Monday, November 28, 2011

FDACS CEUs Added to "Root to Shoots" Tree Program

Save money and time. Get at least 2 CEU categories at one sitting - 2 categories for the price of one.

Just got FDACS CEUs added including: 3 Private Applicator Ag; 3 Ornamental & Turf; 3 Limited Lawn & Ornamental; 3 Limited Landscape Maintenance and 3 Commercial Lawn & Ornamental. Maximum of 3 CEUs earned with FDACS.

ISA CEUs: 6.75 for Certified Arborist, TW Climber Specialist and Municipal Specialist; 3 for BCMA Science; 2.5 for BCMA Practice and 1.25 for BCMA Management.

For more information about the class and to register click here.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

ATTENTION: Aquatic Plant Managers

The launch of the Plant Management in Florida Waters site deliberately coincides with new requirements of the EPA NPDES Permit Program, which includes the application of pesticides to waters of the United States as of October 31, 2011. In response, the Pesticide Generic Permit (PGP) is being implemented by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

Anyone applying pesticides to Florida waters should read Section 4 of this website and become familiar with the State of Florida’s Generic Permit for Pollutant Discharges to Surface Waters of the State from the Application of Pesticides.

Note: Questions about the Florida Generic Permit should be directed to the DEP Wastewater Program.

Monday, November 7, 2011

ISA CEUs Tree Program

"Roots to Shoots" Second Annual Tree Program

Dr. Ed Gilman is the presenter for this all day class.

Class topics are: Tree biomechanics: why we should care. Root development and management in urban landscapes. Tree crown reduction strategies. Soil modifications and tree health. Tree treatments outdoors.

Check-in starts at 8:00 AM. Please bring your own coffee, donuts, etc. as we, unfortunately, cannot provide these.

6 ISA CEUs have been requested.

To register please click here. Register soon to reserve your seat.

Friday, October 28, 2011

We Value Your Input

Did you attended the fertilizer/pesticide GI-BMP class? If so, will you please take just a few minutes of your time and complete this online survey. Thank you. I appreciate your time and input.

Class Offered on "Sabal Palm and Texas Phoenix Palm Decline'

On November 18th the University of Florida, Hillsborough County Extension and the Tampa Bay Watershed Forest Working Group will present 'The Uncertain Future of Florida's State Tree – Sabal Palm and Texas Phoenix Palm Decline'.

We will be outlining TPPD research and spread in Florida; discussing the existing ecological and economic information on cabbage palm and trying to answer what are the ecological, hydrological, wildlife, economic, and cultural implications if Sabal palm disappears from the landscape?

The goals of this workshop are:
1. Showcase the importance of Sabal palm
2. Identify knowledge gaps
3. Recognize threats
4. Encourage researchers to pursue further study
5. Create a focal point or clearinghouse for Sabal palm research and collaboration

Several sites are available for you locally to video conference into this workshop, please choose a site near you and register today!
• Hillsborough Co. Extension (the origination site & face-to-face option):
• Charlotte Co. Extension:
• Collier Co. Extension:
• Lee Co. Extension:
• Pasco Co. Extension – please call BJ Jarvis at 352-521-4288
• Polk Co. Extension – please call Nicole Walker at 863-519-8677

8:30 a.m. Registration
9:00 a.m. Video and Introduction – Rob Northrop, University of Florida IFAS, Hillsborough Co. Extension
9:15 a.m. Why Sabal Palms ar Important to Florida's Ecosystems
David Fox, University of Florida, School of Forest Resources and Conservation
9:45 a.m. Economic and Cultural Importance of Sabal Palms – Jono Miller
10:15 a.m. Texas Phoenix Palm Decline: Pathology and Diagnostics
Nigel Harrison, Ph.D. - Plant Pathology, University of Florida, Ft. Lauderdale REC
11 a.m. Geographic Spread and Vector Analysis of TPPD
Susan Halbert, Ph.D. - Florida Depart. of Agriculture & Consumer Services, Division of Plant Industry
11:45 a.m. Lunch - will be provided as part of registration fee
1 p.m. Case Studies – TPPD and Sabal Palm Mortality
1.E.G. Simmons Park – Ross Dickerson, Environmental Specialist, Hillsborough Co. Conservation Services
2.Lakeland Florida – Brian Dick, Asst Superintendent of Parks, Hillsborough Co.
3.City of Tampa – Kathy Beck, Natural Resources Supervisor Hillsborough Co.
2 p.m. What don’t we know – what we need to know?
3 p.m. Closing Remarks – Michael Andreu, Ph.D., University of Florida, School of Forest Resources and Conservation

