BYGL Weekly News for April 15, 2019

The following articles were compiled during the last 7 days by members of the Extension, Nursery, Landscape, Turf (ENLT) team to benefit those who are managing a commercial nursery, garden center, or landscape business or someone who just wants to keep their yard looking good all summer.  Access the BYGL website for additional information on other seasonal topics at:


For more pictures and information, click on the article titles.  To contact the authors, click on their names.



Be Alert for Boxwood Leafminer

Authors Joe Boggs

Published on April 12, 2019



Boxwoods with yellow to brown leaves are common this spring throughout Ohio.  Boxwoods with yellow to brown leaves are common this spring throughout Ohio.  Some of the leaf discoloration is due to winter injury with foliage at the tips of branches or on the windward side of plants most heavily affected.


Some discoloration was caused by salt damage either directly with “ice melt” or rock salt inadvertently thrown onto foliage, or indirectly with “salt spray” carried onto foliage from nearby roadways.  Salt damage is sometimes, but not always, concentrated on one side of the plant.


However, a close examination may also reveal the telltale blister-like leaf symptoms caused by the boxwood leafminer (Monarthropalpus flavus).  Leafmines may be found throughout the plants although the highest concentration often occurs on foliage at branch tips.


Gently separating the upper and lower leaf surfaces (the leafminer had already done most of the work!) will reveal the bright yellow leafmining larvae (maggots) of this midge fly wiggling around in their blister mines.  The larvae will complete their development in a few weeks and pupate.  The pupae are also bright yellow at first, but turn orangish-yellow as this stage nears completion.


This non-native midge fly was accidentally introduced into North America from Europe in the early 1900s and is now common throughout Ohio.  Adults emerge at around the same time red horsechestnuts (Aesculus × carnea) and doublefile viburnums (Viburnum plicatum) are in full bloom (440 GDD).  Except for their bright orange abdomens, the adults superficially resemble miniature mosquitoes.


Females use their needle-like ovipositors to insert eggs between the upper and lower leaf surfaces of boxwood leaves.  Each leaf may contain multiple oviposition sites with several eggs per site.  These sites will become individual leafmines producing the blister-like leaf symptoms.


Eggs hatch in early-summer and the resulting larvae spend the remainder of the season consume interior leaf tissue as they develop through the 1st and 2nd instar stages.  Winter is spent as 3rd instar larvae inside the leafmines.  The larvae resume feeding in the spring and develop through a 4th instar stage.


Much of the leaf damage occurs in early spring with the ravenous larvae rapidly expanding their leafmines.  Multiple leafmines in individual leaves may coalesce causing the upper and lower leaf surfaces to delaminate over the entire leaf.  Individual mines may turn reddish-green at this time of the year with heavily mined leaves turning from yellow to orangish-brown causing the leafmining damage to be mistaken for winter injury.


A close examination of the leafmines at this time of the year may reveal small translucent “windowpanes” created by the larvae in the lower leaf surface.  The pupae will wiggle through these weak points to ease the emergence of fragile adults.


This pupal activity is responsible for one of the most unusual features of this midge fly:  reports of hissing, crackling, or rustling sounds coming from heavily infested boxwoods.  I’ve reported on this strange phenomenon in past BYGLs.  So, reports from gardeners or landscapers that they’ve heard boxwoods going snap, crackle, and pop should be taken seriously as the odd sounds are an indicator of a heavy boxwood leafminer infestation.


Damaging boxwood leafminer infestations can be suppressed through applications of neonicotinoids such as imidacloprid (e.g. Merit, Marathon, and generics) or dinotefuran (e.g. Safari or Zylam).  However, applications should be delayed until AFTER boxwoods bloom to protect pollinators.


Boxwood blooms attract a wide range of pollinators; blooming plants can literally buzz with their activity.  Delaying applications until blooms drop will result in some minor miner damage, particularly with the imidacloprid that is taken-up more slowly compared to dinotefuran.  However, this is a small price to pay for protecting pollinators.


You may find recommendations for topical applications of pyrethroid insecticides such as bifenthrin (e.g. Talstar) to target adult leafminer females before they lay eggs.  However, adults typically emerge in Greater Cincinnati while boxwoods are in full bloom, so I no longer recommend this application.


Plant selection provides a more long term solution to the depredations of boxwood leafminer by removing insecticides from the management equation.  A helpful research-based listing of the relative susceptibility of boxwoods to the leafminer was published in 2014 by the American Boxwood Society in their “The Boxwood Bulletin” [see More Information below].


More Information

American Boxwood Society, Boxwood Leafminer Evaluation




How To Hire An Arborist

Authors Amy Stone

Published on April 12, 2019



Ohio State University Extension’s Home Yard and Garden FactSheet HYG-1032 has been update and is available online. The OSU FactSheet includes tips for selecting an arborist and resources available to help find local arborists.


An arborist, by definition, is an individual trained in the art and science of planting, caring for, and maintaining individual trees. Arborists are knowledgeable about the needs of trees and are trained and equipped to provide proper tree care. Hiring an arborist is a decision that should not be taken lightly. Proper tree care is an investment that can lead to substantial returns. Well-cared-for trees are attractive and can add considerable value to your property. Poorly maintained trees can be a significant liability. Pruning or removing trees, especially large trees, can be dangerous work. Tree work should be done only by those trained and equipped to work safely in trees (ISA, 2018).


A huge thank you to Cindy Meyer with Warren County Soil and Water Conservation District for her work as a co-author and the photo used in this alert.


More Information

OSU Extension Home Yard and Garden 1032




Green Tigers Prowling Forest Trails

Authors Joe Boggs

Published on April 10, 2019



I spotted one of my favorite forest dwellers during a walk in the woods yesterday:  six-spotted tiger beetles (Cicindela sexguttata).  The beetles have a curious affinity for hanging out on woodland trails and they can certainly liven up a hike.


The beetles are well-named because these tiny “tigers” hunt, kill, and eat other insects.  The overall color of these shiny beetles varies from deep emerald green to slightly bluish-green depending on the angle of the light.  Six white spots are arranged along the trailing edge of the wing covers, three spots per side.  The spots are small and sometimes obscured by light bouncing off their highly reflective shiny bodies.


The beetles have bulging black eyes (the better to see you with, my dear!) that makes them look like they’re wearing goggles.  The beetles are agile flyers and their excellent eyesight coupled with long legs which gives them swift speed can make getting a close look difficult.


However, a close examination of this ferocious predator will reveal powerful sickle-shaped mandibles that are used to grab and dispatch luckless arthropod prey; a trait that is shared with other tiger beetles (family Carabidae (Ground Beetles); subfamily Cicindelinae (Tiger Beetles)).  A word of caution:  these carnivores can also use their impressive mandibles to deliver a painful bite to the hand of the overly curious.


Even the larvae of this tiny tiger are predators.  However, instead of actively hunting their prey, they conceal themselves in vertical burrows in the soil to await hapless victims.  When a meat item such as insects or spiders walks past, the tiger larva springs forth like a jack-in-the-box to grab dinner with their powerful mandibles.


The bottom line is that six-spotted tiger beetles are highly effective and important predators throughout their life cycle.  So, keep your eyes peeled for and hands away from these tiny tigers prowling our woodland trails … and don’t kill them since they are good guys!




Magnificent Magnolias

Authors Thomas deHaas

Published on April 9, 2019



Magnolias come in a range of flower colors and sizes.


The two most common in the landscape are Star Magnolia Magnolia stellata, which has a white flower, and Saucer Magnolia Magnolia soulangiana, which has a pale purple flower.


Many more cultivated varieties exist which include a yellow, Butterflies Magnolia Magnolia x. ‘Butterflies”, Magnolia x. loebneri ‘Leonard Messel’,


Magnolias can grow as a single stem tree form, which can reach 30 feet, or a small specimen tree that can be kept at 10 feet through pruning. Magnolias also come in a multi-stemmed small tree or shrub form.


The magnolias as a group are free from cultural problems except for an occasional outbreak of magnolia scale.


The one drawback as a group is because they flower so early; they can occasionally be burned by a frost, which will damage the flowers. But the solution is look to the ‘girl’ hybrids which bloom later:


By using varieties that bloom later, they tend be less susceptible to frost damage.

Take a look……………Magnolias are ‘MAGNIFICENT’






Where trade names are used, no discrimination is intended and no endorsement by Ohio State University Extension is implied. Although every attempt is made to produce information that is complete, timely, and accurate, the pesticide user bears responsibility of consulting the pesticide label and adhering to those directions.

Ohio State University Extension embraces human diversity and is committed to ensuring that all research and related educational programs are available to clientele on a nondiscriminatory basis without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, or veteran status. This statement is in accordance with United States Civil Rights Laws and the USDA.

CFAES provides research and related educational programs to clientele on a nondiscriminatory basis. For more information: [ ].

Any materials in this newsletter may be reproduced for educational purposes providing the source is credited.


BYGL Weekly News for April 1, 2019

The following articles were compiled during the last 7 days by members of the Extension, Nursery, Landscape, Turf (ENLT) team to benefit those who are managing a commercial nursery, garden center, or landscape business or someone who just wants to keep their yard looking good all summer.  Access the BYGL website for additional information on other seasonal topics at:

For more pictures and information, click on the article titles.  To contact the authors, click on their names.


Name That Insect . . .

Authors Amy Stone

Published on March 27, 2019



As temperatures warm, people are outside enjoying the almost, spring-like weather. There are still a few waiting for even warmer temperatures to arrive and stick around for more than a day – you know who you are. As everyone migrates outdoors as temperatures rise, the chances of an insect encounter will be pretty high. At the first encounter, many people may have an urge to “eliminate” the six legged species. Some may have thoughts of a quick step and smush, others may want to reach for a bottle to abolish the “pest.” It is important to take a step back – not necessarily to avoid the insect, but to identify it first and then act accordingly. Many times the recommended action will be to do nothing at all. Many insects that we encounter are beneficial and have important jobs to accomplish in what is typically a rather short life-span. Jobs that would be hindered if we stop their existence simply because we don’t like insects, we have a fear of insects, or just don’t care.


Earlier this week, a homeowner had an insect encounter as they were walking around the outside of their home. Instead of going into kill-mode, this homeowner collected the insect and brought it to their local Extension office for identification. Photos were taken of this rather larger black insect and the images began making the rounds being shared among Extension professionals. The insect was identified as the big-headed ground beetle, aka the pedunculate ground beetle (Scarites subterraneus). This insect is a predator and great for the garden.


This alert really serves three purposes that we would like to share with the readers:


If you weren’t familiar with the big-headed ground beetle, you are now. These ground beetles are very common in cultivated soils. They are about 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch in length, have a flattened appearance, and have front legs designed for digging.


Photo Credit: Amy Stone, OSU Extension – Lucas County; Good Garden Bugs by Author Mary Gardiner


If you come across an insect that you aren’t familiar with, don’t assume the worst, although there are some bad insects in the bunch. With care, collect the insect or take photos of the insect and do some research. Photos should be clear and also illustrate a size comparison whenever possible. Bad photos can lead to a bad identification or no identification at all. Blurry images can often make it impossible to identification an insect with 100% certainty. Engage your local Extension office, reach out to members of our BYGL writing team, connect with a green industry professional such as a certified arborist, landscaper or garden center expert, or take a look in books or on the internet.


And finally, we mention the internet. Just a reminder that not everything you read on the internet is true. While seeking information, you will also have to search out the truth and sort through lots of other information. Sites that end in “edu” are a great place to start.


Enjoy the warmer temperatures and expect an insect encounter while you are gardening, landscaping or just enjoying nature this spring.


More Information






Learn More About Ash Hazards

Authors Amy Stone

Published on March 27, 2019



Earlier this month, Joe Boggs authored a BYGL Alert entitled, Ash Breakage: the Hazard Continues (March 19, 2019). To follow-up with this topic, we wanted to alert you to an upcoming webinar from EAB University called Dead Ash Dangers and Considerations for Risk and Removal.


The online presentation will be held on April 2, 2019 at 11:00 am (EST).


To register click on this link:


All EABU webinars are free and tuning into many of the live webinars can earn you continuing education credits. If you can’t watch it live, but are still interested in the topic – no problem! All webinars are recorded and posted online after the session. Check out the list of previously recorded sessions on the regionally EAB website at:


There will be one more live EABU spring session following the April 2 program. On April 16, 2019 at 11 am (EST), Nate Siegert with the US Forest Service will be talking about Emerald Ash Borer: Perspective from a Recently Infested State.


While EAB is what some called old news in Ohio, there are folks who want to stay updated on its progress. The EAB invasion has advanced across the Northeast over the last decade, with the first detections occurring in western New York in 2009 and the most recent detections in Maine in 2018. Presently, infestation across the region may be characterized as mix of generally infested areas, newly infested locations, and expanding satellite infestations, with many areas yet to be invaded. The spatial and temporal dynamics of the EAB invasion along the leading edge from New York to Maine will be discussed, including a review of selected management activities, updates on recent changes, and future direction of management and regulatory work in light of reduced funding and potential federal deregulation.


Stay updated on EAB and other invasive species through EABU!


More Information

Emerald Ash Borer University

Regional Emerald Ash Borer Website




The Yellow of Winter Aconite Warms Gardeners Heart – Even Though the Temperatures Remain Cold

Authors Amy Stone

Published on March 27, 2019



Gardeners are always looking for signs of spring. Although the calendar tells us it is officially spring, Mother-Nature can sometimes send mixed messages.


The brightly colored yellow flowers of the winter aconite (Eranthis hyemalis) covering the ground might be just the sign that spring has arrived – at least we hope. Winter aconites are a bulb that will naturalize, creating a blanket of yellow flowers for all to enjoy. In fact, the bees were busy visiting one flower after another while I was out enjoying a walk around the Toledo Botanical Garden.


Photo Credit: Amy Stone, OSU Extension – Lucas County


The winter aconite is in the family Ranunculaceae. The plant prefers full sun to partial shade. One of my favorite sites to enjoy a naturalized stand is in a woodland garden that later this year will be dominated by shade produced by the mature trees, but in late winter and early spring it is just the perfect setting for these bulbs to show their horticultural-stuff.


It is also thought that the winter aconites can be grown among black walnut trees and that deer don’t particularly care for them. I have even enjoyed them peaking up through a blanket of snow. Thank goodness that wasn’t the case when I captured the images earlier this week.


If you are establishing this plant in the landscape, you will want to plant tubers 2-3″ deep and 3″ apart in late summer to early fall. It is recommended that you soak tubers overnight before planting. Once established, you may notice some self-seeding and naturalizing over time in optimum growing conditions. They tend not to like being disturbed or moved frequently. It is best to identify the location and let them live out their lives in that spot.


