Fall Home Invaders…When will it End?

KUDZU BUGS (Megacopta cribraria) are globular stinkbugs first found in Georgia in 2009 and have since spread to surrounding states. They feed on the sap of legumes (bean plants) by using sucking mouth parts. The greatest concern is from soybean farmers where kudzu bugs are capable of decreasing yields by as much as 75 percent. Kudzu bugs only bother homeowners when they emerge in the spring and when they look for places to overwinter in the fall. They are attracted to light colored surfaces, south facing walls, and certain plants like figs.

CONTROL: Pyrethroids will easily kill kudzu bugs; however, before you declare chemical warfare, remember spraying is rarely effective due to their overwhelming numbers. It would be both safer and cheaper to leave the ones outside alone and use a vacuum to sweep up the ones that enter your home. They stink so be sure to change the filter.

MUTLICOLORED ASIAN LADY BEETLES (Harmonia axyridis) were first reported in NC in 1992. They are considered to be extremely beneficial predators used combat aphids and some scale insects. They only become a problem in the fall when they too begin looking for places to overwinter.

CONTROL: Much like the kudzu bugs, chemical barriers are ineffective and direct control is not recommended due to the beetle’s beneficial nature. Sealing up your house with weather striping, caulking, and foam are the most effective ways to keep bugs out. Beetles that do get inside can be trapped and released or swept up with a vacuum.

PAPER WASP (Polistes sp.) are those redish-brown wasp that build honeycomb-like cells under eaves and overhangs. Paper wasps are annual insects, which means the queen is the only member of the colony to survive the winter. Each queen will start a new colony in the spring. In the fall, the queen (and a few of her sisters who will eventually croak) bails out of the nest in search for a place to overwinter. They are commonly seen in the fall, hovering around eaves or bouncing off of windows and lights. People afraid of being stung become frantic when these things enter their homes. Since there is no nest to defend, they are not aggressive.

CONTROL: One rolled up newspaper (perhaps this one) and a little patience.

The information for this article is given courtesy of the Beaufort County Extension Master Gardener Volunteers. If you have a gardening question, please contact the Beaufort Extension Master Gardener HOTLINE at 946-0111 or email your question to: beaufortcomg@gmail.com

For local horticulture updates, follow me on twitter: @BeaufortCo_Hort

Gardening Calendar for November

Lawn Care

  • Maintain cool season grasses by mow as needed.
  • Keep tree leaves from collecting on your lawn.
  • Control fire ants with either a bait or contact.

Fertilizing

  • Spread ashes from the fireplace around gardens and bulb bed where soil pH is below 6.0. Avoid acid-loving plants.

Planting

  • Plant one-year-old asparagus crowns in the vegetable garden this month.
  • If you don’t use your garden through the fall and winter months, consider planting a cover crop like annual rye, barley, or wheat.
  • Now is a good time to set out or transplant landscape plants.  Be sure to “open up” the root balls on container plants.

Pruning

  • The foliage from existing asparagus can be cut down to the ground after the first killing frost.
  • Cut back herbaceous perennials after the frost kills the tops.
  • Any dead or diseased wood can be pruned out anytime of the year.
  • Weeds or unnecessary trees should be removed from the landscape.
  • Rootprune any plants you plan to move next spring.

Spraying

  • None

Other Activities

  • Take soil samples from your vegetable garden if you haven’t already done so.
  • If you have received your soil recommendations, apply lime as suggested. Don’t apply fertilizer till spring.
  • Order fruit trees and grape vines now if you wish to plant them in February and March.
  • Prepare bird feeders.
  • Don’t forget to water evergreens trees and shrubs thoroughly before winter.
  • Continue putting the leaves from your yard into a compost bin.

Poinsettias should be placed in the sunniest room in the house

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