Warning from Watershed Division Regarding Vehicle Decals

Please note that the grace period deadline given in Ordinance #10-06 has passed and anyone working in Pinellas County without having been issued a Pinellas County vehicle decal for landscape maintenance or fertilizer services is subject to enforcement for noncompliance.

For landscape maintenance certification: we have scheduled 5 certification class dates in November (see below). Register online at

Classes in English:
Nov 1 at Brooker Ed Center (Tarpon Springs-registration closes tomorrow, Saturday 10am)
Nov 9 at Extension Center (Largo)
Nov 16 at Weedon Center (St. Pete)

Classes in Spanish:
Nov 10 at Extension Center (Largo)
Nov 30 at Brooker Ed Center (Tarpon Springs)
Each landscape maintenance person is allotted an extension when registered for class. Keep your ticket receipt on hand to show the inspector if you are stopped before your scheduled class date.

For fertilizer application certification: there is a 3 step process to obtain your decal (links below)—step 1 take the GIBMP, step 2 get your FDACS fertilizer license, step 3 provide documentation to Watershed Mgmt to get your vehicle decal. Applicators are not in compliance until they have been issued a vehicle decal from Pinellas County.

Extensions will only be given until 12/31/11. Those applying fertilizer in Pinellas after January 1st 2012 without a decal will receive an initial $50 fine without further warning. Fines are cumulative per violation per day.

The GIBMP class is available online at
The license application is available online for printing at
The affidavit for vehicle decal is available online for printing at

Please avoid fines for noncompliance by obtaining your vehicle decal immediately.

Thank you,

Anamarie Rivera
Environmental Specialist
Pinellas County Watershed Management Division
300 South Garden Avenue
Clearwater, FL 33756
Phone (727) 464-4605
Fax (727) 464-4403

GI-BMP Instructor Training Class

December 6, 2011
Naples Botanical Garden
4820 Bayshore Drive
Naples, FL 34112
8:15 am to 4:00 pm
Registration Required

To register, please go to this website complete the Application Form by following the eligibility criteria described on the site, and submit to Alberto Chavez by no later than Thursday, December 1, 2011. If you have already been accepted in the program please register by replying to Alberto Chavez and letting him know that you want to attend this class.

After reviewing the application and determining that you meet the requirements, you will receive an email confirmation and additional class information.

Becoming a certified GI-BMP instructor is a four step process:

1. Attend a GI-BMP class and pass the test with a minimum score of 90%
2. Apply to become an instructor by meeting the eligibility requirements and completing the attached form
3. Attend the GI-BMP Instructor Training class and pass the test with a minimum score of 75%
4. Co-train with an experienced instructor

If you have questions please contact Alberto Chavez at or 239-417-6310 x222.

Alberto Chavez
GI-BMP Regional Coordinator [South]
Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
Florida Department of Environmental Protection
300 Tower Road
Naples, FL 34113
239-417 6310 x 222
FAX 239-417 6315

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Summer Fertilizer Ban Lifts October 1

You can start applying fertilizers with nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) again starting October 1st. Remember that to apply P you must have a soil or tissue test documenting a deficiency of this nutrient.

Use a tissue test to document a P deficiency. Soil tests done on alkaline soils nearly always show plenty of P even though it may not be available to the plant because it is tied up in the soil. Tissue testing form.

Remember NOT to apply N or P if the National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm warning or watch, flood warning or watch, tropical storm warning or watch, hurricane warning or watch, or if rain greater than or equal to 2 inches in a 24 hour period is forcast for any portion of Pinellas County.

No N applied to newly established turf or new landscape plants for the first 30 days.

No fertilizer on any impervious surfaces, and spreader deflector shields are required on any broadcast or rotary fertilizer spreaders.

Fertilizer cannot be applied within 10 feet from the top of the bank of any surface water, landward edge of top of a seawall, designated wetland or wetland as defined by the FDEP.