The plant is native to Europe. The genus (Eranthis) comes from the Greek words er meaning spring and anthos meaning a flower for its very early flowering. The specific epithet (hyemalis) means of winter or winter blooming.


Winter aconites can make a great addition to the front of perennial or shrub borders, in among the rocks in a rock garden, alongside pathways or walkways, and will also do well in containers. They are eye catching in masses and large numbers. Just remember that because they bloom so early in the season, don’t tuck them away in a far corner of the garden, but rather plant them somewhere they can be appreciated and enjoyed even if it is cold outside.

More Information

Missouri Botanical Garden, Plant FInder…






Be Alert to Poison Hemlock

Authors Joe Boggs

Published on March 26, 2019



Poison hemlock (Conium maculatum) is a non-native biennial weed that spends its first year as a low-growing basal rosette; the stage that is currently very apparent.  During its second year, plants produce erect, towering stalks and multi-branched stems topped with umbrella-like flowers.  Mature plants can measure 6-10′ tall and are prolific seed producers.


Despite its common name, poison hemlock is not a tree; it is a member of the carrot family, Apiaceae (formerly Umbelliferae).  It shares floral characteristics with other non-native members of the carrot family such as Queen Anne’s lace (Daucus carota) and the wild parsnip (Pastinaca sativa) which is notorious for producing sap that causes skin blisters.


All stages of the poison hemlock plant have bluish-green leaves that are 3-4 times pinnately compound.  The deeply cut parsley-like leaflets have sharp points.  Flowering plants have hairless, light-green to bluish-green stems that are covered with obvious purplish blotches.  Clusters of tiny white flowers are borne on structures called umbels that look like upside-down umbrellas.


Poison hemlock is one of the deadliest plants in North America.  This invasive plant was imported as an ornamental in the late 1800s from Europe, West Asia, and North Africa.  The plant contains highly toxic piperidine alkaloid compounds, including coniine and gamma-coniceine, which cause respiratory failure and death in mammals.


The toxins must be ingested or enter through the eyes or nasal passages to induce poisoning; they do not cause skin rashes or blistering.  Regardless, this plant should not be handled because sap on the skin can be rubbed into the eyes or accidentally ingested while handling food.


The roots are more toxic than the leaves and stems; however, all parts of the plant including the seeds should be considered dangerous.  Unfortunately, this dangerously toxic plant is becoming more common throughout Ohio including growth in landscape plantings where the close proximity to people increases poisoning risks.


While poison hemlock can be partially managed by mowing and tilling, the most effective control approach involves properly timed applications of selective or non-selective post-emergent herbicides including glyphosate (e.g. Roundup).  Each plant produces hundreds of seeds, so applications of herbicides made now will control both the first season rosette stage and the second season flowering stage before seeds are produced.





Be Alert for White Pine Weevil

Authors Joe Boggs

Published on March 26, 2019



White Pine Weevil (Pissodes strobi) females spend the winter out of sight cooling their six heels in the duff beneath their pine or spruce targets.  As temperatures warm in the spring, they climb their hosts to feed and lay eggs in the terminals.  Sap oozing from small holes in the terminals is a calling card of this weevil.


Females begin to emerge from their winter abodes when the accumulated Growing Degree Days (GDD) reach 84.  This roughly coincides with the full bloom of northern lights forsythia (Forsythia x intermedia), speckled alder (Alnus incana), and cornelian cherry dogwood (Cornus mas).  We have not yet reached the magic GDD number of 84 in southern Ohio; however, cornelian cherry dogwood bloom buds are beginning to show color meaning the weevils may soon be stirring.


This native weevil has a wide conifer host range that includes Scotch, jack, red, pitch, and eastern white pines as well as Douglas-fir and all spruces.  Indeed, the weevil’s love of spruce is exemplified by its alternate common name, Engelmann Spruce Weevil, or simply Spruce Weevil.  White pine weevil is not just found in Ohio; it ranges from the east coast west into the Rockies.


The females use their chewing mouthparts located at the tip of their long snout (rostrum) to chew small holes through the bark to feed on the sugar and nutrient-rich phloem.  Eventually, they will turn around and deposit an egg in some of these holes.


The resulting white, legless, slightly curved, grub-like larvae tunnel downward side-by-side just beneath the bark feeding on the phloem.  Pupation later this season is marked by the construction of so-called “chip cocoons” by the larvae prior to entering the pupal stage.


Infested leaders wilt, turn brown, and die.  Dead leaders occurring in mid-summer which sometimes have a curved “shepherd’s crook” appearance is another calling card of this weevil.  New adults emerge from the infested terminals late in the season to feed and mate.  Females of this second generation then crawl to the duff to spend the winter in preparation for sneaking up on us next spring.


The weevils are capable of killing small trees less than 3′ in height, but it does not kill large trees.  However, years of successive damage to terminal leaders will eventually create “cabbage trees” which are short, squat trees with multiple terminal leaders in landscapes and woodlots.  Of course, loss of the leaders presents a serious production problem in nurseries and Christmas tree plantations.


There are three effective suppression tools for reducing damage.  The first is the application of a “borer spray” to the terminals to kill the females before they lay eggs.  Effective products include those based on the active ingredients bifenthrin (e.g. Onyx), permethrin (e.g. Astro), or cyfluthrin (e.g. Tempo).  A second application may be required depending on spring weather conditions and product label recommendations.


If female weevils make it through the terminal insecticide applications, the second suppression tool is to remove and destroy infested terminals prior to the emergence of the next generation of adults later this season.  This will reduce the localized weevil population which is particularly effective where there are few conifer hosts growing in nearby forests or landscapes.  I’ll post a complete “how to” on this method later this season.


The third weevil management strategy is to make preventative systemic insecticide applications in the fall that target the weevils as they feed on the phloem the following spring. The systemics will also kill early instar larvae as they begin tunneling in the phloem but before they produce serious damage.  Systemics such as imidacloprid (e.g. Merit, Nuprid 1.6F, etc.) may be applied using soil drench or soil injection applications.  This preventative control measure should be reserved for landscapes, nurseries, or Christmas tree plantations that have a history of significant white pine weevil activity.





Where trade names are used, no discrimination is intended and no endorsement by Ohio State University Extension is implied. Although every attempt is made to produce information that is complete, timely, and accurate, the pesticide user bears responsibility of consulting the pesticide label and adhering to those directions.

Ohio State University Extension embraces human diversity and is committed to ensuring that all research and related educational programs are available to clientele on a nondiscriminatory basis without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, or veteran status. This statement is in accordance with United States Civil Rights Laws and the USDA.

CFAES provides research and related educational programs to clientele on a nondiscriminatory basis. For more information: [ ].

Any materials in this newsletter may be reproduced for educational purposes providing the source is credited.


BYGL Weekly News for December 10, 2018

BYGL Weekly News for December 10, 2018


The following articles were compiled during the last 7 days by members of the Extension, Nursery, Landscape, Turf (ENLT) team to benefit those who are managing a commercial nursery, garden center, or landscape business or someone who just wants to keep their yard looking good all summer.  Access the BYGL website for additional information on other seasonal topics at:


For more pictures and information, click on the article titles.  To contact the authors, click on their names.



You’re a Mean One… Mr. Recluse?

Authors Ashley Kulhanek

Published on December 4, 2018



It’s the holiday season (the holiday season…) and many are digging in attics and basements for decorations and bows, stored sweaters, coats and yes… SNOW boots.  Inevitably, Extension offices receive calls about the unfortunate spider (or stink bug) that was found, dead or alive, while sifting through packages, boxes or bags that haven’t seen the light of day for a year.  The question is, “Is it a brown recluse?”


Remember that there are many different spiders that may come to inhabit our homes at one point or another, and cooler temperatures often facilitate home invasions from multiple insects and spiders alike. This includes some recluse look-alike spiders such as wolf spiders, funnel weaver spiders, and barn spiders.  These home invaders often make their way indoors for shelter, protection from the weather, or in search of food.  They are actually beneficial, providing pest control of other insects or arthropods you would rather not have, inside or out.  So, keeping them around is usually encouraged!


Brown recluse spiders (Loxosceles reclusa) are not known to survive winter outdoors in Ohio, but they do survive well indoors and can be dispersed through movement of furniture or household goods to areas outside their generally considered “range”.  Brown recluse spiders are secretive in nature.  As with many spiders, any undisturbed dark area could be a habitable space for them to hide out.  They, as with many other spider species, could inhabit garages, attics, basements and crawl spaces, behind wall voids, and hollow spaces.  Shed skins and egg sacs may be found near joists and tight protective spaces or under clutter, insulation, stored undisturbed boxes and stored clothing.  So when we run across any spider or critter that falls out of that artificial tree we just hauled upstairs, we often assume the worst.


They are named recluse for their shy and timid behavior.  People who come into contact with the poor creatures usually do so by stepping into a shoe or tossing on a stored item of clothing that has long sat and hasn’t been washed or shook out for a long time.  In the face of the impending SQUISH, the spiders must lash out and bite as their only last defense.  And this is how many spider bites have happened, regardless of species.  Most arthropods only bite or sting in defense during accidental crushing or agitation.


The identifying character most cited for Brown Recluse is the “violin” or “fiddle” shape on its back (cephalothorax).  This description is actually a little subjective and sometime people mistake stripes or other patterns as the so-called fiddle.  A better key to identifying the brown recluse is its eyes.  Brown recluse have only 6 small eyes arranged in three pairs on the head.  With legs extended they are about the size of a quarter.  They are tan to brown in color and appear semi-hairless though they do have short sparse hairs.


Here in Medina County, we have not had any confirmed samples brought into the Extension Office this season, which his not to say they could never be found.  But, in Richard Bradley’s “In Ohio’s Backyard: Spiders” he states, “This infamous family is represented by two RARE species in Ohio.”  But that’s not always the case for some of Ohio’s more southern counties.


General precautions for any home spiders concerns:

– Reduce clutter that serves as dark hiding places in basements, garages, and homes.

– Use gloves and wear long sleeves when unpacking boxes from storage.

– Be vigilant of what you are doing and where you are stepping in unfrequented spaces.  Use a bright flashlight to inspect dark corners you may be rustling around in if concerned about the presence of spiders.


For More Information, Check Out These Resources

Bradley, R. 2004. In Ohio’s Backyard: Spiders. Ohio Biological Survey.

Jacobs, S. 2015. Brown Recluse Spiders Factsheet.  Penn State University

Potter, M. 2018. Brown Recluse Spider Factsheet.  University of Kentucky.


More Information

University Of Kentucky

Penn State University





2019 Commercial Applicator Recertification Conferences

Authors Jennifer Andon  Chrissy Kaminski

Published on December 3, 2018



  • Five hoursof recertification credits in one day!
  • Core credit available multiple times.
  • Fertilizer Recertification will be offered at Dayton, Sandusky and Columbus conferences.
  • All Categories will be offered.

Interstate reciprocity will be offered for the following states:  Indiana, Michigan, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, West Virginia.  Additionally, ISA and CCA credits will be offered for approved classes.

Exams will be offered at all four locations beginning at 10:30 am, for all categories.  Walk-in seats will be available. Please register for the exam by calling the Ohio Department of Agriculture at:  614-728-6978, or registering on-line at


2019 Commercial Recertification Conferences


January 9 (Wednesday)
Dayton Convention Center
Dayton, Ohio
February 22 (Friday)
Kalahari Conference Center
Sandusky, Ohio
January 15 (Tuesday)  
John S. Knight Center
Akron, Ohio
February 26 (Tuesday) 
Columbus Convention Center
Columbus, Ohio 

For Conference Questions, please go to or call OSU Pesticide Safety Education Program at 614-292-4070.

For Registration Questions, please call Walcom Registration Services at 740-524-4123

More Information


BYGL News – December 3

BYGL Weekly News for December 3, 2018

The following articles were compiled during the last 7 days by members of the Extension, Nursery, Landscape, Turf (ENLT) team to benefit those who are managing a commercial nursery, garden center, or landscape business or someone who just wants to keep their yard looking good all summer.  Access the BYGL website for additional information on other seasonal topics at:


For more pictures and information, click on the article titles.  To contact the authors, click on their names.

An Unusual Insect-Killing Fungus

Authors Joe Boggs

Published on November 30, 2018


I received an e-mail message this past Wednesday from Tom Macy (Forest Health Program Administrator, Ohio Department of Natural Resources) concerning efforts to discover locations of the non-native elongate hemlock scale (Fiorinia externa) in Ohio and other states.  His message included two attached images taken by Bill Laubscher (Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry) on November 20 that showed both the scale as well as odd looking blackened accretions on hemlock needles.

The file names for the images were Colletotrichum 1 and Colletotrichum 2.  I recognized the names as the genus of fungi that are associated with several plant diseases.  Indeed, if you Google Colletotrichum, you will find a number of plant-nasties including C. acutatum which is responsible for various anthracnose plant diseases.  At first, I thought Tom was reporting a fungal plant pathogen vectored by the scale.

However, Tom was sharing monitoring work in Pennsylvania by Bill Laubscher and Tim Tomon who also works for the Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry.  The blackened accretions in Bill’s images showed fungal activity.  The fungus, C. fioriniae (formerly C. acutatum var. fioriniae), had sprung forth from the bodies of elongate hemlock scale.  The fungus had killed the scale making it an entomopathogenic fungus.

Of course, mycopathogens that kill insects is nothing new.  Notable entomopathogenic fungi include Entomophthora maimaiga which can dramatically decimate gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar) populations.  Such spectacular declines are known as epizootic events which are analogous to epidemics in human populations.

What’s fascinating to me is C. fioriniae is genetically closely related to fungi that are almost exclusively plant pathogens.  We often stress that plant pathogens don’t infect animals which remains true.  I’ve never known of anyone losing fingers to the fire blight bacterium or being pockmarked by anthracnose fungi.  However, I’ve never seen such a close genetic and thus taxonomic relationship between plant and animal pathogens.

On the other hand, C. fioriniae doesn’t behave like many other animal pathogens by simply jumping from one animal host to another.  Apparently, it hides out within hemlock needles as an endophytic fungus. The prefix “endo” means internal, or within, and the suffix “phytic” means plant.  This fungus has an intimate relationship with hemlocks and remains poised within the plant to spring forth and infect elongate hemlock scale.  It represents a case of mutualism with the fungus acting as natural protection against the scale.

It’s easy to imagine how this fungus may have evolved to infect a sedentary sucking insect.  The scale is a stationary target.  Once it settles and inserts its piercing-sucking mouthparts into the needles, it’s a sitting duck for fungal infection.  Perhaps the fungus is even sucked-up by the scale.

