Tuesday, June 27, 2023

New House Guest

                                            Oak Leaf Blister - Usually no treatment required


Horticulture Hotline 06/27/23

By Bill Lamson-Scribner


The rain and the warmer night time temperatures have finally got the zoysia grass to come out of dormancy! Just in time with July Fourth right around the corner. The rain has really brought out the fire ants. With the Riverdogs and Battery in full swing, it is a good time to enjoy a game. Both venues provide a lot of entertainment and green grass! Oak Leaf Blister (a fungus) is visible, luckily generally no treatment required.


I was asked the other day while grocery shopping, “I have these insects in my bathroom that have little pinchers, and when you crush them, they smell bad. What are they and how can I get rid of them?”


When she mentioned the pinchers, I was thinking earwigs.  When she mentioned the foul odor when you crushed them, I knew for sure she was talking about earwigs! 


Earwigs like dead organic matter and moist areas.  If you have recently mulched your beds, sometimes you will see earwigs.  They are considered mainly an outdoor pest.  Earwigs feed on plant material; however, they rarely eat enough to damage plants.   


If you have a pest control company under contract, give them a call and they can get rid of this problem very quickly.  If you would rather, do it yourself, the first place to start is to check and be sure you have a 12–24-inch barrier around your house that is free of vegetation and mulch.   Caulk any gaps around pipes, wires, windows, doors or any other area that might be an entry point for the earwig or any other pest (roaches, ants, etc.).  Using yellow bug lights on the outside of your house will attract fewer earwigs and other insects to your house.  Any wood piles, deep pile of leaves, or other areas that stay moist should be removed.  If you have wood for your fire place, you can stack it above ground on metal wood holders, cinder blocks or pallets away from your house.  These are all good practices to help prevent insects and to protect your house.


If these cultural practices do not take care of the problem, you may consider using a control product around the perimeter of your house and any moisture harboring areas (wood pile).  There are many good products (InTice 10 Perimeter NOP Compliant is very good) on the market that would help you control earwigs as well as other insects.


Another similar pest that we have been getting lots of calls at Possum’s about is lawn shrimp. Lawn shrimp like a humid, high moisture area to live and feed. Ground covers like Asiatic Jasmine, Ivy and other moist mulched areas are perfect places for these crustaceans to live. They feed on decaying plant and animal matter. When they enter your house or garage, lawn shrimp are seeking a better life-style; however, they usually die because there is no food for them (decaying plant and animal matter) and the air is too dry. Lawn shrimp also like the moisture from wood piles, flower pots or any other stationary object they can live underneath.


Since lawn shrimp mainly feed on decaying debris, they are more a nuisance than anything else. If you are tired of removing them from your dwelling, you may want to remove their habitats from your entry points to your house.  Sealing thresholds of doorways will save on your electric bill and help keep these and other uninvited guest outside your house. Although there are not any chemicals labeled for the control of lawn shrimp (they are a crustacean not an insect), any good perimeter pest control product should hasten their demise as well as help with roaches and other household pests.


There are many Pest Management Professionals that can help you with these and other pests if you would rather leave it up to the professionals.


Always read, understand, and follow product label. The product label is a Federal Law.


Wasp Are Out

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Summertime is Here!


Horticulture Hotline 06/20/23

By Bill Lamson-Scribner


This week’s article is going to be a menagerie of topics to get you ready for outdoor summer activities (grilling and others) and a few other random situations.


Let’s first look at the grilling type activities and general outdoor play. Dad or mom are cooking on the grill and the kids are playing in the yard. If your grill hasn’t been used recently, open the lid slowly and check to be sure wasp haven’t made themselves a home inside your grill. About three years ago, I got bit about four times for this same reason, while grilling at someone’s house.


Speaking of wasps, look around your doors, porches, outdoor furniture, and other areas you have seen wasp in the past. Wasps seem to be extra active this year. Wasp Freeze.