For all questions about the fertilizer ordinance please call the Pinellas County Watershed Division at 464-4425 option 6, email:, or visit their website

October Classes

A "Fertilizer/Pesticide Best Management Practices (BMP)" class will be held on Wednesday, October 12. Register at this link. This class provides 4 CEUs - 2 Core and 2 category for the lawn/turf/ornamental sector. Class cost is $15

"Palm Management in the Florida Landscape" will be held Monday and Tuesday, October 24 and 25. To register you must contact Dr. Elliott at, or by phone 954-577-6315. The class cost is $300.00 and includes breakfast goodies, lunch, snacks and drinks.

The "Fall CEU Update" for 2 Fumigation, 2 GHP, 2 Core and 2 Termites is Wednesday, October 26. Each CEU costs $10. Register at this link. You can pick and choose which classes to take.

The "Fall CEU Update" for 2 Core and 2 Lawn/Turf/Ornamental and possibly ROW and NA will be held on Wednesday, November 2. Each CEU costs $10. Register at this link. You can pick and choose which classes to take.

The Watershed Division is offering a "Landscape Best Management Practices" class on Tuesday, October 11 (morning or afternoon). Register at this link.

Pesticide Testing Day

If you need to take a pesticide exam (NOT the PCO exam) we offer them the third Wednesday of every month. The next testing date is October 19th. Doors lock at 9 AM so come a little early. Please call Bob at 582-2081 and give him your name and the test(s) you want to take so he can have them pulled and ready for you.

If you are taking a limited exam you must bring the approval letter from the state with you in order to take the exam.

If you need the "Roundup" Limited Commercial Landscape Maintenance pesticide license our next 6 hour required training class will be on January 26th, 2012. Please make sure you study, and bring a completed application with you to class. For information about the study materials and link to the state's application visit this link.

Those who wish to review for the Limited Lawn and Ornamental pesticide license exam may also take this class. More information about this license can be found at this link. This class is NOT for CEU renewal.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Last Minute CEU Class

Monday, Septebmer 19, 2011 from 9:30 to 11:30 AM. Find out about the newest pests to hit Florida. Passionvine mealybug, daylily leafminer, palm weevils, kudzu bug, brown marmorated stinkbug, laurel wilt and Eruopean pepper moth will all be covered via polycom. 2 lawn/turf/ornamental CEUs have been requested. This is a free class.

Only 5 seats available.

Register here:

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Scary Looking Creature - Owlfly Larva

This very interesting insect is a voracious predator and therefore beneficial. At this stage of its life it hides out in the bark of trees and under rocks. Its adult form is completely different looking. I think the larva is very impressive with those huge spiked mandibles.
Link to more about the owlfly and picture of the adult. Wikipedia site.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Heat Stroke Claims Life

Thirty-three year old man dies of heat stroke article

Save your life and maybe someone else's by knowing how to lessen the effects of heat, knowing the signs of heat stress, and knowing what to do if someone is in distress. See this website for more details.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

GI-BMP Instructor Training Class

Do you want to be a BMP trainer so you can teach your employees or others? Now is your chance.

Charlotte County is holding a class on September 22, 2011 at the UF/IFAS Charlotte Cooperative Extension Service
8:30 am to 4:00 pm
Registration Required

To register, please complete the Application Form which can be found at this website by following the eligibility criteria, and submit to Alberto Chavez by no later than Monday, September 19, 2011.

After reviewing the application and determining that you meet the eligibility criteria, you will receive an email confirmation and additional class information.

Becoming a certified GI-BMP instructor is a 4 step process:

1. Attend a GI-BMP class and pass the test with a minimum score of 90%
2. Apply to become an instructor by meeting the eligibility requirements and completing the application form
3. Attend the GI-BMP Instructor Training class and pass the test with a minimum score of 75%
4. Co-train with an experienced instructor

If you have questions please contact Alberto Chavez at or 239-417-6310 x222.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Class Schedule

I hope you received my brochure in the snail mail, but if you didn't...