The potential significance of C. fioriniae as a biocontrol agent first came to light in 2002 with a widespread elongate hemlock scale epizootic event across several states including Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.  Subsequent bioassay research published in 2009 showed this fungus is capable of producing mortality rates greater than 90% (See “2009 Journal of Insect Science” under More Information below).


Please Report

Thus far, we are uncertain of the exact geographical range of the non-native elongate hemlock scale in North America.  Also, we would be very interested to learn the extent of the fungal infections.

We need your help.  Take a close look at the images included in this report including those taken by Bill Laubscher in Pennsylvania on November 20.  Beyond its namesake host, elongate hemlock scale may also infest true firs, Douglas-fir, spruces, cedars, and occasionally pines and yews.  As with many armored scales on conifers, greater concentrations of scale bodies tend to be found on the older, inner needles.

If you find the scale, please report the exact location as well as the host.  Also, please note whether or not you see the blackened growth arising from the scale which indicates a fungal infection.  This is an “armored” scale meaning that it does not exude honeydew that becomes colonized by black sooty molds.

You can send your reports to me (just click on my name above to get my e-mail address) or to Tom Macy at:

More Information

2009 Journal of Insect Science



Where trade names are used, no discrimination is intended and no endorsement by Ohio State University Extension is implied. Although every attempt is made to produce information that is complete, timely, and accurate, the pesticide user bears responsibility of consulting the pesticide label and adhering to those directions.

Ohio State University Extension embraces human diversity and is committed to ensuring that all research and related educational programs are available to clientele on a nondiscriminatory basis without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, or veteran status. This statement is in accordance with United States Civil Rights Laws and the USDA.

CFAES provides research and related educational programs to clientele on a nondiscriminatory basis. For more information: [ ].

Any materials in this newsletter may be reproduced for educational purposes providing the source is credited.


BYGL Weekly News for October 29, 2018

BYGL Weekly News for October 29, 2018



The following articles were compiled during the last 7 days by members of the Extension, Nursery, Landscape, Turf (ENLT) team to benefit those who are managing a commercial nursery, garden center, or landscape business or someone who just wants to keep their yard looking good all summer.  Access the BYGL website for additional information on other seasonal topics at:


For more pictures and information, click on the article titles.  To contact the authors, click on their names.



A Diagnostic Dilemma Reveals an Unusual Plant Disease

Authors Joe Boggs

Published on October 23, 2018



We strive to post BYGL Alerts based on timely, current observations.  However, sometimes our discoveries are made much later as we try to identify what we photographed during the growing season.  Such is the case with this report.


This past June, I came across some odd, wart-like symptoms on the upper leaf surfaces of plants I could only identify as some type of morning glory (family Convolvulaceae).  I was certain at the time that the symptoms were caused by an eriophyid mite (family Eriophyidae).  The “warts” looked like symptoms produced by oak leaf blister mites, Aceria triplacis, on its namesake host.  Or, walnut pouch galls produced by the eriophyid, Eriophyes brachytarsus.


Of course, the first question you should ask in plant problem diagnostics is “what is the plant?”  I was confident at the time that the plant was some type of morning glory, but I couldn’t find a diagnostic “fit” by searching the web using “eriophyid mites” and “morning glory” or variations on this theme.  So, I abandoned the search for another day; it was June and there were plenty of other diagnostic shiny things to pursue.


My lack of persistence came home to roost today as I was trying to label the images taken at the time so I could use them for teaching.  I had no diagnosis, or even a correct plant ID, to guide me on where to place the pictures in my image library and I hate adding more images to my ever-expanding “Unknowns” image folder.


I started all over again and finally identified the plants in my pictures:  wild sweet potato (Ipomoea pandurata, family Convolvulaceae).  This plant was new to me although I have probably walked past it many times.


Armed with a plant name, I began searching the web for information on eriophyid mites on wild sweet potato … and barreled down a diagnostic blind alley by ignoring another question you should ask in plant problem diagnostics:  “what exactly do you see?”  I consider this one of the most important questions to avoid getting lost in the diagnostic wilderness.


Looking closely at one of my images, I saw tiny, white, puffball-like structures in the indentations on the underside of the leaves rather than the expected felt-like material produced by an eriophyid mite.  It wasn’t an eriophyid mite after all; it was possibly a plant disease!  I was emerging from the diagnostic wilderness!


A quick search for diseases of wild sweet potato revealed a disease and plant pathogen that were new to me.  The disease is called white rust which may indicate a fungal infection is involved; however, the pathogen is Albugo ipomoea-panduratae.  This is not a fungus; it’s an oomycete.


These fascinating organisms were once lumped in with fungi.  However, oomycetes are now grouped in completely different taxonomic categories; some even say a different kingdom.  Unfortunately, many types are still given names that make them sound like fungi such as water molds or downy mildews.


Knowing that oomycetes are not fungi is more than a taxonomic exercise.  For one, oomycetes go through a mobile stage with whip-like flagella that allows them to swim in water.  This explains why irrigation ponds and streams can play an important role in spreading these organisms and their resulting plant diseases.


In fact, some water molds produce very significant plant diseases such as downy mildew of impatiens produced by Plasmopara obducens and downy mildew of cucurbits produced by Pseudoperonospora cubensis.  Of course, the most notorious of all is late blight of potato produced by Phytophthora infestans which was responsible for the Irish potato famine and resulting diaspora of the Irish people.


White rust can occur on both cultivated and wild sweet potatoes as well as many other morning glory family members.  However, various web resources indicate the disease rarely causes damage severe enough to warrant control measures.  Still, the location where I found the infected wild sweet potato plants may speak to the connection between water and pathogen spread.  The plants are in a park frequently inundated by flood waters from the Little Miami River.


I’ve learned from experience that a successful plant problem diagnosis is often the result of perseverance; even dogged persistence.  Sometimes it happens quickly, sometimes it takes months or even years.


I also keep re-learning that ignoring important plant problem diagnostic questions can add to that time; even contribute to my “unknowns” folder.  We’re updating our “20 Questions on Plant Diagnosis” OSU Fact Sheet.  In the meantime, you can review the current version under “More Information” below.  Obviously, I need to take my own advice.


More Information

20 Questions on Plant Diagnosis







Thursday, February 7, 2019

Sharonville Convention Center

11355 Chester Rd

Cincinnati, OH  45246




Don’t miss out on:

è Cutting edge horticultural training sessions

è Networking opportunities

è Vendor/Trade Show

è Pesticide Re-certification (Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky) & Professional credit opportunities

è Keynote:  “The State of Trees,” Dr. Dan Herms, Vice President of Research & Development, The Davey Tree Expert Company

Sponsorship Opportunities are Available!

Your business can reach “the best of” the Tri-state’s green industry:  three straight years of record-breaking attendance! 


Click this hotlink to learn more:        


The Tri-State Green Industry Conference is a collaborative educational effort between:

Ohio State University Extension

University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension

Purdue Extension

Cincinnati State Technical and Community College

Boone County Arboretum

Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden

Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum.

Questions? Call Julie Crook (513) 946-8998, or e-mail at:

BYGL Weekly News for October 15, 2018

BYGL Weekly News for October 15, 2018

The following articles were compiled during the last 7 days by members of the Extension, Nursery, Landscape, Turf (ENLT) team to benefit those who are managing a commercial nursery, garden center, or landscape business or someone who just wants to keep their yard looking good all summer.  Access the BYGL website for additional information on other seasonal topics at:


For more pictures and information, click on the article titles.  To contact the authors, click on their names.



Get Ready for a Little Breaking and Entering

Authors Joe Boggs

Published on October 11, 2018



Our drop in temperatures throughout Ohio will no doubt convince fall home invading insects that it’s time to seek winter quarters.  These unwelcomed guests typically include Boxelder Bugs (Boisea trivittatus); Western Conifer Seed Bugs (Leptoglossus occidentalis); Magnolia Seed Bugs (Leptoglossus fulvicornis); Multicolored Asian Lady Beetles (Harmonia axyridis); and the most notorious of all, Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs (Halyomorpha halys).


These home invaders have several things in common.  First, their populations may vary considerably even across relatively short distances.  Some homes may be inundated while those located just a few miles away remain free of insect marauders.


Even more challenging, late-season outdoor populations are not always a reliable predictor of indoor excursions.  Just because you didn’t see them in September doesn’t mean you won’t see them sitting next to you on your sofa in November.


A Series of Unfortunate Events

The second thing these home invaders have in common is their “cold-blooded” physiology meaning the speed of their metabolism is mostly governed by ambient temperature; the higher the temperature, the faster their metabolism, and the faster they “burn” fat.  Yes, insects have fat, but it’s confined by their hard exoskeletons so they don’t suffer ever-expanding waistlines.


These insects feed voraciously in late summer to accumulate fat.  They then seek sheltered locations in the fall where cool temperatures slow their metabolism during the winter so they will not exhaust their stored fat reserves.  This survival strategy keeps them alive since there is nothing for them to eat throughout the winter.


The insects are attracted to the solar heat radiating from southern or western facing roofs and outside walls as well as the warmth radiating from within.  This can lead them into attics, outside wall voids, and spaces around door jams and window frames that make perfect overwintering sites.  They stand a good chance of surviving the winter as long as they remain in these cool, protected sites.


However, sometimes they make a terrible error; for both the insect and a homeowner.  Instead of staying put, they continue to follow the heat gradient into homes.  This is accidental and disastrous for the insects because the high indoor temperatures cause them to burn through their fat reserves and starve to death.  And, they do not go gentle into that good night!  Starving brown marmorated stink bugs and multicolored Asian lady beetles commonly take flight to buzz-bomb astonished homeowners and terrified pets.


The Best Defense is a Good Offense

The best defense against home invaders buzzing or lumbering around inside a home is to prevent them from entering in the first place.  Although there are effective indoor marmorated stink bug traps, they shouldn’t be used in place of sealing openings that allow the bugs to enter the home.  An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of bugs.


Large openings created by the loss of old caulking around window frames or door jams provide easy access into homes.  Such openings should be sealed using a good quality flexible caulk or insulating foam sealant for large openings.


Poorly attached home siding and rips in window screens also provide an open invitation.  The same is true of worn-out exterior door sweeps including doors leading into attached garages; they may as well have an “enter here” sign hanging on them.  Venture into the attic to look for unprotected vents, such as bathroom and kitchen vents, or unscreened attic vents.  While in the attic, look for openings around soffits.  Both lady beetles and stink bugs commonly crawl upwards when they land on outside walls; gaps created by loose-fitting soffits are gateways into home attics.


Handle with Care

Insects that find their way into a home should be dealt with carefully. Swatting or otherwise smashing these insects can cause more damage than leaving them alone since fluids inside their bodies can leave permanent stains on furniture, carpets, and walls.  Also, mashing multicolored Asian lady beetles and brown marmorated stink bugs can release a lingering eau de bug; lady beetles have stinky blood and stink bugs are called stink bugs for a reason!


Vacuum cleaners present their own set of risks.  A “direct-fan” type of vacuum cleaner should never be used.  Passing the refuse through an impeller will create a horrifying bug-blender!  Even a “fan-bypass” type (e.g. Shop-Vac) with the refuse bypassing the impeller can develop a distinctive scent if used on stink bugs because the bugs will release their defense odor in response to swirling around inside the vacuum tank.


However, fragrant misadventures with vacuum cleaners can be minimized with a slight modification involving using a nylon ankle sock.  The method is clearly described in the OSU Factsheet titled, Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle (see “More Information” below).


Small numbers of home invaders can be scooped-up and discarded by constructing a simple but effective “bug collector” using a plastic pint water bottle.  Large numbers of insects can be quickly dispatched by placing a small amount of soapy water in the bottom of the bug collector.


More Information

OSU Factsheet, Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle, ENT-44





Calico Scale Crawlers Move to Stems

Authors Joe Boggs

Published on October 11, 2018



Infestations of the non-native Calico Scale (Eulecanium cerasorum) can be difficult to detect during the growing season.  However, clusters of crawlers on blackened stems coupled with dead females are key diagnostic features for spotting calico scale at this time of the year.


Calico scale is a “soft scale” meaning that female scales are protected by a soft helmet-shaped shell.  This is a relatively large soft scale with mature female shells measuring about 1/4″ in diameter. The scale’s common name comes from the starkly contrasting calico pattern of black-and-white markings on the shells of live females found on the stems in the spring.


Females produce fertile eggs in late-spring to early-summer without the need for mating; there are no males.  This form of reproduction without males is called parthenogenesis.


The females then die and turn orangish-brown, but they don’t disappear.  The dead females may give the false impression that control efforts such as an insecticide application were effective.  In fact, I’ve have received pictures in the past of calico scale females that died of natural causes being used as proof that an insecticide application was effective.


Some of the dead females will remain attached to the stems well into the fall.  However, others may become detached leaving behind a distinct silvery-white deposit that starkly contrasts with black sooty molds.  Indeed, if you know what to look for, you can easily spot these deposits on stems 10 – 15′ above the ground.


The 1st instar crawlers that hatch from the eggs distribute themselves among their host’s leaves where they crowd together along leaf veins and tap into phloem vessels.  They remain on the leaves throughout the growing season molting into 2nd instar crawlers in mid-summer.  They migrate back to stems prior to the leaves dropping in autumn and settle down for the winter.  It’s a smart move; they would have a terrible experience if they remained on the shed leaves.


The overwintered crawlers molt into parthenogenetic females in the spring.  There is one generation per season.


As with all soft scales, calico scale adults and crawlers feed by inserting their piercing-sucking mouthparts into phloem vessels to extract amino acids that are dissolved in the sugary plant sap.  Both adults and crawlers discharge excess sap from their anus in the form of sticky, sugary “honeydew” that drips onto the leaves, stems, and branches of scale-infested trees.


Black sooty molds colonize the honeydew to produce blackened twigs, branches and trucks which is one of the most obvious symptoms of a heavy calico scale infestation.  The blackening becomes particularly evident after trees shed their leaves allowing sunshine to spotlight the black fungal growth.


Calico scale can infest a wide variety of deciduous trees including buckeye, crabapple, dogwood, elm, hackberry, hawthorn, honeylocust, horse-chestnut, magnolia, maple, oak, pear, redbud, sweetgum, tuliptree, yellowwood, witchhazel, and zelkova.  However, I’ve found they are particularly fond of honeylocust; it’s my “go-to” tree for looking for calico scale in an urban landscape.


There are no effective management tactics that can be applied at this time of the year to suppress a calico scale infestation.  However, discovering a calico scale infestation now will give you time to plan a management strategy for next season.


As with most soft scales, calico scale is seldom a direct killer of established landscape trees.  But heavily infested trees may suffer branch dieback and the accumulated stress caused by substantial sap loss coupled with other stress-producing conditions may kill trees.  So, the best first step in scale management is to resolve other issues that may affect tree health.




Fall Color: It’s not just for leaves anymore!

