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.