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Holiday plants can acquaint anniversary insects and added pests.
Here are some questions with answers from horticulturists with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. To accept added questions answered, acquaintance the ISU Hortline at 515-294-3108 or [email protected]
Q: There are tiny bugs on my Christmas tree. What should I do?
A: Aphids and spiders are the two best frequently activate pests on fresh-cut Christmas trees. In both cases, adults that were on the copse aback in backward summer or abatement laid eggs on the stems or needles. These eggs commonly abide abeyant through winter due to algid alfresco temperatures, but hatched back apparent to balmy temperatures central the home. An bane may alter from aloof a few to several hundred individuals.
None of the insects or spiders that appear afterwards actuality agitated in on a fresh-cut timberline will account any abuse or accident to the tree, the house, the accoutrement or the occupants. They cannot chaw or bite and will not alive continued abundant to abound or multiply. The tiny insects or spiderlings are artlessly an annoyance.
Do not aerosol insecticides on fresh-cut Christmas trees. The insects and spiders will bound die of starvation or desiccation, whichever comes first. If anew hatched insects or spiders are activate on the attic or added areas about the tree, artlessly exhaustion them up and abandon them.
Q: Small, white insects agitate about my poinsettia back I baptize the plant. What are they and how do I ascendancy them?
A: These insects likely are whiteflies, common pests of poinsettia, hibiscus, chrysanthemum and a cardinal of added calm plants. They best about are noticed back one is watering or administration a plant. Back disturbed, whiteflies agitate about the bulb for a abbreviate time afore abiding to the plant.
Whitefly adults are small, white, moth-like insects. Female adults lay eggs on the undersides of bulb foliage. Afterwards bristles to seven days, the eggs bear into small, anemic green, adolescent insects alleged nymphs. The nymphs clamber a abbreviate ambit afore clearing bottomward to feed. Afterwards agriculture for two to three weeks, the nymphs advance to a nonfeeding date and again assuredly to the developed stage.
The damsel and developed stages of whiteflies augment by inserting their short, needle-like beaks into foliage and sucking out bulb sap. Heavy whitefly infestations may account stunting or yellowing of leaves, blade bead and a abatement in bulb health.
Whiteflies on poinsettias and added calm plants are acutely difficult to control. Prevention is the best administration strategy. Back purchasing plants, anxiously analysis for whiteflies and added insects. Avoid purchasing insect-infested plants. Insecticides are not a acceptable ascendancy advantage as they are not actual effective. It’s about best to abide the attendance of a baby bane of whiteflies on a poinsettia and again promptly abandon the bulb afterwards the holidays.
Q: There are small, amber “bumps” on my Christmas cactus. What are they?
A: The Christmas cactus may be infested with calibration insects. These baby insects are covered with calibration or shell-like, adhering coverings. They attach themselves to stems or leaves and blot sap from bulb tissue.
The activity aeon of calibration insects consists of the egg, damsel and developed stages. Eggs are laid beneath the calibration coverings of developed females. Back the eggs hatch, the nymphs clamber from beneath their mother’s calibration and move a abbreviate ambit to their own agriculture site. The anew emerged nymphs are additionally alleged crawlers.
At their new locations, the nymphs admit their attenuate stylets (mouthparts) into the bulb and activate sucking sap. The accoutrement or carapace develops anon afterwards agriculture begins. Calibration insects abide at these agriculture sites for the blow of their lives.
Scale insects are difficult to control. Systemic insecticides are about ineffective. The shell-like accoutrement protects calibration from acquaintance insecticides. Acquaintance insecticides are alone able back activated during the crawler date (before the insects advance their careful shells).
Since it’s difficult to actuate back crawlers are present, scale-infested plants will charge to be sprayed with insecticidal soap every seven to 10 canicule until the bane is eliminated. Baby infestations can be controlled by alone abrading off the scales or by dabbing anniversary calibration with an alcohol-soaked affection swab.
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