Flies can be particularly nasty, disease spreading, biting in some cases, and did I say nasty insects. Lands on dog poop then lands on your barbeque or your spatula – enough said – nasty! We sell bags that catch up to 20,000 flies and various other baits. You place these baits away from your grill because the attractants are very nasty smelling and you don’t want to attract the flies to where you are located. This is a very serious issue in the restaurant business because restaurants can be closed if they don’t address this issue.


Fire ants and mosquitoes are out there making your time out there less desirable. If you treated for ants in the early spring, it is probably about time to do it again after the recent rains (check the product label). I like treating the whole yard instead of chasing around mounds. Look for breeding areas for mosquitoes – anywhere that can hold water. From a bottle cap to a sagging gutter to a tarp on a boat or firewood, to a bird bath, to a Magnolia leaf, to a cavity in a tree, to a saucer under a potted plant, well you have the idea. I know we have some organic products to spray the underside of the leaves of your shrubs and trees that last about three weeks as well as some control products that contain a growth regulator for longer control (ProFlex and DuraFlex).


Since you will be going in and out of your house during the summer, be sure your perimeter is protected, so that cockroach doesn’t decide to sneak in to the air-conditioned house. Intice Perimeter is a great, organic, weatherized bait that will last for months under most circumstances.


The nasty rascal, the chinch bug in St. Augustine grass has been killing large areas of turf in the Lowcountry for decades. Remember the products that control chinch bugs generally have a short residual. If you are going out of town for any length of time, be sure you treat the lawn before you leave. I was treating for ants over the weekend and noticed some moths. Sod webworms and armyworms are on their way – you have been warned. 08-00-08 Acelepryn, 07-00-14 Allectus or several other products should help you manage these pests. Fleas are making our pets very itchy scratchy.


Be sure to inspect your mower blade. A sharp blade will give your grass a cleaner cut and will allow less entry points for disease. Inspect your blade for nicks and damage if you are going to continue to use the same blade. Since a mower blade spins at very high speeds, any nicks or bends can lead to the blade being out of balance. When a blade is out of balance, the mower will vibrate (like your tire out of balance on your car) and you could damage the spindle and other parts of your mower that cost far more than a new blade.


Look up at your trees. If you have any tree work that needs to be done, I would get it done as soon as possible.  Look for trees that have cavities at the base of the tree and look at the tops for broken limbs, dying tips and weak crotch angles.  Have a tree care professional inspect your trees to be sure it is safe. Most tree companies will inspect for free. Try to get this done before the Lowcountry is in that cone for a direct hit for a hurricane! The tree companies are usually very busy year-round in the Lowcountry.  


      Armadillos have found the Lowcountry! Although they have been here for years, the

      populations have really increased. I was driving to and from Spartanburg the other   

      day and I was surprised to see them in the upstate. They are like an above ground

      moles; however, far more damaging. Their diet is 90% insects, but they also eat roots   of bushes and trees. They

      will tear up a yard looking for insects, so manage the insects in your yard like you do

      for moles. The worst damage I have seen is where they dig around small trees,

      leaving a big hole and possibly killing a tree. Trapping works very well. You want

      to use a commercial grade trap or they will destroy the trap. Possum’s No Deer! or  

      Animal Stopper are repellents that should help.


      Check your irrigation.


      The turf, trees, and shrubs are probably ready for a little fertilizer.


Always read, understand, and follow product label. The product label is a Federal Law.


Tuesday, June 13, 2023

They're Back

                                            Mosquito High Rise
                                                       Dent in Trash Can Lid
                                                     Bucket Turned over but collects water
                                                      Dumb Mosquito / Dead Mosquito

Horticulture Hotline 06/13/23

By Bill Lamson-Scribner


I am not trying to say that I am some kind of Nostradamus or anything by predicting a mosquito outbreak in last week’s Horticulture Hotline. Since I have been a licensed to kill mosquitoes over large areas since the late 1980’s for public health reasons, it was obvious that the high tides, lower wind speeds, warmer weather and pop-up showers were going to bring the mosquitoes out in big numbers looking for a blood meal.

The dry, cool, and windy spring kept the mosquitoes at bay, but after that little bit of rain and high tides, they are out in full force.