Authors Thomas deHaas

Published on October 11, 2018



As we approach fall and its wide range of colors, we sometimes forget about other sources of color in the landscape: FRUIT!

Viburnums, Deciduous Hollies, even Dogwoods can provide fall color in the landscape.  Viburnum fruit can range from almost black to purple (Viburnum dentatum)

to red, (Viburnum trilobum ‘Wentworth’) even pink (Viburnum nudum) and yellow (Viburnum dilitatum ‘Michael Dodge).


In addition, these fruits can attract wildlife to the landscape. Deciduous Holly berries, often known as winterberries can range from bright red (Ilex verticillata ‘Stoplight’) to orange and yellow (Ilex verticilatta ‘Winter Gold’).  The fruit will remain after the leaves fall and until eaten by birds and wildlife.  Beautyberry can provide a splash of violet-purple color (Callicarpa dichotoma ‘Issai’).


Even flowering dogwood can put on a show with its red fruit.(Cornus florida)


So as you plan for next year and what plants to consider, don’t think just about flowers or fall color. Consider the fruit.




Great Lakes Apple Crunch Day – October 11, 2018

Authors Amy Stone

Published on October 10, 2018



Thursday, October 11, 2018 is Great Lakes Apple Crunch Day. The purpose of the day is to celebrate National Farm to School Month by crunching into locally and regionally grown apples. Everyone, regardless of your age, is welcome to Crunch!


Here are some details from Wisconsin who coordinates this multi-state event.

  • Location:Any site including K-12 schools, early care settings, hospitals, colleges/universities, business campuses, state agencies and other organizations across Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio
  • Details:Celebrate National Farm to School Month by crunching into apples at NOON on Thursday, October 11. Everyone is welcome to Crunch! Although we aim for a collective Crunch on October 11, you are welcome to Crunch any day or time in October that works for you.
  • Join in!Last October 1,543,781 students, children, teachers, and good food supporters across the region crunched. Let’s join forces and meet the ONE MILLION CRUNCH goal again this year! Visit the Great Lakes Apple Crunch Facebook page to get updates and see photos from last year’s Crunch. You can find the page at:


In Ohio you can actually register a group by logging in at:


In addition another web-resource that is being promoted this fall is:  This website will connect you with local orchards. You are able to search by GPS, by county, by orchard or by keyword. There is also information about apple nutrition, recipes and information on handling and storing Ohio apples.


So whether you take a crunch tomorrow as part of a larger event, be sure to enjoy some local apples before the season disappears.


Earlier this month, I was part of a behind-the-scenes tour at a local orchard in Northwest Ohio. As part of the tour we did an apple tasting of a dozen varieties – both antique varieties and those that are newer. The owner shared with the group about their involvement in the Midwest Apple Improvement Association. To learn more about this group of growers, check out their website at:


Happy National Apple Crunch Day – one day early!


More Information

Great Lakes Apple Crunch Day





Why Trees Matter – October 24, 2018

Authors Amy Stone

Published on October 10, 2018



Join us October 24, 2018 for the annual ‘Why Trees Matter Forum’ at the Miller Pavilion at Secrest Arboretum, Wooster, Ohio. We love trees – do you?


This year we welcome keynote speaker Dr. Barb Fair from North Carolina State University. There is a host of other speakers to round out the day where we get to focus on all the reasons trees matter.


You won’t want to miss out on this educational program all about trees! See you at Secrest on October 24!


More Information

Link to Registration





A Spicy Surprise

Authors Joe Boggs

Published on October 9, 2018



I received a container of ground cayenne peppers with a surprise far greater than the capsaicin kick.  The product was heavily infested with cigarette beetles (Lasioderma serricorne, family Anobiidae).  The homeowner noted they hadn’t used the product for some time.  However, they had noticed small brown beetles buzzing around their home and collecting on their window seals.


Cigarette beetles and drugstore beetles (Stegobium paniceum, family Anobiidae) are two common “pantry pests” in Ohio.  Both beetles are reddish-brown and may feed on the same products.  However, cigarette beetles are more rounded in their shape and covered in long hairs giving them a somewhat fuzzy appearance (see “More Information” below).


Cigarette beetles are so-named because they were commonly found feeding on tobacco products.  The beetles may also be found feeding and fouling a wide range of dried and processed products including paprika, chili powder, dried ginger, dates, raisins, dried pasta, pet foods, stored grains, cereals, and seeds of all sorts including birdseed and seeds found in dried flower arrangements.


Although their primary means of transport and spread is through infested materials, cigarette beetles also live outdoors and may find their way into homes.  For this reason, purchased products cannot always be blamed with certainty as being the source of a home pantry invasion.  Still, it’s a good idea for products to be used before their “sell by” date and products being held in reserve to survive a zombie apocalypse should be periodically inspected.


Outdoors, the beetles are good flyers and most active at dusk.  They are attracted to light and I have found them buzzing around porch lights at night.  They reverse course inside homes with the beetles flying from darkened interiors to windows.  Homeowners may find a collection of dead beetle bodies on window seals which is a strong indication of a cigarette beetle infestation.


Finding cigarette beetles or any other pantry pest in a home should trigger an immediate search and destroy mission.  All possible food sources throughout the home (e.g. basements, attached garages) should be opened and inspected.  These beetles can spread rapidly throughout a home to produce many “satellite infestations.”


Infested products will include beetles; fuzzy, white, grub-like beetle larvae; and hardened pupal cells from which the adults emerge.  Of course, cigarette beetles change both the appearance and consistency of their food as they pass it through their gut.  Whether the product is a fine powder like ground cayenne peppers or large clumps like pet food or breakfast cereal, it will all get converted into sawdust-like frass (= excrement) in the end.


Infested products should be double-bagged and placed outside to await trash collection.  The products should not be stored in a garage any structure attached to a home.  Products that are not infested should be placed in sealed plastic containers.  Plastic food storage bags should not be used because the beetles can chew through the thin plastic.


Traps are available that are baited with the female sex pheromone for the cigarette beetle, serricornin (4, 6-dimethyl-7-hydroxy-nonan-3-one).  The traps only attract males and are best used for monitoring to make certain a satellite infestation isn’t missed.  The traps aren’t effective enough in a home environment to eliminate an infestation.


On a final note, we discussed this infestation during our BYGL Zoom Inservice this morning and Pam Bennett (OSU Extension, Clark County) noted that finding cigarette beetles in the ground cayenne peppers should give pause to the idea that capsaicin (the “hot” in hot peppers) is a good insecticide.  Indeed, the infestation provided clear evidence that some insects, like cigarette beetles, can revel in it!


More Information

Cigarette Beetle





Time to Clean-Up Garden Peonies

Authors Joe Boggs

Published on October 8, 2018



Peony leaf blotch disease is caused by the fungus Graphiopsis chlorocephala (formerly Cladosporium paeoniae).  The fungus produces diseases with different names depending on the symptoms.


Leaf blotch occurs when infections produce large, shiny, brown or purple leaf lesions.  Peony “red spot” and “measles” occur when fungal infections produce distinct red to reddish-black spots on the stems.  Typically, the measles symptoms appear before the leaf blotch symptoms with the stem lesions expanding as the season progresses.


Peonies are also susceptible to a specific gray mold fungus, Botrytis paeoniae.  The fungus may infect newly emerging shoots in the spring covering them in a fine, velvety gray mold.  The Botrytis can also infect flower parts later in the season to produce “bud blast” with flower buds failing to open and “flower blight” with opened flowers collapsing and becoming blackened.  Fungal infections can also move down the stems to produce a “shoot blight.”


Unfortunately, web searches may yield reports with images that clearly show peony leaf blotch but are mislabeled “Botrytis blight,” or images of Botrytis infections that are blamed on the leaf blotch fungus.  These fungi have very different disease cycles.  Of course, it’s not unusual to find both diseases on the same peony plant.


The good news is that these diseases are not considered to be killers of garden (herbaceous) peonies.  Symptoms tend to escalate as the season progresses meaning plants apparently have enough time to produce and store enough carbohydrate to support regrowth the following season.  However, both of these diseases can seriously detract from the aesthetic value of peonies in landscapes meaning there is value in trying to halt infections and subsequent symptoms.




The Disease Triangle illustrates the three conditions that must be met for a plant disease to develop:  the pathogen must be present; the plant host must be susceptible to infection; and environmental conditions must be present that support infection and disease development.  Removing only one of these conditions will prevent disease development.


Various web reports on peony leaf blotch recommend planting less susceptible varieties; however, I have found no scientific publications presenting data from plant trials that assessed disease susceptibility.  There are anecdotal accounts that susceptibility varies among the different peony varieties and I’ve observed this in peony plantings.  Of course, other factors may be responsible for varying levels of infections such as micro-environments acting to increase or decrease infections within the plantings.


Some disease suppression may be achieved by environmental management such as avoiding overhead irrigation.  However, it’s difficult to manage natural overhead irrigation in the form of rainfall.


Suppression of the pathogen by fungicidal applications can be effective; however, success is generally problematic.  Multiple applications are required over a significant portion of the growing season and heavy rainfall events can mean a shortening of the intervals between applications.  Relying on fungicides alone is not likely to be successful for home gardeners and can even present a serious challenge for landscape management professionals.


Removal of the plant pathogens through sanitation is one of the effective management strategies for both of these garden peony diseases.  This approach focuses on getting rid of infectious tissues that harbor the fungi throughout the growing season or over the winter.


Here are the ABCs of managing these diseases using all parts of the Disease Triangle starting this fall:


Fall (right now!):

  1. Cut, remove and destroy all of the top growth down to the soil line.
  2. Rake, remove and destroy all mulch and plant debris that was beneath the infected plants.
  3. Redistribute new mulch for the winter to a depth of no more than 2 – 3″.  This will suppress the release of fungal spores next spring from infectious debris that may have been missed during the fall clean-up.



Protect new shoots using an appropriately labeled fungicide.  The product label must include the site (e.g. landscape, nursery, etc.) and make certain peonies are not listed as being sensitive to the product.  This is an added protective measure and requires just one or two applications.  I have heard a number of anecdotal accounts of peony leaf blotch being successfully managed without these fungicidal applications in the spring.  However, these applications should be considered if there were heavy Botrytis infections this season.


During the Growing Season:

  1. Remove and destroy bloom buds, flowers, and stems showing signs of Botrytisinfections.  “Dead-heading” spent flowers is also recommended.
  2. Selectively prune plants to improve air circulation which will enhance leaf and stem drying.
  3. Avoid overhead irrigation; use drip irrigation if available.






Where trade names are used, no discrimination is intended and no endorsement by Ohio State University Extension is implied. Although every attempt is made to produce information that is complete, timely, and accurate, the pesticide user bears responsibility of consulting the pesticide label and adhering to those directions.

Ohio State University Extension embraces human diversity and is committed to ensuring that all research and related educational programs are available to clientele on a nondiscriminatory basis without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, or veteran status. This statement is in accordance with United States Civil Rights Laws and the USDA.

CFAES provides research and related educational programs to clientele on a nondiscriminatory basis. For more information: [ ].

Any materials in this newsletter may be reproduced for educational purposes providing the source is credited.



BYGL Weekly News for October 8, 2018

BYGL Weekly News for October 8, 2018

The following articles were compiled during the last 7 days by members of the Extension, Nursery, Landscape, Turf (ENLT) team to benefit those who are managing a commercial nursery, garden center, or landscape business or someone who just wants to keep their yard looking good all summer.  Access the BYGL website for additional information on other seasonal topics at:

For more pictures and information, click on the article titles.  To contact the authors, click on their names.


A Most Unusual Grub

Authors Joe Boggs

Published on October 6, 2018



I came across a green June beetle (Cotinis nitida, family Scarabaeidae) larva (grub) last Thursday slowly slinking across a driveway.  This is one of the largest and strangest white grubs you’ll ever see in Ohio.  First, the mature grubs are huge measuring well over 1″ in length.  They look like white grubs on steroids.


Second, the grubs practice a highly unusual mode of movement:  they crawl along on their backs in an undulating motion!  You can see this bizarre upside-down grub-crawl in a video I posted by clicking on “Grub Crawl” under “More Information” below.


The grubs rolling motion cause them to superficially resemble caterpillars.  In fact, when I first saw this grub creeping along, I thought it was a caterpillar.  Since green June beetles crawl without the aid of their legs, you’ll notice their legs are smaller than those of other white grubs, particularly in relation to the size of their bodies.


The other unusual thing about these grubs is that unlike other white grubs affecting turfgrass, green June beetle grubs create vertical burrows 10-12″ into the soil, and they normally remain closely associated with these burrows.  They primarily feed on decaying organic matter such as thatch and much of their damage to turfgrass is associated with their burrowing and tunneling behavior.  However, they have been known to feed on turfgrass producing damage in irregular patches.


The grubs venture out of their burrows in late-evening or during the night to feed or to go on an upside-down crawl-about in search of more food.  They may also be driven out by heavy rains to appear in large numbers meandering across driveways and sidewalks or dropping into swimming pools.  Although they can damage turfgrass, they’re primarily considered a nuisance pest.


The same is true of the large, metallic green adult beetles.  Although they may occasionally feed on tree leaves as skeletonizers, or they may be found on ripening fruit, the beetles are most notorious for emerging en masse to terrorize backyard gardeners, golfers, sunbathers, small pets, etc., as they cruise about 2 – 3 ft. above the ground.  Their large size coupled with an audible “buzzing” sound and low-level flight plan may induce mild panic in individuals unfamiliar with this insect.  Like their grubs, the beetles have great entertainment value.


There appears to be a strong association between high organic and high populations of this beetle.  So, control efforts should focus on reducing organic matter, particularly thatch, beneath infested lawns.  For example, thatch reduction using core aeration to hasten decay by infusing oxygen into the organic matter may eventually make infested lawns less attractive as grub development sites by these buzz-bombing beetles.


The grubs are also food for the larvae of the blue-winged wasp (Scolia dubia).  This wasp is a common visitor to late-season blooms such as those produced by goldenrod (Solidago spp.).  Providing a good late-season nectar source, such as planting late-bloomers in landscapes, can help draw in this parasitoid wasp.


On a final note, I posted a BYGL Alert about this wasp just a few weeks ago (see Blue-Winged Wasps Cruising Lawns, September 17, 2018) and incorrectly stated that it is “a parasitoid of white grubs with a particular affinity for green June beetle (Continus nitida) and Japanese beetle (Popillia japonica) grubs.”  This is only half-right.  As turfgrass entomologist and (thankfully!) BYGL fact-checker, Dan Potter (Entomology, University of Kentucky) pointed out, there is no scientific evidence this wasp attacks Japanese beetle grubs.  However, it’s well established that the wasp is the nemesis of green June beetle grubs.