Upcoming classes include:

1. "Roundup" Limited Commercial Landscape Maintenance pesticide training class or Limited Lawn and Ornamental Review (no CEUs);

2. Green Industry (fertilizer/pesticide) Best Management Practices (4 CEUs);

3. Palm Management in the Florida Landscape (to register contact Dr. Elliott at, or by phone 954-577-6315) Class cost is $300.00;

4. Last Call CEU Update: Fumigation/termites/GHP/Core and Lawn/turf/ornamental CEUs offered (2 CEUs per category).

To register for classes (except Dr. Elliott's) visit this website.

Pest Alert - Passionvine mealybug

Another new pest has been found in South Florida which means we need to be on the lookout for it here too. If you purchase plants from South Florida it is important to check plants carefully for this possible pest, as well as any other pests.

Link to the site about the passionvine mealybug.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Fig Whitefly Causing Damage

The first symptoms are the leaves turn yellow, then they drop off. Ficus trees without their leaves are one of the most obvious symptoms of a whitefly infestation. If the foliage is disturbed the small, white gnat-like adult whiteflies can be seen flying from the foliage.

This whitefly has been most commonly found infesting weeping fig (Ficus benjamina) but has also been seen on F. altissima, F. bengalensis (also called “banyan tree”), F. microcarpa, and F. maclellandii in Miami. Weeping figs are commony used as hedges but also grow as trees. Other hosts include the strangler fig (F. aurea), Cuban laurel (F. microcarpa), fiddle-leaf fig (F. lyrata) and banana-leaf fig (F. macllandii).

Insecticides with systemic properties may be very useful in whitefly control because they can be applied as a drench to the soil and many times provide longer lasting control. These insecticides include the neonicotinoids [Celero (clothianadin), Flagship/Meridian (thiamethoxam), Marathon/Merit (imidacloprid), and dinotefuran (Safari)]. These products also tend to be less disruptive to the natural enemies. After drenching, apply foliar sprays as needed if whiteflies are present.

In addition to the neonicotinoid insecticides listed above, insecticides that can be applied to the foliage for whitefly control include Aria (flonicamid), Avid (Abamectin), Azadirachtin, Distance (pyriproxyfen), Endeavor (pymentrozine), Endosulfan, Judo (spiromesifen), Talus (buprofenzin), and Tristar (acetamiprid). Rotation of insecticides among different modes of action is critical in the management of pests and is especially important for whiteflies that have been shown to develop resistance to insecticides. If plants have received a neonicotinoid drench, DO NOT spray with another insecticide in this group.

For more information see the DPI Pest Alert; UF/IFAS Fact Sheet

Thursday, July 28, 2011

List of Approved Fertilizers

Do you need a list of fertilizers that comply with the County's new fertilizer ordinance?

Attached you will find the most up-to-date list of ordinance compliant (50% slow release nitrogen) for sale in Pinellas County. Watershed management continually updates this list, so please let them know of additional products that may qualify.

This list and other helpful information is available on their website at

Remember - no nitrogen or phosphorus products can be applied until October 1

Friday, July 22, 2011

Introducing New Registration System

The new registration site will come online on Monday, Aug. 1, for all of the Extension classes that require registration, including those held at the Extension office in Largo, Brooker Creek Preserve in Tarpon Springs and Weedon Island Preserve in St. Petersburg. Online visitors will be easily directed to the registration page. Payment for classes with fees can be made using a credit or debit card (no cash or checks).

“We are very excited about this new registration system because it is so easy and fun for people to use,” said Mary Campbell, director of Pinellas County Extension. “We hope it will translate into more of our citizens taking advantage of our services.”

For commercial horticulture classes select the commercial horticulture link off the main page. I hope you will like the new process. It is very user friendly.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Palmetto Weevils Killing Palms

Calls about Canary Island date palms infested with weevils have been coming into the office, and a Canary Island date palm at the Florida Botanical Gardens was found to be infested with palmetto weevil, Rhynchophorus cruentatus Fabricius.

The adults vary in color from solid black to almost completely red with a variable black pattern. They are about ¾ to 1 ¼ inches long. The larvae, or grubs, are legless and creamy to yellowish in color. Their head is dark brown and very hard. Mature grubs can weigh up to 6 grams.

Male weevils are attracted by the odors “palm esters” given off from dying, wounded, or recently transplanted palms. As soon as a male weevil finds a palm like this it settles in and starts releasing an aggregation pheromone “cruentol” to attract other male and female weevils. The two odors together are very attractive to weevils and they come flying in just like people flocking to the mall during a great sale. As more males land on the host, they also start releasing curentol to attract more males and females. Once a population has gathered on the tree they start mating and soon eggs are laid.