Malaria, Chikungunya, Dengue (still in the tropics), Zika, West Nile Virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis … now it is time to wage war against the mosquito! Worldwide mosquitoes are the number one killer of humans – amazing!


First, I am going to give you a shopping list. Pick up these items then wage war on the mosquitoes and their breeding places in your yard. Mosquitoes & Gnats Are Gone (deet free), Cyonara Lawn and Garden, Mosquito Beater, Mosquito Dunks, and Altosid Pro G are some of the basic weapons that you will need to wage war against these blood suckers.


Apply the Mosquitoes & Gnats Are Gone to yourself. This product is organic and does an unbelievable job against mosquitoes, gnats, no-see-ums, ticks and other biting insects. Mosquitoes & Gnats Are Gone is non-greasy, DEET-free, and safe for the whole family. If you would rather go old school, Sprayon Insect Repellent II (23.75% Deet) or our 95% Deet Mosquito Repellent should do the trick. Now you are protected and ready for the yard.


Scout around the yard for anything that holds water. Old tires, saucers under potted plants, rain guage, bird baths, old flower containers or pots stacked in a corner, dog toys, kids’ toys, a container by the grill you use to soak wood chips in, a cooler, an old fountain, an upside down 5-gallon bucket that has a lip that holds water, a trash can lid with a dent, brick work that needs repointing, a hole in a tree and a dog’s water bowl all make great places for mosquitoes to breed. Empty the water out these areas (refill the dog bowl and the bird bath daily). A tarp covering a boat or wood pile can have many pockets that hold water. Sagging gutters hold water.  A few empty bottles or cans can end up being thousands of mosquitoes! A bottle cap can be a breeding area. Many mosquitoes can breed in just an ounce of water. I was at a seminar and the speaker was encouraging people to limb up Magnolias (every horticulturalist gasped) so you could easily rake up the leaves because the big leaves held water and therefore were a breeding spot for mosquitoes. Sorry, I am not limbing up my Magnolias!


If you have bigger areas of water like a ditch or a low area of the yard that holds water, apply the Mosquito Dunks or the Altosid Pro G. The Mosquito Dunks are an organic Bt product that kill larvae and the Altosid Pro G is a growth regulator product that contains the same active ingredient that is used in the Precor products for controlling fleas. Although Altosid is not organic, it is considered to be very safe and labeled to be used in very sensitive areas like marshes. Turn off your irrigation when you can and correct any drainage problems.


Any pruning you can do to increase air movement and sunlight penetration will also help. Mosquitoes like moist stagnant areas, so it is more important to treat bed areas than it is to treat lawn areas. Concentrate your efforts on the undersides of leaves on shrubs. Many mosquito products work on lawn pest also, so many folks treat their lawn too while they are spraying. Mosquitoes are very weak fliers, so they do not like wind or air movement (big fans for parties or by your grill – helps with flies too). Mosquitoes are a public health issue, so you might be able to get some help from a government agency if you have a big ditch or pond.


Next, you want to mow your lawn then spray the lawn, shrubs, trees, and mulched areas with Cyonara Lawn and Garden. This product not only kills mosquitoes but also kills chiggers, fleas, ants, ticks, spittlebugs and roaches just to name a few other problem insects out right now.  If you include a growth regulator like Pivot or Nyguard, your control will last much longer. DuraFlex and ProFlex are two products with growth regulators ‘built in’ that will increase your intervals between applications.


If you would like to stay organic apply Mosquito Beater or Mosquito Repelling Granules. These organic products really do a great job. They are university tested and has also proven itself in the Lowcountry. Many of our customers at Possum’s have reported control for over three weeks! We sell these products to people putting on large fundraisers, event planners, weddings, other outdoor festivals, sporting events, and individuals. We always get positive feedback! If you would rather spray, try EcoVia EC. A natural product that works! I definitely like treating by the door to my house that I go in and out of to avoid any uninvited guest.


If this sounds like too much work, hire a professional. Always read and follow product label.