Cut Worms in Home Gardens

Cutworms are a destructive pest insect of a wide variety of plant material. Many home gardeners have encountered them in the vegetable garden, where they chew through the stems of their seedlings, cutting them off near the soil line. There are hundreds of species of cutworms and appearances can vary, as well as habitat, food preferences and life cycle. There are however several general characteristics, … Continue reading Cut Worms in Home Gardens

Slugs and Snails in the Ornamental Garden

Most people are familiar with these slimy pests, that cause extensive damage to gardens, both ornamental and food. Slugs and snails while thought of as insects to most gardeners, are actually invertebrate animals known as Molluscs or mollusks (along with oysters, clams and squid). They have been around for about 500 million years (BYJU’S, (n.d.)) with about 85,000 known species (Wikipedia, (rev.  9 April 2022)). … Continue reading Slugs and Snails in the Ornamental Garden

Willow Leaf Gall Sawfly

What Are Galls? Galls are unusual growths or deformities of plant tissue caused by an organism; be it insect, nematodes, fungi, bacteria or viruses. The presence of these organisms initiates an increased production of normal plant growth hormones and these plant hormones cause localized plant growth. The gall-making organism feeds inside the gall. The appearance of the gall is unique to the gall maker and … Continue reading Willow Leaf Gall Sawfly

Spongy Moth aka. Gypsy Moth

The spongy moth (Lymantria dispar), is an invasive and highly destructive pest. When their numbers are high the larvae can completely defoliate trees, even forests. Formerly known as the gypsy moth, it was renamed by The Entomological Society of America in Feb. 2022. This species has a few sub-species including: Lymantria dispar dispar, Lymantria dispar asiatica, Lymantria dispar japonica, Lymantria umbrosa, Lymantria postalba and Lymantria albescens. They are often … Continue reading Spongy Moth aka. Gypsy Moth

Imported Willow Leaf Beetle

The Imported Willow Leaf Beetle (Plagiodera versicolora) is a small metallic-blue-green beetle with an insatiable appetite for willow and poplar trees. Native to Europe, the beetle was introduced to North America in 1915 and is predominantly found in the eastern U.S. and south/eastern Canada. Identification and Damage  Adults: beetles are small, about 4 or 5 mm long ( 1/8″), metallic blue-green in colour, with an … Continue reading Imported Willow Leaf Beetle

Spittlebugs and Frog Hoppers

There are approximately 2500 spittlebug species world wide (Deitz  L. L. et. al., (2008)). Most of these live in the tropics with only about 60 species living in North America (Missouri Department of Conservation, (n.d.)). In Canada they are mostly found along the very southern end of the country. The nymphs are referred to as spittlebugs because of the frothy, spittle-like substance they produce and … Continue reading Spittlebugs and Frog Hoppers

Iris Borers and Bacterial Soft Rot 

Iris borers (Macronoctua onusta), are a species of cutworms that bore through iris leaves down into the rhizomes, causing browning and wilting. Their feeding damage can also cause a disease known as bacterial soft rot, aka. root rot. This bacterial disease, caused by the bacteria Erwinia carotovora, causes the rhizome to rot and become mushy, emitting a foul odour. Iris rhizomes infected with this disease … Continue reading Iris Borers and Bacterial Soft Rot 

Dormant Oil for the Control of Over-wintering Insect Pests

What is dormant oil? Dormant oil is an oil based, low-impact insecticide, that is sprayed on vulnerable woody plants during their dormant season, to kill the overwintering stage of pest insects. The oil used is typically a highly refined mineral oil to which an emulsifying agent has been added, which allows the oil to mix with water. Sometimes cottonseed oil or soybean oil are used … Continue reading Dormant Oil for the Control of Over-wintering Insect Pests

The Many Faces of an Aphid

Many gardeners are familiar with the little green soft bodied insects that feed on the growing tips and flowers of many of their favourite garden plants. Aphids however are actually a very large and diverse group of insects with between 4,000-5,000 species world wide. They come in a range of colours including green, black, brown, red, yellow, purple, gray and white. Size wise they vary … Continue reading The Many Faces of an Aphid

20+ Beneficial Insects for Home Gardens, Green Houses, Crops and Orchards

By: Kimberley Pacholko Jan. 25, 2021 What Are Beneficial Insects? Beneficial insects are deemed beneficial from a human perspective, for their ability to either pollinate plants or to control pest insects. Creating an environment that is hospitable to beneficial insects usually involves refraining from the use of insecticides and other chemicals in the garden, providing a variety of plant material including brightly coloured pollinating plants, … Continue reading 20+ Beneficial Insects for Home Gardens, Green Houses, Crops and Orchards

Box Tree Moths (Cydalima perspectalis)

Box tree moths (Cydalima perspectalis), BTM for short, are an invasive species new to Canada in 2018. They are currently found in the Toronto area, including Scarborough and Concord in 2020 and an isolate case in St. Catharines in 2021, but they are spreading. The United States reported it’s first cases in 2021. Several government bodies, universities, nursery and landscape trades have banded together to try … Continue reading Box Tree Moths (Cydalima perspectalis)

Fall Web Worms

Identification Fall webworm nests: are composed of silky threads wrapped around the leaves and branches encapsulating the caterpillars. The nests are loosely constructed and messy looking, occurring at the branch tips, and enlarging as food runs out. Large colonies can encapsulate an entire tree in their webbing. The caterpillars feed inside the nest (unlike tent caterpillars) and as such the nest is full of frass … Continue reading Fall Web Worms

Crane Flies And Leather Jackets Turf Damage and Control

These long, gangly looking insects look like giant mosquitos but they are completely harmless (they neither bite nor sting). Their off spring (leather jackets) can cause some serious damage though, (if in sufficient numbers), to the roots of lawns and other garden plants.   European Crane Flies (Tipula paludosa Meigen) Crane Flies (sometimes called daddy-long-legs or mosquito hawks) are long and gangly, two winged flies that look like giant mosquitos. … Continue reading Crane Flies And Leather Jackets Turf Damage and Control

European Fruit Lecanium Scale on Purple Leaved Sand Cherry

Purple leaf sand cherry (Prunus cistena) are susceptible to a large number of potential insect and disease pests. One of those insect pests is the European fruit lecanium scale (Parthenolecanium corni)  or EFS for short. This native, soft bodied scale insect primarily feeds on fruit trees, although other trees and shrubs, such as maples, can be affected. They can cause significant damage and susceptible trees and … Continue reading European Fruit Lecanium Scale on Purple Leaved Sand Cherry