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Showing posts from September, 2018

Check your houseplants now for insect problems

With fall just around the corner, now is a good time to examine your houseplants, those that were outdoors as well as those that stayed inside, for the presence of insect pests. The sooner insects are discovered, the easier it will be to control them. Mealybugs on a rubber  plant.  Photo: Julie Weisenhorn, U of M Ext What to look for  Any insects that are missed will continue to feed and can spread to other plants. Keep plants with insect problems isolated from uninfested ones until the pests are eliminated. Most of these insects are small and a hand lens is often helpful in detecting their presence. Check leaves, both the top and the bottom, as well as stems, and remove plant debris from the soil surface where insects may reside. You can also use sticky traps to help detect flying insects, like thrips. Also, look for evidence of insect feeding, such as discolored leaves, webbing or honeydew (a shiny, sticky substance secreted by some insects). Check under the bottom

Can I eat that strange looking squash?

What does it mean when squash and melons have scabs, rings, and sunken spots? Raised corky bumps caused by a scab infection on winter squash M. Grabowski, UMN Extension The long awaited harvest of melons and winter squash has arrived in Minnesota. Many gardeners are surprised to find sunken spots, rings, unusual color patterns, or raised corky scabs on the fruit. What caused all of these unusual spots and can the fruit be eaten? Fruit spots can be caused by a number of different factors including fungal and viral plant pathogens. Melons, cucumbers, winter squash, and summer squash are all in the same plant family, the Cucurbitaceae. As a result, these crops often suffer from the same plant disease problems. Although many of the vine crops share disease problems, how severe the disease problem becomes varies by crop and by variety. Below are a few common disease problems found on melons and squash at harvest in Minnesota.   Mosaic viruses Several different mosaic virus

A second life for Ash trees hit by the Emerald Ash Borer

Emerald ash borer galleries found underneath ash tree bark. Photo: Jeff Hahn, UMN Extension Entomologist What are the consequences of the invasion by the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) insect? The numbers are indeed staggering. We have a billion ash trees in Minnesota--many of them in our yards and gardens.  And once the invasive insect, the Emerald Ash Borer infests a stand of trees, experts say to expect a mortality rate of 100 percent. Now University of Minnesota researchers are studying ways to make this storm cloud have a silver lining.  They are studying innovative ways to use that wood for good. Read this article to learn more: Emerald Ash Borer caught in a trap in Dodge County. Photo: Jeff Hahn, UMN Extension Entomologist By Emily Dombeck, University of MN Extension Forestry Program Coordinator It’s hard to avoid hearing about the emerald ash borer (EAB) and its effects on ash tree populations. Since it was first discovered in Minnesota in 2009, the beetle has continued

Foreign grain beetles are harmless

Very small, brown insects have been found in buildings during August and September. Foreign grain beetles, Ahasverus advena are especially found around sources of moisture, such as sinks, basins, and bathtubs. Foreign grain beetles are very small beetles. Photo: Jeff Hahn U of M Ext. How do you identify them? Foreign grain beetles are about 1/12 inch long and reddish brown. Under high magnification, you can distinguish this beetle from other small beetles by a pair of peg-like projections behind their head. Because of their small size, foreign grain beetles are sometimes confused with fruit flies. While foreign grain beetles readily fly, they are hard-shelled (fruit flies are soft-bodied) and fold their wings out of sight when they land. These insects have also been confused with bed bugs .  Because of the increase in bed bug problems, people have been sensitive to small insects they can not identify. Once these insects are examined closely, you can see the shape betw

Emerald ash borer found in Wright County

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) announced today that emerald ash borer (EAB) has been found for the first time in Wright County. The infested trees are located on highway 24 at the Travel Plaza just of off I-94 which is about 15 miles south of St. Cloud. Quarantine in effect An emergency quarantine has been enacted to reduce the risk of further spreading this invasive insect. S-shaped EAB galleries, one of the symptoms of an infested tree.  Photo: Jeff Hahn, U of M Ext. EAB was first found in Minnesota in 2009.   With this finding, there are now 17 Minnesota counties that have discovered EAB.   Nationally, this invasive insect was found in 2002 and is now found in 35 states. Where is EAB in MN? Although Wright County is directly adjacent to Hennepin County, the nearest known EAB infestation is about 40 miles away in Champlin. On their own, EAB can only travel a mile or two each year. For EAB to reach Clearwater, it was undoubtedly transported in infes