More Information

Grub Crawl




Bullet Galls and Their Guards

Authors Joe Boggs

Published on October 6, 2018



Oak bullet galls have reached their maximum size for the season and will soon release their developing female wasps.  The galls arise from twigs and are produced under the direction of several species of cynipid wasps (family Cynipidae) belonging to the genus Disholcaspis.  So, you may find different types of bullet galls depending on the exact gall-making wasp species that directed their creation.


Most bullet galls are more or less round-shaped and measure about 1/2″ in diameter.  Colors vary from light green to reddish-green, to light brown depending on the wasp species and the age of the gall.  Some bullet galls are covered in very fine, short hairs, while others are completely smooth.  They cause no appreciable harm to their oak hosts because they do not disrupt the vascular flow in the twigs.


Complex Life Cycle


The life cycle of bullet gall-wasps involves two different types of galls produced at different times of the year.  The current bullet galls will give rise to female wasps around the end of this month; no males are produced.  Wasp emergence is heralded by a small hole in the gall.  Once the wasps have emerged, the “spent” galls shrivel, darken in color, and some will detach from the oak stems over the winter.


The self-fertile females crawl to a dormant leaf bud where they lay a single egg per bud.  These eggs along with the resulting wasp larvae stimulate the tree to produce small, inconspicuous leaf galls in the spring.  Both male and female wasps develop inside these leaf galls and adults emerge in mid-to-late spring.


The mated females fly or crawl to newly elongated twigs where they insert their eggs through the phloem to be in contact with the cambium.  Or, depending on the gall-wasp species, they insert an egg in a new leaf bud.  This is important because the wasp requires the services of undifferentiated (meristematic) cells to grow their bullet galls.


As with all galls produced by wasps, midge flies, and other insects, the bullet wasp gall-maker uses various chemicals to turn plant genes on and off at just the right time to induce and direct gall formation.  Thus far, no researcher has ever duplicated this interaction without the aid of an insect gall-maker.


Paying for Protection


Many bullet galls include extrafloral nectaries (a plant organ) in their gall structure.  I find this to be incredible, but it’s not unique to bullet galls.  A number of other cynipid wasp galls also exude nectar including the oak bud gall produced by the wasp Neuroterus vesicula.


The nectar exuded from the galls attract a variety of stinging insects including bald-faced hornets (Dolichovespula maculata) and yellowjackets (Vespula spp.) as well as biting insects such as carpenter ants (Camponotus spp.).


Yellowjackets and bald-faced hornets are Jekyll and Hyde wasps.  During much of the season, they chow-down on soft-bodied insects such as caterpillars and sawfly larvae.  Their predatory lifestyle makes them beneficial insects.  However, in the fall, they switch from high-protein diets to high carbohydrate diets.  They can be a serious stinging-nuisance as they compete with our own high-carb consumption of soda, donuts, and certain adult beverages.


Bullet gall-makers take advantage of the wasp’s high-carb hankering with the nectar oozing from the extrafloral nectaries on the galls serving as “wasp candy.”  Of course, ants will also show-up to the sugar party.


Presumably, the close attention of stinging and biting insects prevents the immature gall-making wasp larvae located within the galls from receiving the unwanted attention of predators and parasitoids.  In other words, a little sugar bribe makes the gall-home safe for the gall-makers helpless offspring.




Small but Mighty Fly

Authors Joe Boggs

Published on October 5, 2018



I came across a beautiful little native fly this week while taking pictures of pollinators on common goldenrod (Solidago canadensis).  The fly, Trichopoda pennipes, doesn’t have a common name, but some web-based resources refer to it as the “feather-legged fly.”  This is not entirely correct.


It is just one type of feather-legged fly with the common name given to all members of the Trichopoda genus.  The name of the genus comes from the Greek tricho meaning “hair;” and poda meaning foot.  In fact, some refer to these flies as “hairy-legged flies.”  Even with the naked eye, you can clearly see the hair-like structures on the hind tibia that are responsible for the common and scientific names.


I came across an online resource that referred to Trichopoda pennipes as the orange-and-black feather-legged fly.  Although this common name hasn’t been approved by the Entomological Society of America, I like it because it’s so descriptive. So, I’ll refer to it in short-hand as the O&B fly.


Other fascinating features that are clearly visible on the O&B fly are their two wings which mean it’s truly a fly belonging to the order Diptera:  Di = two; ptera = wings.  Flies actually have four wings but the hind wings are modified into two knob-like structures called halteres which are used by flies for balance during flight.  It’s one reason flies are such good flyers and are called flies.  The saddlebag-shaped halteres on the O&B fly are relatively large compared to many dipterans and they are covered in orange scales making them easy to see.


The O&B fly belongs to the fly family Tachinidae (the parasitoid flies) and is found throughout much of North America.  Members of this family are well known for their prowess in tracking their hosts and for their larvae (maggots) ravaging their hosts from the inside out.


The O&B fly focuses its parasitoid scrutiny on the “true bugs” (order Hemiptera, suborder Heteroptera).  They can pay particular attention to some significant stink bugs (family Pentatomidae) including the southern green stink bug (Nezara viridula) notable for damaging cotton and other field crops and the brown marmorated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys) notable for damaging a number of different crops then invading homes to brag about it.  The fly will also parasitize various leaf-footed bugs (family Coreidae) such as the squash bug (Anasa tristis).


Research has shown that sex pheromones used by the southern green stink bug females to attract mates can be detected and used by the O&B fly to zero in on the bugs.  This devious host detection method is not unique to this fly; it’s been reported with other tachinid flies.


Once a bug host is located, the O&B fly females lay single or multiple eggs on the surface of their host.  The resulting fly maggots bore into their host; however, only one maggot survives to consume the entire contents of their bug host.  Again, this is not unique to this fly, or even to flies.  There are some parasitoid wasps that also subject their offspring to a survival of the fittest test.


Some parasitism rates by the O&B fly that are reported outside of scientific publications sound too good to be true, so they probably are.  However, various research papers do indicate this fly can have some significant impacts under certain conditions.


For example, there appears to be a connection between nectar sources, successful adult mating, and higher rates of parasitism.  Yet another example of the value of providing food for a pollinator adult (e.g. butterfly gardens) so their parasitoid or predator offspring can help reduce the number of nearby plant pests.  Where have you heard that before?




ArborEatYumm: OSU’s College of Food…

Authors Jim Chatfield

Published on October 4, 2018



…FOOD Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Let it never be forgot, the centrality of FOOD. Even in the landscape. So, Come one, come all.  Next Tuesday, October 9, at OSU’s Secrest Arboretum, from 5:00 – 8:00 pm, there will be a free Arbor-Eat-Um program. Edible landscaping. Bring your favorite landscape plant products that are edible: blueberry buckle, black chokeberry jam.


Mark Hoenigman and his pawpaw trifle, Cathy Herms and her Autumn olive pate de fruits – controlling invasives one bite at a time. Lois Rose and her Medlar jam. Ramp soup. Honey. Maple syrup. Dolgo crabapple butter – Mike Lee where are you?


Nothing from your landscape?  Just bring your appetite. Miller Pavilion. You do not need to register. Be there.




What Lies Beneath

Authors Joe Boggs

Published on October 3, 2018



I enjoy making unexpected discoveries with one revelation leading to the next and then the next like pulling apart one of those Russian nesting dolls.  My chain of discoveries started with finding “fresh” puffball mushrooms during a walk in a local park.  I was thrilled because I had never taken pictures of the early stages of these peculiar looking mushrooms.


Puffballs are the common name for the fruiting structures of a group of fungi that were once lumped together in the descriptively named but now obsolete taxonomic class, Gasteromycetes (Greek:  gaster = stomach; mycetes = fungus).  Unlike the mushrooms that we may love on our pizzas with the spores produced and released from external gill-like structures beneath a cap, the spores in puffballs are produced internally inside a hollow cavity called a gasterothecium (= stomach-like).


The puffballs I came across with their white, spongy interiors will eventually undergo a dramatic change to become brown sacs full of powdery spores that puff when squeezed; thus puffballs.  I hope to return to capture the next phase in their development unless someone steps on them to release clouds of spores.  Puffballs have great entertainment value.


I pulled up one of the puffballs and discovered the bottom was riddled with pits and holes created by pillbugs as they dined on the fungal delicacy.  I was thrilled because I had no pictures of these odd looking terrestrial crustaceans (phylum Arthropoda, subphylum Crustacea).  It was like lifting off the top of a Russian nesting doll to discover another doll hiding beneath.


Pillbugs are so-named because they roll themselves into a pill-like ball when disturbed.  This odd behavior gives rise to other common names such as armadillo bugs based on their roll-up behavior coupled with their obvious body plates.


You see this common name reflected by name of the pillbug family, Armadillidiidae.  It also appears in the name of the genus of the two most common pillbug species found in Ohio, Armadillidium vulgare (common pillbug) and A. nasatum.  Both are European natives that were introduced to North America so long ago it’s now common to think of them as native species.


Pillbugs live in dark, moist environments and are generally considered to be detritivores feeding on decaying plant debris.  However, on rare occasions, they may feed on living plant material and have been known to cause damage to vegetables including root crops like radishes and carrots as well as lettuce leaves and ripe tomatoes.  They may also become serious greenhouse pests by consuming seedling roots and young stems in contact with the soilless media.  However, pillbugs are mostly just nuisance pests because of their propensity to show up in large numbers where they’re least appreciated such as in cool, wet garages and basements.


Sowbugs (family Oniscidae) are not the same as pillbugs although they both may be found living in the same locations.  Sowbugs have two, small, pointed tail-like appendages that stick out of their back ends.  Pillbugs do not.  However, the big difference is that sowbugs cannot roll their bodies into round balls.  They may huff and puff and curl a bit, but they just can’t pull off the rolly-pollie body tuck.


Pillbug management around homes should focus on prevention through closing entry points and environment modifications to promote drying.  Door sweeps and door jambs should be inspected and action taken to close gaps that have become too wide.  Pillbugs benefit from high moisture, so running dehumidifiers will help keep basements and garages dry.  Mulch should be raked away from foundations to produce a “dry barrier.”  Also, decaying vegetation should be removed.


Of course, there are things that eat pillbugs which brings me to my third Russian doll discovery.  While taking pictures of the pillbugs crawling in and out of the cavities in the puffball, I came across a voracious predacious soldier beetle larva (Chauliognathus spp., family Cantharidae).  The soldier beetle larva was thrusting itself into the cavities to enjoy a pillbug meat treat.


Adult soldier beetles are also called “leatherwings” for their soft, flexible front wings.  The adults feed on nectar and pollen and are considered important plant pollinators.  In fact, goldenrod soldier beetles (C.  pennsylvanicus) are currently swarming over the flowers of its namesake native host plant.  Another common Ohio species, the margined leatherwing (C. marginatus), made its appearance this past spring and early summer on other flowering plants.


Soldier beetles and their predacious larvae are a good example of the value of providing food for a pollinator adult (e.g. butterfly gardens) so their predaceous larvae can help reduce pestiferous arthropods.  Research has shown the same is true for pollinators with parasitoid larvae.  It’s like opening a Russian nesting doll to discover unexpected treasure hidden beneath.




Diagnostics of Beech Leaf Disease: The Ultimate Beech Read

Authors Jim Chatfield  Joe Boggs

Published on October 2, 2018



Our knowledge of Beech Leaf Disease (BLD), an emergent problem on American beech (Fagus grandifolia) in northeast Ohio and nearby areas is still in the early stages. For example, we do not know what causes BLD.  The most promising development in learning causation is that we now have scientists with some grant funding on the case. Carrie Ewing in Enrico Bonello’s lab at Ohio State University is doing her PhD work on BLD.


We also have excellent monitoring and mapping of the disease, including Lake Metro Parks and BLD discoverer John Pojacnik and Cleveland Metro Parks, as well as the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry and Holden Arboretum.  But we do not know what causes BLD, if it is a pathogen whether it has a vector, the long-term threat to forest and landscape beeches, and on and on.


We do have some diagnostic aids: what BLD looks like as well as other problems that are often misdiagnosed as BLD. So here is the first in a series of BYGL BLD Diagnostic comparisons. We have discussed BLD in a number of previous BYGL-alerts (, but here is a one on one comparison of look-alikes and diagnostic beech mis-reads.


BLD vs. A Leaf Curling Aphid.


I find this to be the most common BLD mis-read. I wish I could tell you the species of the aphid in this example: I cannot, but it is common in most beech woodlands on a few or many trees. At least I think it is the same aphid; it may very well be that there are a number of aphids that cause this leaf curling on beech. As you can see from the picture, the symptom on beech is the curling of leaf margins, with the sign of the aphid typically being cast skins of the aphids within the curled leaf. Presence of these aphids is not correlated with BLD.


As you can also see, there is a leaf discoloration symptom associated with the leaf curling. This is the key to it being mistaken for Beech Leaf Disease. The yellowing near the infestation is mis-interpreted as the “banding” symptom on BLD. With BLD though, there is clear banding of deep green and lighter greens, not this yellow banding noted from the leaf curling aphid.


This leaf curling aphid causes truly minimal damage to the plant. BLD, on the other hand is a serious problem, causing considerable progressive thinning of the canopy and in some cases tree death. So, check it out when you see beeches in the woods BTW, our landscape European (F. sylvatica) and Asian beeches (F. orientalis and others) have been diagnosed with BLD in nurseries.


Next time, let us remind ourselves of two other aphids that occur on beech: boogie-woogie aphids on American beech and woolly beech aphids on European beech. Also, neither of which is BLD.


BYGL Weekly News for September 24, 2018

The following articles were compiled during the last 7 days by members of the Extension, Nursery, Landscape, Turf (ENLT) team to benefit those who are managing a commercial nursery, garden center, or landscape business or someone who just wants to keep their yard looking good all summer.  Access the BYGL website for additional information on other seasonal topics at:

For more pictures and information, click on the article titles.  To contact the authors, click on their names.

Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative – Annual Milkweed Pod Collection 

Authors Amy Stone

Published on September 19, 2018

The Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative (OPHI) is encouraging all Ohioans who have grown common milkweed this season to harvest seed pods and take them to a participating Soil and Water Conservation Office. The Annual Milkweed Pollination Collection is in its third year in Ohio. In 2015, 7 counties piloted the milkweed seed pod collection. The project has grown and it is estimated that over 22 million seeds have been collected by volunteers across the buckeye state over the 3 years.

Milkweed is the only host plant for the monarch butterfly for egg laying and the caterpillars rely on it for food. It also serves as a food source for monarchs butterflies, as well as many other pollinator species.