Symptoms of a weevil infestation vary, but generally an irreversible decline of younger leaves begins. In palm species with upright leaves, such as the Canary Island date palm, the older leaves begin to droop and quickly collapse. As the eggs hatch and the larvae start to feed on the crown of the palm the damage and associated rot becomes so severe that the top of the palm falls over. If the crown is examined at this point larvae, cocoons and adults will be found in the crown region. Early detection of weevil infestation is difficult and even during the early stages of an infestation treatment may be too late to save the palm.

Treatment: The best response is to cut down the infested palm and destroy it before new adults can emerge. Applying insecticides to infested palms is futile. Newly transplanted palms can be treated with insecticides, but the costs can quickly become too expensive unless only a few trees are protected.

Host palms include: Our native cabbage palmetto (Sabal palmetto) and saw palmetto (Serrenoa repens). Several exotic species which have been infested include: Canary Island date palm (Phoenix canariensis), date palm (Phoenix dactylifera), Pritchardia species, Washingtonia species, royal palms (Roystonea sp.), Latania species, coconut palm (Cocos nucifera) and Caryota species.

To see the full publication

Monday, June 27, 2011

Carpenter Ants Swarming

Now that the summer rains have started, so have the carpenter ant swarms. We have had several samples brought into the Lawn and Garden Help Desk today.

See this for more info on carpenter ants.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

CEU Classes for You

“Roundup” License Classes or Lmt. Lawn & Orn. Review
8:00 AM to 4:30 PM, testing follows class.
Class dates: May 25, July 13, Sept 15. Cost $60
FDACS requires a completed application and charges $150 for the exam.

Green Industry Best Management Practices (GI-BMPs) –
For those that apply fertilizers. 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM. (4 CEUs: FDACS 2 Core, 2 lawn/turf/ornamental categories; 4 FNGLA). Monthly classes (see website for dates and to register, or call 582-2100) Cost $15

Landscape Best Management Practices (L-BMP)
For those that don’t apply fertilizers, but perform landscape maintenance. AM and PM class offered every month. (1 lawn/turf/ornamental, 1 ISA CEU, 1 FNGLA) See the website for all dates and Spanish or English classes. Cost $15

“Last Call” Fall CEU Update - Mark your calendar - registration not available yet.
Wednesday, October 26th for 2 Fumigation/2 Termites/2 GHP/2 CORE
Wednesday, November 2nd for 2 Lawn/Turf/Ornamental/2 Pvt. Ag/2 CORE/2 FNGLA
Cost $20 for each two hour class.

Roots to Shoots 2nd Annual Tree Program - Mark your calendar - registration not available yet.
Friday, January 13, 2012 with Dr. Ed Gilman presenting.

Pesticide Testing
Every third Wednesday of the month. Starts 9AM sharp (doors lock). Call 582-2100 #2 to register for exam(s). Ask for Bob A.

To register for classes:
please visit:

Select “Register for a Program” and then select “Commercial (Pesticide, FNGLA, ISA) CEUs”
select the “calendar” then scroll down to the class you want to take and select the “register here” link.

If you do not have access to the Internet, or need help with registration, please call
727-582-2100 and press 2.

Remember registration closes 24 hours before the class date.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Is that Dog Vomit on the Mulch?

This week's blog was written by guest blogger Dustin H. Purcell, MS. Dustin is a Mycologist/Plant Pathologist who studied at the University of Florida.

Accurate identification of fungi normally requires a microscope, experience, and some obscure resources, but this one is fairly distinctive and has no real look-alikes. It is also pretty common in our area, so most people who spend some time in the yard have wondered what it is.

