Puss Caterpillar/Southern Flannel Moth
These little furry creatures look cute but don't touch them! In the larva stage the Southern Flannel Moth is one of the most venomous caterpillars in the United States!
Aphids may be winged or wingless. They have pear shaped bodies and are usually green but can be other colors. Aphids like to attack young leaves. They typically gather on the underside of the leaves. You can remove aphids by simply washing the underside of leaves with water or you can use insecticidal soap. You can also use ladybirds to control the population as the aphids are one of their favorite meals!
You can recognize Aphid damage by twisted or distorted leaves, the presence of ants and sooty mold.
Mealybugs are small insects with a white, powdery and waxy body that attack leaves, twigs and roots. Insecticidal soap or horticultural oil should help to eliminate these pesky insects.
You can spot Mealybug damage by white wax deposits, sooty mold on leaves and a lot of ants.
Scales vary in size, shape and color. They are small and usually have a circular body. Scales also have a waxy body and feed on leaves, twigs, stems or fruits. Horticultural oil works to control them.
Yellow spots on the leaf surface arise from Scales feeding from underneath. You will also see honeydew, ants and sooty mold.
Whiteflies are small white flying insects that deposit their eggs on the underside of leaves. Whiteflies have natural predators including fungi, but horticultural oil and insecticidal soaps work well to control them.
Top side of leaves become pale or spotted when there are whiteflies present. You will also see sooty mold and ants.
Caterpillars chew on leaves. They have many predators but if you have a caterpillar problem you can use Bacilus Thuringiensis (Bt) which causes them to stop feeding and die.
Chewed or notched out leaves will indicate caterpillar damage.
Thrips are small, narrow winged insects which drink sap from the wounds of scarred leaves. Insecticidal spray should eliminate them.
Thrip damage includes a dull/grayish appearance in leaves, curling, distorted leaves and leaf drop.
Spider mites are tiny insects that may be red, yellow, green or spotted. Adults will spin loose webs on foliage and reproduce quickly. They are difficult to control because they reproduce so quickly but you can alternate between horticultural oil and insecticidal soap.
Spider mite Damage
Damage from Spider mites looks like dull, gray-green light colored spots on leaves and a fine, loose web and ashy looking residue.
Mole Crickets can reach up to 1 1/2" long with a velvety brown appearance. They affect Bahia and Bermuda grasses by burrowing into it. The Red-eyed Fly and nematodes are natural predators and you can also use baits.
Mole Cricket Damage
Mole Crickets tunnel into soft, spongy or thinning grass.
Chinch Bugs are long, black winged insects with white spots on their wings. They attack only St. Augustine grass. You can use a Chinch Bug resistant variety of St. Augustine and spot treat with chemicals that are specifically for the Chinch Bug.
Chinch Bug Damage
You will see yellowing and browning of grass that eventually die and leave bare spots.
Most species of ants are harmless. The Fire Ant however, is a huge problem. The most effective way to control the Fire Ant is to use bait. Sprinkle around the outside of the mound being careful not to disturb the mound itself. Make sure the bait is dry and fresh.
Nematodes are small, unsegmented roundworms. They are mostly transparent and invisible to the eye. They feed on root systems.
You may see premature wilting, stunting of growth, yellowing of leaves, premature leaf loss, thinning of turf, knots on roots, short and dark roots.
A mature Black Widow can reach 8-13 mm. in size. It is black with a distinct red hourglass on its belly. Newly hatched spider-lings are white and turn darker as they mature. Reclusive in nature, it seeks out extremely protected areas where it can barricade itself. It can be identified by its unique web as it looks like a tangled mess rather than a neatly spun web. You can also identify the Black Widow by its unique egg sacks which are white/yellow, round and spiky. The Black Widows bite is a neuro-toxin which causes cramping and bruising in the muscles. Anti venom is available in extreme cases. The Black Widow is preyed upon by other animals especially the Mud dabber Wasp.
Black Widow Egg Sacks
Contains up to 100-1000 spider-lings.
Black Widow Bite Damage
Black Widow bites can lead to pain, bruising, numbness, weakness, cramping, itching, swelling and rapid heart beat. It is best to seek immediate health care if you think you've been bitten by a black widow.
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