To make the collection as successful, the OPHI has come up with the following tips:

  • Make sure that before you collect seed, you become familiar with the common milkweed to avoid harvesting pods from similar plants such as hemp dogbane and swamp milkweed. The collection is for only the common milkweed.
  • It is best to collect the pods when they are dry, grey, or brown. IT IS IMPORTANT TO CHECK THIS! (Since pod collection starts September 1 and runs through October 31… please use September as the time to locate milkweed plants and to keep an eye on the pods while they ripen and then pick them once they look like the picture in the link.)
  • If the center seam pops with gentle pressure, they can be harvested.
  • Store the pods in paper bags; plastic bags collect unwanted moisture.
  • Put the date and county collected on the bag when you turn them in.
  • Keep the pods in a cool, dry area until you can deliver them to the nearest collection site.
  • You can find the nearest collection site at


These are the districts that are participating with the OPHI Pod collection this year as indicated in the salmon color above:

Adams, Ashland, Athens, Auglaize, Belmont, Brown, Butler, Carroll, Clark, Clermont, Clinton, Columbiana, Cuyahoga, Darke, Delaware, Fairfield, Fayette, Franklin, Fulton, Greene, Hamilton, Hancock, Harrison, Henry, Hocking, Holmes, Huron, Jefferson, Knox, Lake, Logan, Lorain, Lucas, Madison, Mahoning, Medina, Meigs, Mercer, Miami, Monroe, Montgomery, Muskingum, Noble, Ottawa, Paulding, Pickaway, Pike, Preble, Putnam, Richland, Ross, Sandusky, Shelby, Stark, Summit, Trumbull, Union, Van Wert, Warren, Washington, Wayne, Williams, Wood, and Wyandot

Collections began the first of September and will continue through October 30. If you have questions regarding milkweed collection, please contact Marci Lininger at or Lori Stevenson at or reach out to your local Soil and Water Conservation District. Not familiar with the office in the county that you live? Check out their webpage to be able to search and find the location in your county:

For more information on best practices for collecting milkweed please refer to this video!  Happy seed collecting!

More Information

Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative

OSU Bee Lab

Monarch Joint Venture




Rare and Unusual Caterpillar on Poplar

Authors Joe Boggs

Published on September 18, 2018



I had never seen or heard of the poplar tentmaker (Closter inclusa) until we ran into this unusual caterpillar on its namesake host during the Greater Cincinnati Diagnostic Walk-About last Monday at the Boone County Arboretum.  In fact, it took me a while to identify this seldom-seen defoliator.


I felt better about my lengthy ID challenge after reading what David Wagner wrote about the moth behind the caterpillar in his book, “Caterpillars of Eastern North America.”  He noted, “It is rare – should you find its caterpillar or secure livestock, take notes and images.”


Such is often the case with seldom seen native moths.  They fly below the radar until they or their caterpillars appear out of the blue to test our resolve for making an insect identification.


Wagner and other sources indicate the caterpillars feed on various members of the Populus genus as well as willows (Salix spp.).  We found the caterpillars feeding on a hybrid poplar (P. deltoidies x P. heterophylla ‘Rainbow River’).


The caterpillars are “tentmakers” in the truest sense of the word.  When I hear “tent-making caterpillars,” I think of silk nests like those produced by eastern tent caterpillars (Malacosoma americanum).  However, the poplar tentmaker actually constructs tents by using silk to stick together two or more leaves.  Then they line their dangling domiciles with a cozy layer of silk.


The caterpillars spend the day hanging out inside their protective silk-lined tents no doubt dodging predators and perhaps exchanging grand plans for after they pupate.  They venture forth at night to feed on leaves consuming everything except the main veins.  If not for the odd dangling “tents,” their leaf damage could easily be mistaken for damage caused by a general defoliator such as yellownecked caterpillars (Datana ministra).


The look-a-like leaf symptoms also extended to sawfly larvae we found on the same poplars populated by the tentmaker.  Thus far, I’ve not been successful in identifying the sawfly.  The larvae looked identical to the species, Nematus calais.  However, this species is reported to only feed on willow.  Regardless, had the sawfly larvae not been present, it would have been easy to assume all of the leaf damage was being caused by the tentmaker.


The poplar tentmaker has 3 – 4 generations in the southern U.S. and we saw evidence there are at least 2 generations in our part of the country.  The moth may be rare, but that does not mean its caterpillars will not occasionally cause noticeable defoliation.  However, reports indicate the most significant damage occurs late in the growing season after trees have already generated and stored enough carbohydrate to support the production of new leaves next season.  Consequently, the poplar tentmaker probably has a limited impact on the overall health of its host trees.




The Impatient Gardener

Authors Jim Chatfield  Jason Veil

Published on September 18, 2018



The genus Impatiens is quite familiar to most gardeners. From beds and borders of bedding impatiens, use receding and then rebounding some in recent years with the scourge of downy mildew disease, to the ever-more colorful types of New Guinea impatiens and their genetic resistance to downy mildew: these flowers are garden staples. There are also our native impatiens, the orange-flowered Impatiens capensis  and the yellow-flowered I. pallida, known as jewelweed or touch-me-not.


Jewelweeds have tell-tale gem-shaped fruits, water that beads on the leaves, leaves temporarily wilting like other impatiens during the heat of the sun, and fruits that explode upon touch to expel seeds outward from the mothership. Twice in the woods and roadside of Secrest Arboretum I have also seen a salmon-flowered variant of our native jewelweed, a product presumably of a random mutation.


So, imagine my wonder when while on Mackinaw Island in Michigan for a gardening conference recently I noticed a tall plant with narrow leaves and delightful pink and white flowers in flower beds looking up toward the Grande Hotel.  At first, I thought it was a type of snapdragon or other plant in the Scrophulariaceae with its unusual mouth-agape blossoms. Then the jewel-like fruits on the plants came into focus. A pink jewelweed?


Secrest curator Jason Veil had not seen this flower before either, but his cell-phone was handy. It was Impatiens glandulifera, the Himalayan jewelweed or Himalayan balsam (impatiens being in the Balsaminaceae family). We were all excited about learning of this new (to us) garden plant – a pink touch-me-not.  I must write about it, I thought. Alas, within the day, our horticulturist interest waned as we read on that this Himalayan native annual plant is now present across much of Europe and North America after introduction as an ornamental, with one source even labeling it as one of the most invasive species in the world.


I don’t know about that, but clearly it is invasive. Who knew? Not us. Our perspective changed from something we did not know of to admiration to not planning to further the spread in a matter of hours. Then a few weeks later, in the Denver Botanic Gardens, we noticed beds of two more Impatiens species, the yellow-and-white-flowered I. bicolor and the lavender-and-white-flowered Impatiens balfourii, both from India. Our impatiens knowledge continues apace.





Blue-Winged Wasps Cruising Lawns

Authors Joe Boggs

Published on September 17, 2018



Blue-winged wasps (Scolia dubia) are continuing to make low-level flights over lawns in southwest Ohio.  As their common name implies, the wasps have dark blue wings.  Their legs and thorax are also dark blue.  However, their most distinguishing features are two light-yellow spots on top of their orange-tipped abdomens.


The wasps usually fly a few inches above the turfgrass, often in loops or in a figure-8 pattern.  They may also be spotted landing on flowers to sip nectar, most often on common goldenrod (Solidago canadensis).


There are two beneficial aspects to this wasp.  It is a plant-pollinator as well as a parasitoid of white grubs with a particular affinity for green June beetle (Continus nitida) and Japanese beetle (Popillia japonica) grubs.


Once a grub is located during their low-level flights, the wasp digs into the soil until it finds the grub, or it will simply enter a green June beetle grub’s soil burrow.  Digging through the soil is not without consequences as evidenced by tattered wings.


The wasp first stings and paralyzes the grub, then it lays an egg on the grub’s body.  When the egg hatches, the wasp larva feeds leech-like on its hapless grub victim until the grub is no more.  Their negative impact on white grub populations can be significant.


Providing a good late-season nectar source, such as goldenrod, can help draw in this parasitoid wasp to draw down white grubs.  It’s a good example of how butterfly gardens (a.k.a. pollinator gardens) can serve as an important component in an overall pest management strategy.




A Non-Native, Native Lizard

Authors Joe Boggs

Published on September 17, 2018



If you’re ever visiting Cincinnati during the dog days of summer, keep your eyes peeled for a fascinating non-native lizard scurrying over rock walls, darting across sidewalks, and lurking in landscaping.  I’ve posted BYGL reports about these lizards in the past because the story of how they got to Cincinnati is so intriguing and their ascent to equal treatment amongst native reptiles is almost unprecedented for reptiles in Ohio.


The lizard’s common name is influenced by where you stand, literally.  If you’re an American herpetologist, you would call them European wall lizards (Podarcis muralis).  If you live in Europe, they are common wall lizards.  If you’re a native Cincinnatian, you would likely call them “Lazarus lizards.”


The lizards are capable of shedding part of their tail to survive a predator’s attack; a defense mechanism known as autotomy.  The detached tail will continue to whip back and forth to further distract (bewilder?) a predator.  A slight swelling of the tail often indicates where the old tail broke off and a new tale grew.


However, the local common name “Lazarus” has nothing to do with dropping a tail to rise again.  It’s associated with the Lazarus family best known in Ohio for their connections with department stores.


In 1951, 10-year-old George Rau Jr., step-son of Fred Lazarus III, came across some common wall lizards scurrying across rocky slopes while on a family vacation to Lake Garda in northern Italy.  George smuggled a few (6 to 10 depending on the reference source) through customs to release them at his family’s home on Torrence Court located in the eastern Cincinnati suburb of Hyde Park.


Some of the European expats thrived to eventually become so numerous that Torrence Court is still sometimes referred to as “Lizard Hill.”  Local residents called them “Lazarus lizards” in misplaced recognition of the lizard’s perceived patrons.  Of course, they should have been named “George’s Lizards” in honor of their true sponsor.


The lizard story may ring like local lore; however, George Rau wrote a letter in 1989 to herpetologists at the Cincinnati Museum of Natural History detailing his role as the lizard leader.  He also repeated his story in several interviews with the news media.


Research conducted by Cassandra Homan for her 2013 University of Cincinnati M.S. Thesis (see “More Information” below) added credibility to Rau’s claim.  She compared genetic samples collected from the Cincinnati lizards to samples taken from the reported source population in Europe and confirmed a substantial loss of genetic diversity indicating a genetic bottleneck.  Her computer simulations suggested the bottleneck was likely associated with only three individuals surviving their release to become the founders of the Cincinnati populations.


The European wall lizards mostly feed on insects which means they no doubt compete with one or more of our four lizard and skink species (order Squamata, suborder Lacertilia) native to Ohio.  The non-native lizards are now found in pockets throughout much of Cincinnati and parts of the adjoining states of Kentucky and Indiana.  Although their spread has been patchy owing to their requirement of rocky terrain or stone walls on south-facing slopes in order to survive winters, localized population densities may be as high as 1,500 per acre.


Indeed, the species has been so successful in colonizing southwest Ohio, it has achieved a rare status for a non-native.  The “European wall lizard (Podarcis muralis)” is listed among the names of native reptiles in Chapter 1531: Division of Wildlife; 1531.01 Division of wildlife definitions.  It is considered a “naturalized species” that is protected by law.


More Information

Bottlenecks and Microhabitat Preference in Invasive Wall Lizard, Podarcis mural…




Tune In – What You Need To Know About Spotted Lanternfly (SLF)

Authors Amy Stone

Published on September 17, 2018



Last week, Emerald Ash Borer University (EABU) hosted a webinar on the Spotted Laternfly (Lycorma delicatula). The session has been recorded and is available online for viewing. The presentation is free, as well as other past EABU educational sessions.


The SLF session provided information for someone who is not familiar with SLF, and individuals with some background but would like an update on the latest developments. Just like other invasive species, we need to be alert to our own surroundings and if we see something that we suspect could be SLF or another invasive species, report it using the Great Lakes Early Detection App, contact the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA), or your contact in the local OSU Extension Office. The SLF has not been detected in Ohio, but we must remain on alert. This webinar is a great way to quickly get up to speed and know what to look for throughout the entire year.


The presenters for the SLF webinar were Heather Leach, Spotted Lanternfly Extension Coordinator and Dr. Julie Urban, Senior Research Associate, both of Penn State University.  They were able to share their knowledge and first hand experience on a pest we do not want in Ohio.


The webinar included the following information:


  • Life Cycle
  • Biology
  • Host Preference

o    Tree of Heaven

o    Black Walnut

o    Grapes

o    Apples

o    and more than 70 more plants

  • Damage

o    Plant Death and Decline

o    Yield Losses

o    Sooty Mold Accumulations

  • Current Research Update


The recorded webinar can be found online at


I found the session to be very useful and filled with practical information. The speakers included the photo below in their presentation. While I was taken back by the number of SLF adults in this photo, I reminded myself to be alert to not only these huge number that anyone would likely notice, but fine tune my diagnostic skills to look for the single specimen, the egg mass at quick glance could look like mud, or the unusually high activity of yellow jackets attracted to the honeydew produced by the SLF this time of the year.


You can help fight invasive species by learning more and engaging others about these pests.


If you are interested in the topic of invasives and want to learn more, check out future EABU sessions. of the fall schedule include:

  • Gypsy Moth: Past, Present and Future, Thursday, September 27, 11:00 am EST
  • Lingering Ash: EAB Resistant Ash Trees, Thursday, October 4, 11:00 am EST
  • Managing Ash Tree Post Emerald Ash Borer, Thursday, October 11, 11:00 am EST
  • The Asian Longhorned Beetle, Thursday, October 16, 11:00 am EST


Recorded sessions can be accessed through the emerald ash borer website:


More Information

Penn State University Extension

Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture…




Redbud Leaffolder Damage

Authors Joe Boggs

Published on September 17, 2018



Participants at last week’s Greater Cincinnati Diagnostic Walk-About were thrilled to view the unusual leaf symptoms caused by the Redbud Leaffolder (Fascista cercerisella; order Lepidoptera; family Gelechiidae) on its namesake host.  Or, maybe it was just me who was thrilled.


While populations are not as high as in 2016, it is not uncommon to find redbuds with leaves turning brown after being folded over or “glued” together.  I’m not aware of any host preference studies for this native moth; however, the damage has always seemed more evident on weeping redbuds.  Of course, this could simply be due to the damage being more obvious because of the vertical orientation of the leaves.


Three overlapping generations of this velvety black moth occur per season in Ohio with 2nd and 3rd generation nests usually containing caterpillars in various stages of development.  Populations tend to build with each generation meaning that the most significant damage occurs late in the season.  The moth spends the winter as pupae in debris and fallen leaves beneath infested trees.