It isn’t truly a fungus, but it’s fungus-like enough that mycologists (scientists who study mushrooms and other fungi) study it. Technically it is a Myxomycete, or plasmodial slime mold, named Fuligo septica. It looks kind of like that expanding foam used to fill cracks and gaps in walls around the house and garage. It has no definite shape, just a small irregular mound less than an inch in height and anywhere from around an inch to over a foot in diameter (if an irregular shape is allowed to have a diameter). Unlike expanding foam, it has a crusty-flaky coating instead of a smooth firm “skin”. If you scrape the yellowish-tan coating away (you can use your finger, but a stick will work if the that sounds too gross), you’ll see the purplish-brown spore mass inside. Spores are like seeds… They are the way myxomycetes reproduce and spread from place to place. When mature, it is completely dry and will disintegrate into an airborne cloud of spores under foot or lawnmower. Before it matures, it looks like a slimy-gooey-frothy yellowish-brownish-greenish blob.

The dog vomit “fungus” (Fuligo septica) in its natural habitat… your yard. The specimen at the upper left is not yet mature. It is still a gooey blob that will probably dry into a crusty-powdery mass by the end of the day. On the upper right is a collection of three mature myxomycetes that have migrated up plant stems in order to produce spores. This will not harm the plant! Wind, rain and sprinklers will wash it away. The photo below this shows an individual about 5 inches long sitting on the mulch of a garden bed. On the lower left is a large specimen (over a foot long!) following a good rain that washed away the yellow crusty coating to expose its purple-black spores.

They are common following rains or irrigation during the warmer months anywhere there is ample organic matter. This includes lawns, mulched areas, compost piles, bare soil, tree stumps and old logs. Sometimes they even “climb” a few inches up walls or the base of plants. They are not known to be harmful at all to plants or animals (including humans). Before coming to the soil surface to scare and gross out humans, they migrate through the soil as large amoebae (called plasmodia) ingesting tiny bits of decaying debris, bacteria and other microorganisms. They are not associated with any plant disease. Rather, they are an important component of the soil ecosystem and indicate that there is a decent amount of moisture and organic matter in the soil. This is a good thing, because landscape plants normally do well in soil with ample moisture and organic matter. Undisturbed, they can last for weeks in the yard until a good rain washes the spores back into the soil. Animals, including curious children armed with sticks and lawn men with lawnmowers, will also hasten the weathering process by scattering their spores to the wind.
So try not to be repulsed the next time you spot these unsightly creatures in your yard. They are probably helping your landscape, and at the very least they are doing no harm.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

What Do You Want? Pinellas County Wants to Know

Pinellas County must cut $21.5 million from next year’s county budget. Let them know what is important to you.

Pinellas County residents are invited to participate in a brief online survey this week asking them to rate and prioritize government programs and services. Citizens can fill out the survey from 8 a.m. Monday, April 25, to 5 p.m. Friday, April 29.

“It is very important for citizens to be involved in the process,” said Tim Closterman, director of the county Communications Department. “Our citizens’ opinions are an important part of the decisions that will be made on budgetary issues.”

The results will be posted on the Citizens Preference Survey website when they are tabulated.

P.S. Click on the blue link for the survey.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Are You Having Bifenthrin Failure Against Chinch Bugs?

If you are interested and have a location, Dr. Eileen Buss has two protocols to test the effect of spray volume, and rates and timing of applications using Arena (clothianidin) against chinch bugs. Time is short, so contact me via Bob Albanese at 582-2100 as soon as possible.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Watch Out for Assassin Bug

Assassin bug (wheel bug) nymphs are abundant this year. Several specimens have been brought into the help desk for identification.

They are very beneficial in the landscape as they prey on a wide variety of insects. Unfortunately, they also prey on lady beetles and honey bees. They have only one generation per year.

They pack a mean wallop, so be careful when working in the landscape. When disturbed, the wheel bug can inflict a painful bite. The bite has been described variously as worse than stings from bees, wasps, or hornets. Barber (1919) and Hall (1924) described in detail the effects of such bites.

In general, initial pain often is followed by numbness for several days. The afflicted area often becomes reddened and hot to the touch, but later may become white and hardened at the puncture area. Occasionally, a hard core may slough off, leaving a small hole at the puncture site.

Healing time varies but usually takes two weeks and may take half a year. Smith et al. (1958) reviewed the literature concerning wheel bug bites and concluded that serious or prolonged effects from these bites usually are due to secondary infection or an individual hypersensitivity.

For more information about the wheel bug (click on the blue link).

Monday, April 11, 2011

Last Call CEUs

Looking for CEUs in these categories? Core, L & O, GHP, Termite/WDO.

