Friday, March 20, 2020

15 Bugs Every Gardener Should Know Web Series

I think we can all agree we are a little bored with social distancing and craving a change in our routines.  Well, I've got one for you!

I'm a little bored and sad that all my outreach programs have been cancelled, so I'm offering a series of webinars called "15 Bugs Every Gardener Should Know".  I will cover the 15 insects you will be seeing in the landscape, veggie garden, and home this season.  I have a feeling that we will all be doing a little more gardening or spending a little more time bettering our landscape this spring and taking walks outside to enjoy nature.  Let's answer your questions of "what's this?" before you even know you have it!

March 23 - Landscape Insects
March 25 - Veggie Insects
March 27 - Home Pests

Each educational class will be held at 2pm Central. You only need a computer and the internet to join or a smart phone! A microphone is only necessary if you want to ask questions, but you can also type in questions to the chat box.

To join us, click here:
Join Microsoft Teams Meeting

When the browser opens, choose Join on the Web Instead (unless you have the Teams app).  You won't be able to join until I start the meeting, so don't worry if you try now and nothing comes up.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

June Beetles by Numbers this Spring

The weather is starting to remain warm and the insects are responding!  Every spring, when things warm up, insect populations rise.  It is not different this year than in previous years, but when we've gone months in cooler weather and haven't seen much insect activity, the emergence of June Bugs by large numbers can seem worrisome.
June Bug Adult - photo by G. McIlveen Jr.

June Bug adults are emerging now from the soil and mating.  As adults they do feed on foliage, but for the most part, are not considered a pest in this life stage.  They are highly attracted to lights, so you'll find them all over your porches in the evenings. 

I keep hearing concerns about the adults eating up the landscape.  If you are seeing damage to new growth, I would consider other culprits not the June Bugs.  The June Bugs are just prevalent and noticeable, so they are an easy blame, but likely you have beetles or caterpillars or maybe even pill bugs if the plants are seedlings.

After mating, June Bugs will lay their eggs in the soil of turf and those eggs will hatch into C shaped, creamy, larvae.  Those larvae feed on the roots of turf.  They can damage turf, but just because you see the adults doesn't necessarily mean they will be laying all their eggs in your lawn!  In addition, it takes through about end of July in our area of Texas (South Central Texas) for the numbers to be high enough to see damage.

For the San Antonio area, the best time to treat is around mid July, but you can probably give yourself a range of mid June through mid July and still be effective.  There are plenty of granular formulations for grub management on the shelves.  Be sure to water very well before you apply and water in after you apply.  Saturating the soil will push the grubs up higher and allow them to come into contact with the pesticide.
White Grub Larva - Photo by M. Merchant

Now remember, grub is a term we use for any scarab beetle larva and there are hundreds of species!  My rule of thumbs to know if you should be concerned are:

  • Is it late spring or summer months?  Yes - continue down, No - stop!  Not time of year to worry about grubs
  • Are you finding grubs in the turf - Yes - continue, No - stop!  White grubs that damage turf only feed on turf, if you find them elsewhere, they could be predatory or composters.
  • Are they are 1/2 inch or less (curled up)?  Yes - continue, No - stop!  Larger grubs are composters or predatory.
  • Do you see signs of damage or stress to your turf?  Dead patches? Yes - treatment is warranted, No - treatment isn't warranted, there probably aren't enough grubs to be causing damage.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Texas Pollinators Program - This Thursday at the San Antonio Botanical Garden!

Spring is just around the corner - so the Redbuds and Texas Mountain Laurels tell us!

With warmer weather and spring, comes flowers and pollinators.  Learn about what pollinators you have in your landscape AND how to encourage them to stick around.  Pollinator identification and pollinator gardening tips.

For more information and to register, please visit the San Antonio Botanical Garden's website:

Lunch N’ Learn: Native Texas Pollinators – Bees, Wasps, and Flies

March 5 @ 11:30 am - 1:30 pm

Entomologist Molly Keck will highlight lesser known native Texas pollinators, the important role they play in maintaining and pollinating the landscape plants, and the challenges these species face. Class includes an identification walk in the garden. Sponsored by San Antonio Water System.
Fee: $10 with lunch, $5 without lunch ($9/4.50 member)
Instructor: Molly Keck, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Program Specialist in Integrated Pest Management and Board Certified Entomologist