The leaffolder caterpillars produce nests described by their common name by using silk stitching to fold over leaf edges.  However, the nonconformist caterpillars also make nests like those produced by a “leaftier” by stitching together neighboring leaves.  In fact, in my opinion, the high frequency of tied-together leaves challenges the correctness of the caterpillar’s common name.


The caterpillars reside in heavy silk tubes within both types of nests.  They partially emerge out of their tubes to feed as skeletonizers, consuming the upper and lower leaf surfaces.  The affected areas turn orangish-brown which sharply contrasts with the normal dark green color of the foliage.


Early instar caterpillars are cream-colored and have no discernible markings.  As the caterpillars mature, markings begin to develop with alternating segments darkening to produce a striking appearance of black and light-green bands running the length of the body.  They resemble tiny banded sea kraits (snakes).  When disturbed, the caterpillars wiggle back and forth violently further enhancing their tiny snake impersonation.  They have great entertainment value!


Insecticidal applications are not generally required for managing this moth in Ohio landscapes.  Besides, the caterpillars live in protected locations which makes the successful use of insecticides problematic.


Most of the leaf damage is produced by the current 3rd generation caterpillars.  Trees have already generated and stored enough carbohydrate to support the production of new leaves next season.  Consequently, the leaffolder has a limited impact on the overall health of the tree even during localized population outbreaks.


Where practical, populations can be reduced by pinching nests to kill caterpillars.  Raking and destroying fallen leaves will also reduce localized numbers by eliminating overwintering moth pupae.


BYGL Weekly News for September 3, 2018

BYGL Weekly News for September 3, 2018

The following articles were compiled during the last 7 days by members of the Extension, Nursery, Landscape, Turf (ENLT) team to benefit those who are managing a commercial nursery, garden center, or landscape business or someone who just wants to keep their yard looking good all summer.  Access the BYGL website for additional information on other seasonal topics at:

For more pictures and information, click on the article titles.  To contact the authors, click on their names.

Thousand Cankers Disease (TCD) Update – Don’t Rush to Cut Walnut Trees!

Authors Joe Boggs

Published on August 31, 2018


The long-term outlook for eastern black walnuts (Juglans nigra) seemed dire when the Thousand Cankers Disease (TCD) complex was confirmed in Butler County, OH, in 2013.  Thankfully, TCD has not followed the devastating trajectory we originally feared.  It is not rolling through our native black walnuts à la emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis) rolling through our native ash.  The two situations are like apples-to-oranges.


However, there have been some recent reports of Ohio landowners being approached by misinformed timber buyers and loggers citing TCD as a reason to cut and sell walnut trees.  There is no support for the pre-salvage harvesting of walnut trees.


Rather than following unsolicited advice, landowners should talk with a professional forester of their choosing before planning any timber harvest including the possible harvest of high-value black walnut trees.  The “Ohio Call Before You Cut” is a great resource ((877) 424-8288).  See “More Information” below for the website.




The TCD complex involves a phytopathogenic fungus, Geosmithia morbida (Gm), carried from tree-to-tree by the Walnut Twig Beetle (WTB), Pityophthorus juglandis, which is a type of bark beetle.  Both are found naturally in walnuts native to the southwest U.S. such as Southern California black walnut (J. californica) and Arizona walnut (J. major).  However, since the trees, beetles, and fungus co-evolved, TCD does not kill these trees.


Such is not the case with eastern black walnut since it did not co-evolve with the TCD complex.  It is generally accepted that unprocessed wood from eastern black walnuts planted in the southwestern U.S. served as vehicles for the TCD complex to hitchhike to other locations in the U.S.  Although the exact route is unknown, it eventually arrived in Ohio.


As is common with bark beetles, WTB attacks its host’s stems in multiple locations with the females boring through the bark and tunneling through the phloem.  The Gm fungus carried by the beetles infects the surrounding phloem tissue producing small circular to oblong shaped dark brown cankers in the phloem tissue.  TCD is so-named because of the collective impact of multiple cankers:  “death by a thousand cuts” becomes death by a thousand cankers.


Despite its common name, WTB actually targets branches that are greater than 1/2″ in diameter.  They will also tunnel into the main stems.  The adult and larval tunneling and feeding activity produce symptoms typical of bark beetles with frass-filled galleries meandering through the phloem.


Traps baited with an aggregation pheromone that attracts both male and female WTBs have been available for a number of years.  They have been successfully used to detect new WTB infestations in the U.S. as well as evaluating the population densities and the spread of known infestations.


WTB was first detected by traps in Ohio late in 2012.  Thanks to a report from an alert landowner, infested and infected trees were found in August 2013.  Trap counts were impressively large within the TCD site.  For example, the beetle catch shown in the image below was over 1,000 beetles caught in one week.  This caused us all to believe TCD was a clear and present danger to our native black walnut trees.


However, in 2014, beetle trap catches dropped off dramatically and have remained low ever since.  Only 1 beetle was caught last year in multiple traps deployed to evaluate beetle populations in Ohio.  A similar dramatic drop in trap catches was observed that same year in eastern Tennessee where a much larger WTB infestation had been found some years before.  In fact, many heavily infested trees in Tennessee that were expected to die have recovered.


The reason for the sharp decline in beetles as well as the intensity of infections is not entirely known.  However, research conducted by University of Minnesota graduate student Andrea Hefty for her Ph.D. thesis revealed that WTB has low-temperature survival thresholds for both the adults and larvae.  Some have speculated that the southward shift in the North Polar Vortex during the 2013-14 winter season may have produced temperatures that crossed those thresholds.


Of course, black walnuts trees aren’t out of the woods yet.  Even though beetle trap catches are low, they aren’t zero.  There is always a chance beetle populations could rebound which is why Butler County, OH, remains quarantined.  Movement of walnut trees as well as wood products such as logs cannot be moved outside of the county within Ohio, or outside of the state, without conforming to quarantine restrictions.  For details, contact the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA).


Observe and Report


The possibility that TCD could rise again is why we must remain vigilant not just in Butler County, but elsewhere in Ohio.  Symptoms of TCD include yellowing foliage (chlorosis) that progresses rapidly to brown wilted foliage, and finally branch dieback.  Infected trees develop thinning canopies and top dieback with epicormic growth sometimes sprouting from lower portions of main stems.


Unfortunately, walnut anthracnose produced by the fungus, Ophiognomonia leptostyla, may be mistaken for symptoms of TCD and vice versa.  This is particularly important to keep in mind since the annual dropping of walnut leaflets and leaves due to anthracnose is well underway in southwest Ohio.  The fungus is specific to black walnut.  Unlike some of the other anthracnose diseases, walnut anthracnose is characterized by small dark brown spots rather than the larger irregularly shaped necrotic lesions seen with ash or oak anthracnose.  The spots are responsible for the alternate common name for the disease of walnut black spot.


However, don’t rely entirely on the images I’ve provided in this report to eliminate TCD from a diagnosis.  If you suspect TCD is affecting a walnut tree, you should contact our ODA.  It’s always better to report a suspected occurrence of TCD even if it turns out not to be rather than to ignore an actual TCD site out of fear of being wrong.  Remember that TCD in Ohio was originally discovered thanks to an alert landowner contacting our ODA!


More Information

Call Before You Cut




No Asian Hornets in the U.S.

Authors Joe Boggs

Published on August 28, 2018



When you read or hear about “Asian hornets,” you need to keep two things in mind.  First, the “Asian” moniker has been commonly applied to at least three hornet species native to various Asian regions.  These include the Yellow-Legged Hornet, which is sometimes called the Yellow-Legged Asian Hornet (Vespa velutina); the Asian Giant Hornet (V. mandarinia) which is the world’s largest hornet; and the Japanese Hornet which is a subspecies (V. mandarinia japonica).


The second thing to remember is that none of these hornets have been found living in the U.S. in spite of what you may find posted online.  However, this does not mean we shouldn’t be vigilant.  The yellow-legged hornet was discovered in France in 2004 and has spread into a number of other European countries.  It was found in Great Britain’s Channel Islands in 2016.


It’s a significant accidental introduction because this species, as well as the two other Asian species, behave as predators; they kill other insects and can wreak havoc on honey bee hives.  If you suspect that you’ve run across one of the Asian species, contact your state’s agricultural regulatory agency for instructions.  Official positive identification requires preserved specimens.  Frozen specimens are ideal if you can safely collect and freeze the suspects.


Cases of Mistaken Identity


Photographs cannot provide official positive identifications of a non-native Asian hornet; however, they can still be very useful.  I always recommend snapping some pictures and sending them to the appropriate entomology experts in your state.  I’d be happy to take a look at them if you’re in Ohio.


The two insects most commonly mistaken for Asian hornets are European hornets (V. crabro) and our native cicada killer wasps (Sphecius speciosus).  Cicada killers are the largest native wasp found in Ohio.  Their activity usually starts winding down at this point in the season; however, both the wasps and their robust namesake food item, dog-day cicadas (Tibicen spp.; family Cicadidae), remain in full-swing in southwest Ohio.


European hornets were first found in the U.S. in New York State around 1840.  Since that time, the hornets have spread to most states east of the Mississippi and a few states to the west.  European hornets are impressively large, measuring 1 – 1 1/4″ in length.  Their black and yellow markings on their abdomen make them look like yellowjackets on steroids; however, their head and thorax have distinct chestnut-colored markings.  Yellowjackets have black and yellow markings on the head and thorax.


Technically, this non-native is the only “true hornet” found in Ohio.  Taxonomically, our native bald-faced hornets (Dolichovespula maculata) are not hornets; they are grouped with yellowjackets which is why they are in the same genus as native Aerial Yellowjackets (D. arenaria).


Unlike our native yellowjackets and wasps, European hornets can cause noticeable girdling damage to twigs and branches of trees and shrubs by stripping bark to the white wood.  It is speculated that the hornets are extracting sugar from the phloem tissue.  Although the damage may be noticeable, it’s seldom significant enough to cause concern.


European hornets construct paper nests that may look similar to the bald-faced hornet nests.  However, they are most often found in hollow trees and sometimes in the walls of homes.


Normally, European hornets overwinter just like our native bald-faced hornets, paper wasps, and yellowjackets with only the queens that are produced this season surviving the winter.  The new queens leave the nests to seek protected overwintering sites; old nests are not re-used.  However, occasionally the entire European hornet nest will survive the winter if they are sufficiently protected.  Indeed, although it is rare, nests in Ohio have been observed surviving through three winters.


European hornets are reputed to be highly aggressive and their large size does make them look pretty scary.  However, during past encounters with this hornet, I was able to take close-up images and move branches with hornets on them without being stung or even charged.  Still, landscapers should be cautious around these large stinging insects.  Like wasps and yellowjackets, they are capable of stinging repeatedly.


The hornets may also fly at night and are attracted to porch lights or lights shining through windows.  They have been known to repeatedly charge windows at night inducing panic in homeowners.


Beware of the Web


Unfortunately, there are numerous spurious web reports of giant Asian hornets swarming through multiple U.S. states.  I do not believe these are intentional “fake news” reports; I believe most are cases of misidentifications or misunderstandings.


For example, you can find several online reports of the Asian stingers being found in Jersey.  That’s not New Jersey but one of the Channel Islands, officially the Bailiwick of Jersey in the English Channel.  It’s easy to miss such nuances while scanning web headlines.




Invasive Plant Species Alert – Japanese Stiltgrass

Authors Cindy Meyer

Published on August 28, 2018



Japanese stiltgrass was not on my radar until a recent visit to a local park. It had piqued my interest because of the lushness of the plants beneath a full canopy of trees. My first thought was, what is this grass that could be a recommendation for shady sights? My excitement quickly waned because our hosts explained that the annual grass unfortunately, is considered an invasive species. In fact, this non-native species from Asia, which was first found in Tennessee in 1919, can produce up to a 1000 seeds per plant and crowds out native plants. The seeds from this plant are dispersed by a number of mechanisms including foot traffic, water movement, equipment, and wildlife.


Japanese stiltgrass (Microstegium vimineum) can be found in disturbed areas such as; edges of fields, forests, ditches, recreational trails, etc. It grows in low-light environments with sufficient soil nutrients and moisture but it can also adapt to low-nutrient and low-moisture areas with adequate light.

Japanese stiltgrass leaves are flat, pale green, asymmetrically lance-shaped, and about 1–3 inches in length. Leaves are sparsely hairy on both sides and along the margins. A shiny, off-center, mid-rib is conspicuous on the upper surface, which is sometimes described as a silver stripe, and is a distinctive identification feature. Leaves are arranged alternately along the branched stem and project outward. Spikelike flowers up to 3 inches long develop in late summer or early fall in the axils of the leaves at the tip of the stem.  A shallow and fibrous root system is a distinguishing characteristic that sets it apart from the native white grass (Leersia virginica), which has a stout rhizome.



Managing for Japanese stiltgrass is not unlike managing for other invasive plant species. It requires diligent, hard work! Inspection of equipment such as mowers, road maintenance equipment, and timber harvesting is important. Cleaning and sanitizing equipment with known stiltgrass infestations helps to prevent spreading of this grass. Hand-pulling is effective late in the season before plants flower. Pulled plants should be bagged. Mowing and/or weed eating is also effective if done before the plants mature and go to seed. Chemical control with non-selective herbicides, non-selective pre-emergent herbicides and selective grass-specific herbicides can be effective but may require more than one application over the course of a few years. When using any chemical always read and follow label instructions.



More Information

Ohio State University Extension – Ohioline Factsheet

Rutgers – Japanese Stiltgrass Control in the Home Lawn and Landscape

University of Maryland Extension – Home & Garden Information Center





Broom of the Week; ‘Cody’s Feathers’ Baldcypress

Authors Jim Chatfield Jason Veil

Published on August 27, 2018



A baldcypress broom: no not a description of my hairstyle. Secrest Arboretum Curator Jason Veil and moi were at the Harper’s Collection of Dwarf Conifers at Hidden Lake Gardens of Michigan State University this past weekend. We of course looked at the Taxodium distichum ‘Secrest’ cultivar, but Jason also called me over to a lovely ‘Cody’s Feathers’ specimen, and pointed out what I certainly did not know – that it was originally spotted outside the Wayne County Hospital in Wooster.


Who ya gonna call? Well, how about he who found it there, lo a decade and a half ago: Bill Bargar of Wadsworth, a longtime member and website and newsletter writer for the American Conifer Society. We called Bill for background and a few wonderful pictures.


“Witch’s brooms” are strange, condensed, short-internode proliferation of shoots within the more typical growth of the plant, in this case a baldypress.  Many factors can cause broom-like growth but if caused by stable factors (such as a stable genetic mutation), then horticulturists see if they can usher a new version of the plant into the plant-lover world.

