A look at the various Northern Nevada Insects and the methods that should be implemented in your Reno landscaping to prevent or maintain these bugs.
Or more commonly known as Ladybugs, are very common Northern Nevada insects. They are a beneficial insect in that they feed on soft-bodied pests that can damage your plants and trees: aphids, mealybugs, and mites. One larva may eat 200 to 500 aphids before becoming an adult, which takes about a month after hatching. They may have several or no black spots on their orange, red, yellow, or black wing covers. When utilizing Ladybugs to manage pests in your yard, keep them in your Reno landscaping by planting flowers that appeal to the adults. Ladybugs often fly outside the yard they are placed in to seek food. Adults are attracted to flower nectar and pollen.
Second, dragonflies are another common beneficial insect here in Northern Nevada. Adult dragonflies are relatively large and can range from 1/2 to 6 inches long. They have two sets of translucent, net-veined wings and a long abdomen. They live near ponds, wetlands, and other slow-moving waters. Dragonflies are very important in reducing the number of mosquitoes and other aquatic flies. Dragonflies can be managed within your yard by providing a bird bath, landscape pond, or other water feature to keep them around. They also like to rest and sun themselves on wooden stakes and can be attracted to a yard having three-foot tall small diameter poles or bamboo garden stakes in sunny parts of the yard.
These are dull brown caterpillars with light-colored stripes and smooth skin. When disturbed, they curl into a C-shape. Their dome-shaped eggs are laid on stems and leaves near the ground. Cutworms attack most garden crops and plants. They clip the seedling stems near or just below the soil’s surface. They migrate to other plants once the food supply has been exhausted. Cutworms also climb on foliage and chew holes in the leaves. In order to manage these Northern Nevada insects, you need to look for the Cutworm at night when they are most active. Destroy crop residues and surrounding weeds. Try to keep the garden free of weeds and sod in the winter. Using insecticide baits before there is serious damage provides good control.
Another Northern Nevada Insect that tends to be on the damaging side to your garden. Aphids can be green, yellow, brown, red, blue, or black and are about 1/10 inch long. This small pear-shaped pest has long legs, antennae, and cornices (tube-like structures) projecting out of the back of its body. Adult aphids may be winged or wingless. Females give birth to young aphids that begin sucking the fluid out of the leaf right away.
Aphid feeding will cause curled, yellowed, and deformed leaves. Usually, you will notice a shiny appearance on the ground right under an affected plant or tree. The leaves will also have an abnormal glistening to them. This shiny substance is a glucose-like substance that is excreted from the aphids. In some cases, you will notice a line of ants going up and down the plant or tree. They are feeding on this glucose. Some aphid species inject a toxin into plants and they can transfer viruses from plant to plant.
As mentioned above, ladybugs would be a great first line of defense. These can be found at your local garden center. There are insecticides available to fight the aphid battle, Imidacloprid is an effective insecticide and it can be used both as a systemic as well as a foliar application. Mechanical removal of affected areas are also a good way if it is caught early enough. You can also wash the aphid affected area with a high forced stream of water for a good short-term solution.
There are many Northern Nevada insects, however, probably the most well-known is the grasshopper. Grasshoppers can grow to up to 3 inches long. They are brown or green with some darker markings. They have big hind legs used for jumping, and two pairs of wings. Grasshoppers feed on nearly every kind of vegetation, particularly grasses. High populations can cause serious damage to young trees or to fruit, foliage, and new growth on older trees. They will also chew holes in leaves and fruit. A good control method is applying pesticide to areas that are used for hatching young grasshoppers. Birds, mammals, and predatory insects feed on grasshoppers as well.
Snails and slugs
Feed on a variety of living plants and on decaying plant matter. They chew irregular holes with smooth edges in leaves and flowers and can clip succulent plant parts. They also can chew fruit and young plant bark. Because these Northern Nevada insects prefer succulent foliage or flowers, they primarily are pests of seedlings and herbaceous plants, but they also are serious pests of ripening fruits that are close to the ground such as strawberries, artichokes, and tomatoes. They also will feed on foliage and fruit of some trees; citrus are especially susceptible to damage. Look for the silvery mucous trails to confirm slugs or snails caused the damage and not earwigs, caterpillars, or other chewing insects.
Can cause substantial damage to seedling plants and soft fruit. Damaged seedlings may be missing all or parts of their leaves and stem. Leaves on older plants, including fruit trees, have numerous irregular holes or are chewed around the edges. This damage may resemble that caused by caterpillars. Earwigs may attack soft fruit such as apricots, strawberries, raspberries, or blackberries but don’t harm hard fruit such as apples.
On stone fruit, look for shallow gouges or holes that extend deeply into the fruit. For strawberries, distinguish earwig damage from that of snails and slugs by checking for the slime trails snails and slugs leave behind. On corn, earwigs feed on silks and prevent pollination, causing poor kernel development. Earwigs may also seriously damage flowers including zinnias, marigolds, and dahlias. To confirm that earwigs are causing the damage, go out at night with a flashlight to observe the pests in action. Management of earwigs requires an integrated program that takes advantage of their habitat preferences.
Where earwigs are a problem, consider reducing hiding places and surface moisture levels. Initiate a regular trapping program for these Northern Nevada insects. If these measures are followed, insecticide treatments shouldn’t be necessary. Baits are available for earwigs but often aren’t very effective. Keep in mind that earwigs are omnivores and are beneficial in some situations, such as when they feed on aphids and don’t need to be managed in many situations.
There are many control methods for managing the various Northern Nevada Insects. Among them are: cultural, physical, mechanical, and biological control methods.
- Cultural Control involves assessing your Reno landscaping and adjusting normal plant care activities, such as water usage, plant location, and the amount of fertilizer applied.
- Physical controls are used to influence the environment by changing temperature, light, and humidity to prevent pest activity.
- Mechanical methods include labor, machinery, and materials other than pesticides. These are used to exclude, reduce, or kill pests directly. Pesticides may be applied for control. Please make sure you follow the directions carefully.
- The use of beneficial organisms to control pests is biological control. This may be successful in controlling various Northern Nevada insects.
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For more information or to see our Reno landscaping services, visit Antonucci Lawn and Garden, or call us at 775.841.5296.