The Florida Pest Management Association (FPMA) is presenting this course that will be taught by UF specialists and Paul Mitola of FDACS. It will be offered via polycom at several UF/IFAS Extension offices including Pinellas County Extension.

Options include the full package with lunch $99; Core only with lunch $35; and A la Carte - GHP, L & O or Termite $30.

Date: May 6, 2011
Time: 9 AM to 4:40 PM
Where: Pinellas County Extension, 12520 Ulmerton Road, Largo, FL (Gardenia room)
Registration at: or for the registration form:

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Pretty in Pink Groundcover Mimosa

What a little rain can do to make the plants look spectacular!

A little closer view of the ground cover Mimosa strigillosa

View from the side

Bees were all over it. Can you find the bee?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Seeing Red and Black Bugs?

Have you seen red and black colored insects crawling all over grass and up the sides of houses? Is there a Goldenrain tree or Chinaberry tree in the yard or close by? Then most likely the insect you are seeing is the harmless Jadera haematoloma. This is a seed-eating insect and it doesn't harm plants.

These bugs are in a way providing a service. They are eating the seeds of the tree so that thousands of seedlings won't start sprouting up under the adult tree.

In central Florida, March, April and May are usually the peak months for Jadera bugs. The adults are 1/3 to ½ inches long (with wings) and about a 10th of an inch wide. Their color is mostly black except for reddish eyes, shoulders and border area of the abdomen. The nymphs (young) are mostly reddish in color, with the mid-section, antennae, beak and legs brown to black. They look like their wearing little black vests over their red bodies.

CONTROL: Usually, no control is necessary. A small concentration on a plant can often be destroyed by hand collecting. Brushing or knocking large populations of the bugs that are on plants or walls into a small bucket of soapy water will kill them.

If the bugs are a nuisance in lawns or playgrounds, removing the tree seeds by raking shortly after the seedpods or lanterns have fallen to the ground is recommended, but should be done when the trees first drop the seedpods, before the seeds detach. Attempting to rake them when the bugs become noticeable in March or April, after the seeds have detached from the seedpods, is too late.

Eliminate hiding places such as piles of rocks, boards, leaves, and general debris close to the house. Repair and close places where bugs can enter the house, such as cracks around doors and windows and in the foundation. If they are in the house, either sweep or vacuum them up and dispose of them. Pyrethrins or insecticidal soap can also be used. Always read and follow the label of any pesticide used.

Monday, April 4, 2011

New Invasive Pest Attacking Bermudagrass

Atherigona reversura, also known as the bermudagrass stem maggot, is a new invasive pest. Recent reports revealed that the pest is now found "throughout southern Georgia, and in northern Florida and parts of Alabama and South Carolina."

Since this is a new pest, it is undetermined if it will become a problem for us in Pinellas County.

For more information about this pest.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Tell Commissioners What You Want

On Wednesday, April 6, the county will host its second Budget eTownHall from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Residents will be able to watch the event on PC-TV (Bright House 622, Knology 18 and Verizon 44) or via the internet at the county’s website.

The blog opens Monday, April 4, at 9 a.m. Blog entries will be posted from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday and Tuesday. After 5 p.m., residents can continue to submit questions and comments, but they will not be posted until the next morning. Residents can submit comments and questions via email any time, Bolling said. A link is posted on the county’s budget information site.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Lubber Grasshoppers Emerging

They come out of the ground in a group. Their coloration is all black with either a yellow or red stripe down their back.

Their favorite plants to each are amaryllis, crinum and rain lilies. They will also eat a wide variety of cultivated plants including citrus, vegetables and ornamental plants.

The best time to control them is at this young stage. They are easiest to find at the end of the day when they are sitting on the tops of plants and are moving more slowly.

Mechanical control methods include crushing them or knocking them into a bucket of soapy water. A biological control agent, the tachinid fly (Anisia serotina), can kill 60 to 90% of their population. There are three "modes of action" chemical control agents for grasshoppers: pyrethroids, carbamates and organophosphates, but normally their populations are NOT high enough to warrant the use of pesticides. See this link for chemical control agents:

For more information about this insect see this link:

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Fertilizer Bill

Are you following the fertilizer bill that is winding its way through Tallahassee?