Bill who collected this broom, propagated it, and had it registered as a unique variant, the cultivar ‘Cody’s Feathers’, the cultivar name arising from his son’s description of the appearance of the feathery growth. Bill then grafted the cuttings to a compatible baldcypress rootstock.


This cultivar differs from other baldcypress brooms in its habit: as Jason describes it ‘Cody’s Feathers’ has a dense, shrub-like rounded habit that is unique. You can see this in Jason’s pictures from Hidden Lake. Bill’s images include a mature specimen at J.C. Raulston Arbortum at North Carolina State University, and the deep bronze-red color of foliage, highlighted in contrast to the blue-green cones.


BYGL Weekly News for August 20, 2018

The following articles were compiled during the last 7 days by members of the Extension, Nursery, Landscape, Turf (ENLT) team to benefit those who are managing a commercial nursery, garden center, or landscape business or someone who just wants to keep their yard looking good all summer.  Access the BYGL website for additional information on other seasonal topics at:
For more pictures and information, click on the article titles.  To contact the authors, click on their names.
Authors Joe Boggs
Published on August 17, 2018
I’m seeing damage on ripening tomatoes in southwest Ohio caused by Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) (Halyomorpha halys) nymphs.  I first saw damage from both the adults and nymphs on my own tomatoes in 2015.  At that time, we didn’t know which direction BMSB populations would take in the southwest part of the state.  Would they become apocalyptic like in the Mid-Atlantic States or would they settle into becoming a “background” problem?
Thankfully, BMSB has followed a more moderate population trajectory in southwest Ohio compared to elsewhere with high populations confined to localized “hot spots” rather than being widespread.  However, that doesn’t mean BMSB can’t present a challenge to both backyard gardeners as well as commercial growers. Even low populations can produce noticeable damage making tomatoes unsalable or not usable as table fare by home gardeners.
Both nymphs and adults use their piercing-sucking mouthparts to puncture the epidermis and extract plant juices.  On green tomatoes, the damage may appear as whitish spots with indistinct borders.  Although the spots may only measure 1/16 – 1/2″ in diameter, they can merge to affect large areas of the fruit.
On ripe tomatoes, the damage appears as hazy golden yellow spots.  Stink bug damage may be superficial with little impact on the tomato flesh.  While damaged tomatoes are still edible, their unsightly appearance reduces their marketability.    However, heavy feeding may produce areas with whitish, spongy tissue, and feeding sites can initiate infections that enhance the “eww yuck” factor. 
BMSB management on tomatoes is a challenge owing to the often sudden appearance of damage to ripening tomatoes.  Heavy damage can occur before gardeners realize they have a significant bug problem.
There’s also a challenge with a limited number of insecticides labeled for use on ripening tomatoes.  You must always read and follow label directions paying particular attention to the time between the application and the harvest of vegetables called the “harvest interval.”  Unfortunately, this may preclude the use of many common insecticides if tomatoes and other targeted vegetable plants have ripened fruit that you’re planning to harvest.
Do not use traps thinking they will protect the tomatoes.  Research conducted by the University of Maryland showed they do the opposite:  they actually invite more bugs to the tomato party.  Likewise, if you’re growing patio tomatoes, keep the outside lights turned off at night.  They serve as “eat here” signs.
Finally, if you only have a few plants, the bugs can be managed by close inspections and digital control for the nymphs (use gloves!), or by using the “knock off and stomp” method for the adults.  I love the smell of stink bug in the morning!  Of course, you may want to leave your shoes outside.
Authors Joe Boggs
Published on August 17, 2018
This is the time of the year in Ohio when female spiders of many web spinning species reach maturity.  They become most evident when their gossamer creations are illuminated by early morning sunlight reflecting off a heavy dew.
I was lucky to experience this magical but fleeting light effect during an early morning hike around my neighborhood a few days ago.  I was amazed by the sheer number of spider living near at hand.
There are over 600 species of spiders found in Ohio and most feed almost exclusively on insects.  The spiders that are currently dominating (draping over?) landscapes are the Sheetweb Weavers (family Linyphiidae); the Funnel Weavers (family Agelenidae); and the Orb Weavers (family Araneidae).
Orb Weavers
As their common name describes, orb weavers produce flat, circular (orb) webs.  The webs are intricate structures involving both sticky and non-sticky silk.
Non-sticky silk is used for “radial threads” which radiate from a central point like spokes on a bicycle wheel.  The non-sticky silk is also used for “frame threads” which encircle the web like a bicycle wheel to hold the radial threads in place and to attach the web to supports such as plant stems.  “Spiral threads” are composed of sticky silk arranged in a spiral pattern emanating from the center of the web; it’s the sticky silk that captures the spider’s prey.
A “stabilimentum” is a vertical pattern off dense silk centered in the web that is produced by many orb weavers.  The stabilimentum produced by the large, showy Black and Yellow Garden Spider (Argiope aurantia) usually has a zigzag pattern giving rise to the alternate common name of “Zigzag Spider.”  The dense webbing reflects ultraviolet light which attracts insects to their doom.
The closely related and similarly sized Banded Garden Spider (A. trifasciata) produces exactly the same type of orb web.  This spider is also native to Ohio; however, it’s not as common as its black and yellow cousin.
Look closely between the branch tips of shrubs and you may spot the diminutive Trashline Spider (Cyclosa spp.).  The silk in their stabilimentum enshrouds the drained bodies of previous victims; the morbid structure is responsible for the “trashline” common name.
The spiders rest in the middle of their trashline.  Their small size and mottled coloration makes them very difficult to see among their similarly sized and colored bundles of trash.  Indeed, research has shown that the trash bundles serve to confuse predators, such as birds and wasps, intent on making a meal of the spider, and the greater the number of bundles, the greater the confusion. 
Funnel Weavers
Funnel weavers produce large, flat, sheet-like webs spun across grass, under rocks or boards, or over the branches of shrubs such as yews and junipers.  The webs slope gently towards a narrow funnel or tube where the spider resides, awaiting its next victim.
The spiders are medium-sized and resemble small wolf spiders.  Funnel webs may measure more than 1′ across and can become very evident with dew, or when they snare dust during droughty conditions.
Sheetweb Weavers
Sheetweb weavers construct several types of webs depending upon the spider species.  Some species spin flat or slightly curved webs that overlay vegetation and rival the sizes of webs spun by funnel weavers.  However, there is no funnel in the web.  The spiders hide beneath one edge of the web, or in plant foliage along the edge of the web, to await their prey.
One of the more interesting sheetweb weavers is the bowl and doily weaver (Frontinella communis).  This is one of the few spider species with males capable of producing webs; however, females still dominate web weaving.
The spider constructs a complex web structure consisting of distinctly bowl-shaped webbing suspended from plant stems by a crisscrossing array of silk threads; this is the “bowl” in the common name.  The bowl is anchored below by a horizontal array of interwoven silk threads; the “doily.”  Flying insects drop into the web-bowl after bouncing in pin-ball fashion off the interlacing silk threads used to suspend the web.   Of course, when they drop into the web-bowl, they fall into the “arms” (and fangs!) of the awaiting spider!
Preserve; Don’t Kill
Spiders eat insects and research has consistently shown they remove a significant number of pests that we would have to deal with otherwise.  Of course, numerous arachnid engineered insect traps draped over low growing shrubs can look like Halloween decorations.
Continually removing the webs will eventually cause the spiders to take a hint and relocate elsewhere.  If you see the spider on the web, just shoo it off before destroying their web so you don’t accidently commit and arachnicidal act.
Authors Erik Draper
Published on August 15, 2018
Sweet corn with damage in the field
I was asked to help a vegetable grower figure out what was going on with something wreaking havoc and eating his ripening sweet corn.  Typically, when someone mentions sweet corn and problems, the first demon that comes to mind are those little masked, sweet-toothed bandits, known as raccoons!   When I arrived out in the field, I was surprised to see the corn stalks standing tall in nice rows.  The masked marauders climb up the cornstalk to the get to the ripest, uppermost ear of corn; consequently, the corn stalks are most often snapped off or pushed over down to the ground from the plump little pilferers!  It wouldn’t be so bad if they would munch the whole ear of corn, but nooo way!  They’ll take a couple of bites out of the ear, move on to the next sweet smelling corn stalk and the climb for corn continues through the night.  One hungry raccoon can damage numerous cornstalks and destroy 2-4 dozen ears of ripening sweet corn in a single night!
I digress, so as I walked out into the field there wasn’t a single corn stalk tipped over and I thought, “what in the heck is the problem… the corn is all upright!”  I then looked more closely at the actual ears of corn and saw the damage.
It was consistently about 18 inches to 2 feet off the ground and not a single ear had been bent down or torn off or ripped open.  The damage was more prevalent on the outside rows of sweet corn and was always on the side of the ear of corn and through the husks covering the ear.
The damage began as an elliptical area or opening and progressed up the ear until the husks split open to reveal the upper part of the ear.  Everything was neat and tidy and no half-munched kernels were on the ground or scattered around the base of the stalks.
The damaged ear continued to dry out and secondary pathogens then began to invade the open wounds and ruin the entire ear of corn.
Did you figure out the problem?  It baffled me until I found some damage near a huge mud puddle that held some tracks, then it fit together and all made perfect sense.
And now it will all make sense to you when you see the culprit…
I can image that this culprit will be invited to dinner for this year’s Thanksgiving day meal because it is already stuffed full with sweet corn!!  Should be quite tasty!
Authors Joe Boggs
Published on August 15, 2018
My wife loves mandevilla (Mandevilla spp.).  The deep green foliage and showy flowers of these tropical or subtropical vines provide a nice trellised accent on our front porch.  So, when she told me one of our vines was under attack by hordes of sap-sucking aphids, I acted quickly … in the interest of domestic bliss.
As with any pest management effort, it’s important to identify the pest.  I was surprised to discover the aphids adorning the mandevilla stems were Oleander Aphids (Aphis nerii).  These bright yellow aphids are easy to identify with legs that look like they were dipped in black ink and black cornicles (siphuncules) which are the two “stovepipes” on the top of the back end of their abdomens.
Readers who grow common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) for monarchs (Danaus plexippus) and other colorful native insects are no doubt familiar with this non-native aphid.  Indeed, it’s sometimes called the “milkweed aphid” for its preference for various members of the dogbane family (Apocynaceae); most notably plants in the genera Asclepias (milkweeds); Cynanchum (climbing milkweed, C. laeve), Vinca, and Nerium (oleander).
Of course, aficionados of plant taxonomy may be surprised that I was surprised to find oleander aphids on mandevilla.  That’s because I didn’t know these vining plants also belong to the dogbane family; until the aphids taught me.
This is not the first time oleander aphids provided me with a plant ID and taxonomy lesson.  I never knew there was such a thing as climbing milkweed until I stumbled across a vine in an Ohio woodlot festooned with these aphids.  Plant pests can be very helpful with making a plant ID.
Oleander aphids are parthenogenetic meaning there are no males; all are females.  This partially explains why this aphid can rapidly develop high population densities.  They also seem to be resistant to high summer temperatures which is unlike many other aphid species that are most prolific during the cool temperatures of spring and fall.
As their common name implies, oleander aphids evolved with their namesake Mediterranean host and draw chemical protection from their host plants.  The milky, sticky sap of oleander and milkweeds contains serious toxins called cardenolide glycosides.  As with a number of other insects that feed on plants in the dogbane family, oleander aphids incorporate the glycosides into their flesh as protection against predators.  It’s speculated that their bright yellow coloration warns predators against taking a taste.
On the other hand, some insects are unaffected by the aphid’s chemical shield.  Although research has shown the aphid’s honeydew contains cardiac glycosides, the chemicals do not dissuade some ants from “tending” the aphids in exchange for a sweet treat.
There are also several predators that are not dissuaded by the aphid’s toxic flesh including syrphid (hover) fly larvae, lacewings, and even some lady beetle larvae and adults.  Of course, some predators may be cowed by the ants.
A common nemesis of oleander aphids as well as a number of other aphids is the parasitoid wasp, Lysiphlebus testaceipes.  The wasp lays eggs in the immature aphids; one egg per aphid.  Parasitized aphids are called “aphid mummies” for their swollen, dark brown bodies enveloped in a dry, parchment-like exoskeleton
It’s important to preserve the aphid’s enemies.  So, I blasted the mandevilla stems with a solid stream of water to send the aphids on a wild water ride while declaring, “I am Zeus!”  I believe this impressed the Mediterranean aphids but may have surprised the neighbors.  Unfortunately, forcefully dislodging the aphids with water may only provide a temporary reprieve depending on the overall aphid trajectory.
In case water-logged aphids return, I’m holding in reserve other management options that are also “gentle” on aphid predators and parasitoids.  This includes using an insecticidal soap; purchased, not home-mixed.  Remember that soaps and detergents produced as cleaning agents may also contain chemicals that are harmful to plants.  Manufactures have no need to exclude these compounds because they are not producing products labeled for use on plants.  Knocking the leaves off my wife’s mandevilla using a “do it yourself” soap mix would not be beneficial to domestic bliss.
Authors Erik Draper
Published on August 14, 2018
Reblooming Magnolia 'Yellow Bird'
In the world of plants, most often our attention focuses on bloom color, size and timing of when blooms will make an impact in our landscape.  Blooms are nice as a moving focal point during the growing season, but people become a little upset when plants don’t do what they are supposed to and only when they are supposed to do it.  This is the time of year that concerned citizens call into the office wondering whether or not their magnolias or rhododendrons are going to die.  When asked why they think that the plants are going to die, the response is always the same, “because they are blooming again and they already bloomed this year!”
The official term for this startling behavior of plants blooming twice in a year when that is not typical, is “remontant”.  Therefore, remontant is another name for what we term “reblooming” plants.  Reblooming plants will bloom in their expected season and bloom cycle time frame and suddenly an unexpected second set of flowers appears later in the season!  In the landscape world, remontant plants are extremely desirable and this reblooming trait in new hybrid plants is intentionally selected for and sought out.
Remember that plants like magnolias, rhododendrons, forsythia and even crabapples, will set bloom for the next year, during our current growing season.  It is the formation of those blooms for next year, which often contribute to remontant tendencies of certain plants.  The blooms must be formed and ready to go by the time the plants shut down for winter.  With this “ready to bloom” approach, some plants after a strong growth phase or pause or a significant stress, seem to determine “I’m not waiting any longer… IT’S BLOOM TIME” and emerge.
Although we can admire that out-of-season bloom, bear in mind that if that specific, individual flower blooms now, then that specific, individual flower will NOT bloom again during its typical bloom time the flowing year.  A downside of remontant blooms is a slight reduction in overall flower numbers for next year’s floral display, depending on the number of flowers that actually bloomed out of season.  Rarely will remontant plants be totally without any flowers during their typical bloom time.  So get out there and enjoy that “crazy bloom”!