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

IPM News and Related Stories

Organic Rice
With organic rice in demand, scientists to help farmers improve production
Organic rice is increasingly desired by U.S. consumers, but farmers know that growing the grain chemically free can mean providing a feast for insects, diseases and weeds.
Read More

Toxic Algae Threatens Bald Eagles
Hydrilla is slowly choking rivers, ponds and lakes of North Carolina. Now it has become an even more ominous potential threat and an eagle killer.
Read More

New app helps strawberry and peach growers manage diseases
Strawberry growers have a direct line to help for and information about diseases with the new MyIPM app, developed by researchers at Clemson University.
Read More

Cover Crops
SARE(Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education) has published a bulletin to promote the use of cover crops for pollinators and beneficial insects.
Read More

Baby, it's cold outside.  Time to stock up on firewood.  
An article from the USDA on how the Asian longhorned beetle, emerald ash borer and gypsy moth can be spread into new areas on firewood.
Read More

Sunday, October 18, 2015

IPM Notes from October 15, 2015

Winter rye has been seeded at different times where the soybeans and field corn were growing. The younger winter rye has a reddish color called "color banding" due to the cooler nights. Eventually the plant will turn green. The sprouting from the base of a winter rye plant or from the axils of its lower leaves is called tillering. If the rye is left alone to grow into the following spring it can be used as "longstraw" for bedding for farm animals or the rye can be harvested as a grain. Farmers don't like wildlife (geese in particular) on their winter rye because they constantly eat it through the fall and winter season. The rye does grow back.

The soybeans that were planted later this year have yet to be harvested. The moisture content needs to be around 14% for harvesting. A heavy dew or rainfall will increase the moisture content. Since most farmers are harvesting their soybeans at the same time of year (now) there can be logistical problems of having a truck for harvesting, or even waiting in a truck line for hours to have your harvested shipment accepted.

The alfalfa field has been cut short for winter, and will not be harvested again until next May. Several netting sweeps of the alfalfa field contained grasshoppers, leafhoppers, aphids and a plant bug. Alfalfa is a leguminous plant (as are soybeans) used for hay and forage. It is high in protein. Alfalfa likes a higher soil pH. Alfalfa and soybeans are nitrogen-fixing plants, but alfalfa provides more nitrogen. Using proper crop rotation every year, a farmer will need less nitrogen if corn is planted on the previous year's alfalfa or soybean field.

The demonstration plots are winding down for the year. The pumpkins, millet and broomcorn were harvested and moved up next to the pole barn as a display to be viewed and enjoyed by the crowd each Saturday at the farmers market. A few of the demonstration plots will be seeded next week with the cover crop winter wheat.

Notes compiled by John Siemanowski.