Wednesday, June 6, 2018

New Pest on the Rise - Spotted Lanterfly

The Spotted Lanternfly, Lycorma delicatula (White) is neither fly nor a month. The Spotted Lanternfly is a native insect of China, India and Vietnam and an invasive planthopper.  At first, the spotted lanterfly had only been found in Berks County, Pennsylvania.  Recently, individuals have been found in Virginia, New York and Delaware.

The spotted lanternfly has been reported from over 70 species of plants, including the following:
  • Tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima) (preferred host)
  • Apple (Malus spp.)
  • Plum, cherry, peach, apricot (Prunus spp.)
  • Grape (Vitis spp.)
  • Pine (Pinus spp.
Adults are 1 inch long and ½ inch wide at rest. The forewing is gray with black spots of varying sizes and the wing tips have black spots outlined in gray. Hind wings have contrasting patches of red and black with a white band. The legs and head are black, and the abdomen is yellow with black bands. Early immature stages are black with white spots. By the last immature stage they develop red patches in addition to the black color with white spots. This is the last immature stage before they mature into an adult.  Immature insect and adults are visually striking when the bright red of the hind wings is exposed.

Photo courtesy of Lawrence Beringer, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture
Adult Spotted Lanternfly (
Adults feed by puncturing the plant tissue to feed on sap.  The feeding damage can cause sap to run down the surface of the plant and encourages the growth of sooty mold which leaves dark streaks on the trunks of trees.
If you think you have seen or collected a Spotted Lanternfly please report it to the New Jersey Department of Agriculture and the Department of Entomology at the Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences by emailing

Additional Information

Spotted Lanterfly - New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station

Spotted Lanterfly - Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture

Tree of Heaven - Invasive Exotic Plants of the Southeast - NC State University

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Winter Weeds Part 1- Annual Bluegrass

Annual bluegrass (Poa annua) is one of the most common winter weeds in the United States.  It looks similar to Kentucky bluegrass, but is a lighter shade of green and has shallower roots.  When the weather get warm, it dies off, leaving brown patches in the affected area. 

Affected Area

Keys to Identification
  • Annual bluegrass grows 2 to 8 inches tall when unmowed.
  • It is tolerant of mowing heights typical for home lawns.
  • The grass has a lighter green color (sometimes described as “apple green”) than other cool-season turfgrasses.
  • Annual bluegrass has flattened sheaths that are bent at the base and often rooted at the lower sheath joint.
  • Mature leaf blades are often rippled part way down and vary from 1 to 3 inches in length.
  • Leaf blades end with boat-shaped leaf tips.
  • The inflorescence (flowering structure) is a terminal panicle that varies from 1⁄2 to 4 inches in length.
  • The majority of annual bluegrass seedheads are formed in spring (April to June).

Annual bluegrass seed heads.
Millie Davenport, © 2010, HGIC, Clemson Extension

Ripples on leaf.
UMassAmhurst Extension Program

In small landscape beds, annual bluegrass can be hand dug or controlled with an herbicide.  It is best to prevent the spread of annual bluegrass by maintaining optimum cultural conditions and using a 3-inch mulch layer to block weed development. Once annual bluegrass has made its way into a landscape bed, an herbicide may be necessary if hand pulling or hoeing is not practical.

Whenever using pesticides, always read and follow labeled directions or have pesticides professionally applied by a licensed pesticide applicator.

Additional Information

Annual Bluegrass - University of California - IPM

Annual and Roughstalk Bluegrass Management for New Jersey Home Lawns - Rutgers University

Which is it, Annual Bluegrass or Kentucky Bluegrass? - Purdue University

Poa L. - USDA Information

Turfgrass Morphology - University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Cape May County hosting “Pollinator Victory Garden” Workshop

Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Cape May County is hosting “The Pollinator Victory Garden: Winning the War on Pollinator Decline” on Wednesday, June 8 from 5:30 to p.m., rain or shine, at Rutgers Cooperative Extension, 355 Court House – South Dennis Road, Cape May Court House, New Jersey.
Participants will learn how to attract an array of pollinators, what plants they eat, how to provide them with shelter, and how to help win the war on pollinator decline.

For more information click here .