The bill would prohibit cities and counties from going any further than the states' model ordinance approved by the Legislature.

See the latest article about the bill.

Now is the time to let your representatives know where you stand on this issue.

Click here for a listing of Pinellas County representatives by map.

Click here for a list of Pinellas County Senators.

Click here for a list of Pinellas County Florida House of Representatives.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Looking for a free application that will figure out the amount of fertilizer to apply?

Here is a handy spray calculator:

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

What's that caterpillar hanging from the tree?

Your clients may be asking you about these critters. They are the larvae (caterpillars) of either oak leafrollers or oak leaftiers, two different species of moth. Leafrollers are from the genus Archips and leaftiers are from the genus Croesia.

This larval or caterpillar stage is one part of the moth’s life cycle. The adult stage is a yellow to light tan colored moth with a wingspan of 12-25 mm. Moths lay their eggs on the small branches of host trees in the late spring. These eggs hatch early the following spring when the oak leaves began to grow. Larvae feed and grow for about one month and then drop to the ground to pupate. Moths emerge within two weeks. Females live for a few days and lay up to 100 eggs. Then we see nothing more of these insects until the following spring.

What is important about them? They can cause widespread and severe defoliation (loss of leaves) of the trees they feed upon, but this rarely happens in Florida. The common scenario is several years of light to moderate defoliation, then insect populations collapse and we are unaware of these insects for a number of years. They can also be a nuisance to humans, but they are harmless.

Is there any control for the caterpillar? Natural controls (predators, parasites and diseases) usually keep these caterpillar populations at low levels. Mockingbirds and other birds feed on the caterpillars, and wasps appear to be the best control. For high-value trees or where caterpillar populations are especially damaging try using a biological control spray of Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki. An insecticidal spray containing carbaryl (Sevin®) can be used as a last resort (this should be applied by a pest control operator). The ideal time for applying an insecticide is just before the insects begin their last week of voracious (heavy) feeding.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Better Killing of Mosquito Using Spores Plus Oil

"This simple formulation increased both the persistence and effectiveness of spores, killing up to 50% more mosquito larvae than untreated spores and reducing pupation levels to less than 20% at a test site in Kenya."

"The fungi, M. anisopliae and B. bassiana, cause muscardine disease in mosquito larvae, leading to their death before they can pupate and develop into the adult form."

To see the full article:

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

GI-BMP Instructor Training (Train the Trainer)

March 29, 2011
UF/IFAS Pinellas County Extension
8:00 am to 3:30 pm
Registration Required

then scroll down the page to "Steps to become a certified GI-BMP Instructor":

To register, please complete the Instructor Program Application Form, after making sure you meet the eligibility criteria, and submit to Alberto Chavez by no later than March 24, 2011.

If you have questions please contact Alberto Chavez at or 239-417-6310 x222.

Technician Training - Facilities IPM

Valid for:

5 hours verifiable training for ID card Holders

2 hours CORE/3 hours GHP

3 hours limited structural CEUs

When: Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011
8 AM to 5 PM

Where: Pinelllas County Extension Office

Cost: $55 per person includes training, booklet and lunch

To register: Call FPMA at 800-426-4829 or email:
Seating is limited, so hurry.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Low Cost Disposal of Pesticides

Do you have cancelled, suspended, and unusable pesticides? You can get rid of them for a very low cost by signing up with FDEPs Operation Cleansweep. A flyer provides details and instructions on how to sign up for this reduced “state contract” price pick-up service. You may call toll-free at 877-851-5285 to sign up. FDEP expects to begin pick-up collection and disposal services in the winter of 2010-2011.

Operation Cleansweep, which previously has been a free service to pesticide users, was not funded by the Legislature for State Fiscal Year 2010-2011 (July 1, 2010 – June 30, 2011). As a result, Operation Cleansweep will not be a free service this year. However, the state disposal pricing contract is still in effect and will be honored by the contractor for any pesticide user who wants to take advantage of this greatly reduced price for disposal. The state contract price for disposal of pesticides is $0.89 per pound ($100 minimum per participant).

Since 1995, Operation Cleansweep has collected and disposed of more than 1,400,000 pounds (700 tons) of cancelled, suspended and unusable pesticides from nearly 2,000 participants in 66 counties.