What Is This???

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Who forgot to pay the water bill last month? We had less than one inch of rain in September. However, the weather has not slowed the insects. Below are a few inquires the Caldwell Extension Center received that may relate to your outdoor endeavors.

Question: Do you know what this plant is with dark green leaves and white flowers?


Answer: I was not sure about the identity when I first looked at the picture. I shared it with my colleagues. Amanda Taylor, our horticulture agent, was able to identify it as spotted wintergreen. This is a native plant.

Question: Can you look at the attached pictures and tell me what these little dudes are and if I should worry about them on my beech tree? Thanks.Beech_tree400

Answer: These are one of our woolly aphids species. Typically they do not need to be controlled if it is a large tree. However, if it is a small tree, I think it is a good idea to try to control them. I would use horticultural oil or insecticidal soap for control. This is fairly non-toxic to us and the environment. Sometimes, just using a water hose can wash them off.

Question: Can you identify this caterpillar?

saddleback400Answer: This is a saddleback caterpillar. You will remember it if you brush against it. The powerful sting is as painful as a bee sting.

Question: We found centipedes (I think that’s what they are) in our yard that glow in the dark like a lightning bug. Are they harmless?

Answer: These bugs are called glow worms. Glow worms are the larvae of fireflies or lightning bugs. Late in the summer, female fireflies lay eggs in the soil. These eggs hatch into glow worms.

Glow worms are predators that feed on small insects, worms, slugs, and snails. At night these creatures patrol the thatch layer in lawns and other damp locations. In the daytime, they hide under loose bark, logs, and rocks. Next year these bugs will go through a complete metamorphosis and emerge as adults fireflies.

Written By

Photo of Seth NagySeth NagyCounty Extension Director (828) 757-1290 seth_nagy@ncsu.eduCaldwell County, North Carolina
Posted on Oct 1, 2013
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