered with hairs. Among these hairs are hollow spines with venom. Stings on the hand can cause the entire arm to swell and become numb. Later, there can be severe pain followed by itching. Young children are often more severely affected. Large population increases in local areas can cause a problem.

 

Saddleback Caterpillars:

saddleback

The saddleback caterpillar is approximately 1 inch long and has a brown slug-like body with a green mid-section. In the middle of the green midsection there is a distinctive brown saddle mark with a white border. Venom-filled spines are located on fleshy “knobs” on all sides of its body. Contact with this caterpillar’s spines can be extremely painful and severe reactions are possible for sensitive individuals.

 

Hag Moth Caterpillars:

hagmoth

The hag moth caterpillar is a strange-looking brownish caterpillar with six pairs of curly projections, three long and three short, coming from the flattened body. The plume-like projections on its back project out to the sides, suggesting the disarranged hairs of a hag. Among the brown hairs on the projections are longer black stinging hairs. These caterpillars are solitary and can easily be mistaken for leaf debris.

 

Control:

Control is usually not needed since contact is uncommon and these caterpillars are usually solitary. If a number of stinging caterpillars are seen feeding on the foliage around areas where children are active, spray the foliage with an insecticide labeled for tree and shrub application. Remember, dead caterpillars can still cause painful stings. Spread a cloth or plastic sheet under a tree or shrub to collect the fallen dead caterpillars, and then carefully dispose of them.

Find other Stinging and Venomous Caterpillars here.

What is this large spider hanging around in landscapes?

Female Golden Garden Spider, Image by Hancy Hinkle

The picture is of a Yellow Garden Spider which are often seen in the landscape in late summer and fall. Read on to learn more about this and another fall spider.

Late Summer & Autumn Spiders

Nancy C. Hinkle, UGA Department of Entomology 

Between now and Halloween we will be seeing more spiders around our yards.  The first hard frost will kill them off. Now they are mating and producing egg sacs so their eggs can overwinter and re-establish the population next spring.  There are two orb-weaver spiders with large webs that are most commonly seen.

Barn spiders (Araneus cavaticus) can be found on porches, where flying insects attracted to porch lights get trapped in their webs.  These spiders are nocturnal, constructing a new web every evening and taking it down before dawn.  This rusty brown spider has legs extending about 2 inches, making it look large and noticeable.  These spiders hide during the day, but at night are found in the middle of the web, waiting for insects to be trapped.

The yellow garden spider (Argiope aurantia) is one of the longest spiders we have here in Georgia.  It is frequently found in gardens and around shrubbery where it constructs large webs to entrap flying insects.  The abdomen has distinctive yellow and black markings while the front part of the body, the cephalothorax, is covered in white.

The female yellow garden spider typically remains in one spot throughout her life, repairing and reconstructing her web as it is damaged and ages.  Her web may have a distinctive zigzag of silk through the middle, explaining its other common name, “writing spider.”  Unlike the nocturnal barn spider, the yellow garden spider can be found in its web anytime.  Sometimes a smaller spider will be found in the web with her; this is the male garden spider.

These spiders have been present all summer, eating pest insects and growing.  By late summer they are large enough that people start noticing them.  Remember,Georgia has over 800 species of spiders, all of which are harmless if you leave them alone.  All spiders are more afraid of you than you are of them.

For more information:

Call your local Extension Agent at (800) ASK-UGA1 or locate your local Extension Office.

Stinging and Biting Pests of People

Golden Garden Spiders

Pest Management Handbook Follow all label recommendations when using any pesticide

These things are crawling everywhere!

Millipede Gary Alpert, Harvard University, Bugwood.org
Millipede – Gary Alpert, Harvard University, Bugwood.org

This is a millipede. See the following information to know how to identify them or read the UGA publication Millipedes and Centipedes for complete identification and control information.

This information taken from the UGA publication Millipedes and Centipedes

Revised by Elmer W. Gray, Extension Entomologist
Original document produced by Dr. Beverly Sparks

Millipedes are often called 1,000-legged worms or rain worms. They are wormlike, with rounded body segments that each bear two pairs of legs. The head is rounded with short antennae. Species can vary in length from less than 1 to 2 or more inches. They are light brown to black in color.

Centipede Gary Alpert, Harvard University, Bugwood.org
Centipede – Gary Alpert, Harvard University, Bugwood.org

Centipedes are often called 100-legged worms and have one pair of legs on each of their body segments. All centipede species are more or less wormlike and have a flattened body with a distinct head that bears a pair of long antennae. Jaws containing poison glands are located on the first body segment immediately behind the head. Depending on the species, centipedes can vary in length from 1 to 12 or more inches when mature. The most common centipede species found in Georgia are less than 5 inches long. Centipedes vary in color from light yellow to dark brown and reddish brown.

Millipedes can be numerous - Gary Alpert, Harvard University, Bugwood.org
Millipedes on a sticky trap – Gary Alpert, Harvard University, Bugwood.org

Millipedes and centipedes are not insects. They are actually more closely related to lobsters, crayfish and shrimp. However, unlike their marine cousins, millipedes and centipedes are land dwellers. They are most often found in moist habitats or areas with high humidity.

Millipedes and centipedes do not carry diseases that affect people, animals or plants. Millipedes do occasionally damage seedling plants by feeding on stems and leaves, and may enter homes in large numbers during periods of migration and become a considerable nuisance. They do not cause damage inside the home, although they may leave a stain if they are crushed. Centipedes, which have poison glands and can bite, pose an occasional threat to humans.

Find more information in the publication here.