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

IPM Related News and Stories - May 2nd

Recent article from North Carolina Field and Family that describes the benefits of pollinators and  some of the recent research on pollinator habits.  Click the link below for more information.
Plotting to Attract Pollinators

If you are thinking of using a rain barrel, the North Shore Mosquito Abatement District(NSMAD) has posted information that you may find useful.Click the link below for more information.
NSMAD Rain Barrel Flyer 

Some interesting articles on the resistance of insects, plants and diseases to human controls. Click the link below for more information.
IPM Insights April 2016

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Home Invasion - Fall Insect Pests

To survive the winter insects have developed different strategies to survive.  Some insects lay eggs and die when temperatures fall below freezing.  Other insects burrow in the ground or under piles of decaying plant material.  Still others avoid the cold by migrating to warmer climates.  As the temperature begins to fall, insects begin to look for a warm place to overwinter.  One of the places where they can overwinter is in your home.  Some of the most common overwintering insects that tend to invade homes are listed below.

Boxelder bug (Leptocoris trivittatus)

Boxelder bug adult surrounded by nymphs. William M. Ciesla
Forest Health Management International

The adult boxelder bug gets its name from their host plant the boxelder (Acer negundo). The boxelder bug is about 1/2 inch in length, and dark gray to brownish-black in color, with three red stripes on the thorax and wing margins.  The body is bright red.  They have piercing-sucking mouthparts and feed mainly on seeds produced by female boxelders.  Eggs are straw-yellow to rusty-red in color and are not often seen, as they are deposited on boxelder trees or other maples, or near the trees.  The nymphs, which are found on the trees, are bright red in color with the front half darker. Nymphs resemble adults but do not have fully developed wings and are not able to reproduce.

Multi-colored Asian lady beetle (Harmonia axyridis).

Asian lady beetles vary in color. Note the whitish area
with M-shaped marking behind the head.
University of Kentucky

The Asian lady beetle (Harmonia axyridis), is common throughout the United States. Adult Asian lady beetles are oval, convex, and about 1/4-inch long. Their color can vary widely from tan to orange to red. They often have several black spots on the wing covers. On some beetles the spots may be indistinct or entirely absent. Multi-spotted individuals tend to be females while those with few or no spots tend to be males. Most beetles have a small, dark "M" or "W"-shaped marking on the whitish area behind the head. The Asian lady beetles are beneficial insects. The use of lady beetles as a natural control of aphids in some crops like pecans has decreased insecticide use against those pests. Additionally, lady beetles have  been used to controlled aphids on some ornamental plants.

Cluster fly (Pollena rudis)

Cluster Fly - Colorado State University Extension

Cluster flies are named for their habit of overwintering in large clusters within the attics or upper walls of homes and buildings. They are black and a little larger than house flies, from 3/8- to 1/2-inch long, with short, yellow hairs on the thorax. Their wings overlap when at rest.
Cluster flies are unique because they are parasites of earthworms. In summer they can be seen flying around yards just above the ground. They lay their eggs in cracks in the soil and the eggs hatch in about three days. The newly hatched maggots grab onto earthworms as they slither by and burrow into the worm to feed. The fly completes a life cycle in four to five weeks.

Brown marmorated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys)

University of California

The brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB), Halyomorpha halys, is a pest whose first officially reported appearance in the United State was in Allentown, Pennsylvania in 2001. Adult bugs are 14-17 mm (about a 1/2 inch) in lenght and dark mottled brown. The last 2 antennal segments have alternating light and dark bands. The exposed edges of the abdomen also have light and dark banding. Stink bugs get their name from the scent glands located on the dorsal surface of the abdomen and the underside of the thorax.


Repair torn screens and close up places where the insects can enter the house, such as cracks around doors and windows and attic or basement vents. Use caulk, weatherstripping, fine-mesh screen or expandable foam as appropriate. Overwintering insects that enter the home may be controlled by hand-collecting or vacuuming. Repeat as needed. 

Eliminate hiding places such as piles of rocks, boards, leaves, and general debris close to houses. Rake leaves and remove weeds and grass from a 6- to 10-feet wide strip around the foundation, particularly on the south and west sides of the house.   A weed and debris-free area tends to reduce the congregation of insects near the foundation. 

Additional Information

Cluster Flies - Pennsylvania State University

Boxelder Bug - University of Idaho

How to Identify the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug - Rutgers University

Flies in the Home - Colorado State University Extension

Asian Lady Beetle Infestation of Structures - University of Kentucky

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug - Featured Creatures - University of Florida