Contact Extension Office for Information on Bugs
Posted: September 5, 2012
Here are two insects to watch for.
The insect that I have been seeing most often in the office recently is the stink bug. There are many different types of stink bugs, but they all have one thing in common: they produce a terrible odor when disturbed. Stink bugs can be easily recognized by their shield-like body.
Stinkbugs cause damage to buds, flowers, and fruits by sucking sap from these plant parts. On fruits, the damage appears as corky lesions under the skin. Tomatoes are commonly affected by stink bugs early in the growing season, and then we see the damage at this time of the year. However, not all stink bugs are bad. Some are predatory and will feed on other insects such as caterpillars or beetle larvae.
Stink bugs can be controlled early in the growing season with some insecticides. However, when insects are mature, insecticides are relatively ineffective. So, hand picking is recommended at this time of the year. After the gardens or orchards have been harvested, clean up all weeds and other plant debris to remove breeding locations.
Another insect that I have had several calls about is the bagworm. These bags are formed by a caterpillar that turns into a moth. These caterpillars start out by weaving bits of leaves, twigs and silk around their bodies. The caterpillar drags its bag with it as it feeds and continues to form the bag. As the caterpillar grows, so does the bag until the caterpillar is ready to form a pupa. At this time, the caterpillar attaches itself, while still inside the bag, to a twig. This generally occurs around this time of the year. Females turn into a wingless moth and stay inside the bag, while the male turns into a moth that flies to a female, where they mate. The female then lays eggs within her bag and dies. Eggs will hatch in May or June.
At this time of the year, bags should be picked by hand and destroyed. Next spring, caterpillars should be treated as soon as possible after they hatch. Watch for leaf damage to determine when the caterpillars are present.
For more information on insects and insect damage, contact Melanie at the Penn State Extension office in Bedford County at 814.623.4800 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also contact a Master Gardener at the Penn State Extension Office in Somerset by calling 814.445.8911, extension 7 or by emailing email@example.com.