Houseplants are susceptible to attack by various pests and diseases. While rarely lethal, pest and disease outbreaks can compromise the aesthetic quality of indoor vegetation. Even tightly sealed houses and conscientious tending cannot always prevent attacks on our houseplants.
Many gardeners strive to grow beautiful, insect-free plants, but as an insect lover, my favorite plants are the ones that always get pest insects. One favorite in my yard is a yellow daisy that becomes infested annually with beautiful red-colored aphids. For good insect viewing it is hard to beat the aphids. Aphids come in a variety of sizes and colors but most have a soft, pear-shaped body up to one-eighth inch long. Common aphid species come in all shades of green as well as black, pink, yellow and the already-mentioned bright red. The one distinguishing characteristic present on all aphids is not always easy to see, but it is there: each aphid has a pair of tubes on the top side of the back end of the abdomen. The tubes are called cornicles and are used to secrete wax and other substances.
The bagworm caterpillar lives its entire life inside a tough protective case made of silk and camouflaging bits of foliage. Each caterpillar makes its own bag that it carries around as it feeds with the head and legs sticking out the open, top end of the bag. As the caterpillar eats and grows the bag is enlarged until by the end of the summer, what started as tiny pods only one-quarter inch long will have grown to almost two inches in length.
Emerald ash borer, a highly destructive insect that attacks and kills ash trees, has been confirmed in Bellevue and Marquette. Native to Asia, EAB is responsible for the death of tens of millions of ash trees nationwide.
The emerald ash borer can now be linked to 45 counties in Iowa as Fayette and Madison counties are the most recent to be added to that growing list. EAB is a destructive wood-boring beetle that attacks and kills all ash tree species. This exotic pest was first discovered in Iowa in 2010.
Emerald ash borer has been found in Benton, Buena Vista, Floyd, Howard, and Warren counties. More than half of Iowa's counties now have confirmed infestations.
The emerald ash borer has been positively identified from a residential tree in Clarksville. Butler County now becomes the 51st county in Iowa where this invasive pest has been confirmed.
An invasive beetle that kills ash trees, the emerald ash borer, has been confirmed in Ringgold County, making it the 52nd county in Iowa where this highly destructive insect has been found.
A highly destructive beetle that targets and kills ash trees, the emerald ash borer has been confirmed in Decatur County. EAB was first discovered in Iowa in 2010. Now 53 counties in Iowa have been confirmed with the presence of EAB.
Iowa State University Extension and Outreach has relaunched its Horticulture and Home Pest News website, providing a one-stop location for yard and garden information.