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UC Nursery and Floriculture Alliance

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The Day That The Beetles Invaded the Bohart

USDA Forest Research entomologist Steve Seybold (foreground) and UC Davis graduate student Corwin Parker peel bark to reveal larvae of bark beetles and wood borers. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Just call it "The Day that the Beetles Invaded the Bohart." That would be the recent open house at the Bohart Museum of...

Posted on Monday, September 18, 2017 at 4:14 PM

Grubs Eating My Veggies?

Help for the Home Gardener from the Help Desk of the
UC Master Gardener Program of Contra Costa County

likely masked chafer larva
likely masked chafer larva
Client's Request: I'm finding in my raised vegetable bed what looks to me like “grubs”. A picture of one of them is enclosed. I don't know specifically that they are destructive “grubs”, but I'm concerned that they will negate all my hard work trying to grow vegetables. I'm thinking about replacing the soil although I'd rather not do that. What would you recommend that I do?

MGCC Help Desk Response:  Thank you for contacting the UC Master Gardener Program Help Desk with your questions about grubs in your vegetable bed. I enjoyed talking to you today, and the picture you sent was helpful as well.

adult masked chafer beetle
Based on your picture, the grubs infesting your vegetable bed are most likely the larval stage of masked chafer beetles. The ¾ inch adult beetles are golden brown in color, with dark brown heads and hairy undersides. The grubs are whitish in color, with brown heads and legs, dark stripes on their backs, and bristles on the undersides of their posterior abdomen. The fully grown grubs are about an inch in length, and are c-shaped. The grubs are root feeders, and are known to favor turf grasses, although they do feed on the roots of other plants as well. Based on your description of your vegetable plants, it seems the grubs did very little damage to your vegetables this year. However, I know you are eager to get rid of them!

Following is some information on masked chafer grubs. http://ipm.ucanr.edu/TOOLS/TURF/PESTS/inchaf.html 

Possible treatment options include hand-picking to remove any grubs you find in the soil, or turning the soil to expose grubs to birds and other predators. Beneficial nematodes can also be used for biological control of grubs, as described in the article at the following link. http://ipm.ucanr.edu/TOOLS/TURF/PESTS/innem.html 

If you do remove the soil to start again (as you mentioned you might), be careful with any compost you add. The adult beetles can be attracted to fresh compost or organic matter, where they will lay their eggs. The larvae (grubs) will locate and feed on roots after they hatch. Before applying compost, be sure it had been properly prepared with sufficient heat to decompose the organic material and to kill insect eggs and other organisms. Information on rapid composting can be found at this UC link: http://anrcatalog.ucanr.edu/pdf/8037.pdf  

I hope you are able to get rid of your grubs before next season. Do let us know if you have further questions.

Help Desk of the UC Master Gardener Program of Contra Costa County (TKT)


Note: The  UC Master Gardeners Program of Contra Costa's Help Desk is available year-round to answer your gardening questions.  Except for a few holidays, we're open every week, Monday through Thursday for walk-ins from 9:00 am to Noon at 75 Santa Barbara Road, 2d Floor, Pleasant Hill, CA  94523. We can also be reached via telephone:  (925)646-6586, email: ccmg@ucanr.edu, or on the web at http://ccmg.ucanr.edu/Ask_Us/ MGCC Blogs can be found at http://ccmg.ucanr.edu/HortCoCo/ You can also subscribe to the Blog  (http://ucanr.edu/blogs/CCMGBlog/).

Posted on Monday, September 18, 2017 at 12:09 AM

Bohart Museum Open House: 'Insects and U'

A cabbage white butterfly, Pieris rapae, nectaring on catmint. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Mark your calendar! Here's an opportunity--especially for new students and prospective students at the University of...

Posted on Friday, September 15, 2017 at 4:53 PM

Flying Ants And Termites

 

 

Flying Ants Vs. Termites 

By Andrea Peck  UCCE Master Gardener

 

How do I tell the difference between flying ants and termites?    Annie W.

 

Distinguishing between flying ants and termites is a bit of a challenge especially for the myopic. Small, agile, and capable of flying, both insects give meaning to the term 'flyweight.' Typically, they are found swarming around your best resting location on the one day when you had the time to prop your feet up. Figuring out exactly what type of pest you have on your hands, or more exactly, around your face and inside your right ear, is important.

 

At entomologist parties, flying ants are discussed with words such as ''nuisance'' or ''irritating.'' Termites, however, are on the other side of this spectrum; whole sentences are used, as in, ''have you had a termite report done?” Terms, such as, ''structurally unsound,'' or ''condemned'' may slide into the conversation. Termites are associated with significant damage.

 

Both insects are found near wood—particularly moist or rotten wood.  Ants generally live in the soil near trees or plants that potentially carry honeydew-producing pests. Termites also live underground, but for them, the soil is just a tunnel that leads to their real objective--wood or cardboard. It is not objectionable to them to set up their household inside your household.  Wood that looks bubbled, warped, or that has holes bored into it, are red flags that should alert you to the possibility of termites.

 

In order to discern what's flying about, you will need to catch the insect and have a look at it. Use a magnifying glass or the camera app on your cellphone to magnify the bug for better viewing. Flying ants have three body segments and a distinctly thin waist, while termites have a more blocky, solid body. The antennae of the ant are bent, or 'elbowed,' while the termite's are straight. The ant's wings are different as well; the top wings are smaller than the lower wings, while the termite's wings are all the same length and have conspicuous veins throughout.

 

If ants seem to be the culprit, eliminate access to entryways and keep food out of reach. If you find evidence of termites, it is best to consult with a licensed pest management professional.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted on Friday, September 15, 2017 at 1:07 PM

The Sneaky Cuckoo Bee

A cuckoo bee, Xeromelecta californica, sips nectar from a tropical milkweed, Asclepias curassavica, in Vacaville, Calif.  (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

You could call it a slacker, a deadbeat, a moocher, a sponger, or a loafer. Or you could call it a cuckoo bee. Take the...

Posted on Thursday, September 14, 2017 at 2:07 PM

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