Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Often I'll get a call about a pest problem and I know if one person is seeing this problem, others probably are too. Today's sighting....Woolly Alder Aphid! If you are seeing fluffy white masses on your silver maples or alder trees, it's probably this critter. From what I've read on the web, some people actually enjoy their almost fairy like appearance. They look like a bug wrapped in an ostrich-feather boa. For the most part, they shouldn't require chemical or other type of intervention, though they may cause a mess with the honeydew they excrete. For more detailed information, follow the link to the NCSU insect notes:

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The New York Times...for the latest on farming?

Seems like every time I turn around there's an article on farming or associated topics in the NYT. Maybe I'm just now noticing, or is there actually an increase in these types of articles due to rising awareness and interest in the readership on this topic?
Here' an interesting one on a seed saving library in New York.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Sweetpotatoes: not just for Thanksgiving anymore

Check out the news from Center for Science in the Public Interest: the sweetpotato (please note: technically, it is one word, not two) is the healthiest food in the top 10 Best Foods category! And of course, North Carolina is #1 in the Nation in sweetpotato production. So, support your local farmers and support your health by eating more of this super vegetable!

Ten Worst and Best Foods

Ten Worst and Best Foods

Friday, September 24, 2010

Stink bugs on the rampage

From: Mike Waldvogel, Extension Entomology

We are getting a lot of reports of houses being inundated with what
is likely the brown mamorated stink bug. This insect is a pest of a
wide variety of agricultural and horticultural crops including soybeans,
fruits, and ornamentals. When it's done feasting on these crops,
the adults turn their attention to finding a place to overwinter. This
situation is virtually identical to the problems with have with the Asian
lady beetles except they actually stink worse than the lady beetles do
when you crush them (they are called STINK bugs for a reason!)
The problem is also identical to the beetle in that little can be done
to stop them. Pesticide applications to the exterior of houses make
kill bunches of them IF you spray them directly or if they land on
treated surfaces in a day or so but for the most part that victory of
the bugs is short-lived and they may be back. So, people can spray
what they want outdoors just if it keeps them amused but don't expect
it to have any real impact. I would discourage spraying indoors because
there is no specific target site and excessive indoor applications are
potentially harmful to the occupants. If they want to spray around
windows and doors, do so OUTSIDE. Use a vacuum cleaner to collect
them indoors.

This problem is relatively new for us but has been occurring north of
our border for some time. One of the better summaries can be found
at Penn State's website:

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Scale insect workshop

Area landscapers from Moore, Richmond, and nearby counties had the opportunity to get up close and personal with a selection of scale insects at a recent pesticide training at the Sandhills Research Station in Montgomery County. NCSU Entomologists led a program on the biology and control of scale insects, which can be important pests on ornamentals and fruit trees. Managing scale can be a challenge for landscapers, especially as knowledge of the insects lifecycle is important to successful control. Each participant received a small bag with several different species of scale insects, for a hands on identification experience.