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.