There’s good bugs and bad bugs and all sorts of problems

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 20, 2014

SALISBURY — Weather can be tricky, creating many questions on disease and insects.
Question: There is a large web with worms in my pecan tree. What is it?
Answer: The photo submitted shows fall webworms or what some scientists believe is another race of webworms. They love pecans, persimmons and sourwood. Our office receives the most calls on pecans. These pests usually just cause cosmetic damage, but they can be very unsightly when there are large masses of them. A simple way to control them is by destroying the web so they become vulnerable to predators. You can do this by using a water hose, pressure washer, stick, etc. to break up and disrupt the protective web. Predators will then be able to attack them much easier. They also make great fishing bait.
Question: What is this insect on the web?
Answer: Another insect in the photo submitted of the fall webworms is the assassin bug. This is a beneficial insect, and it looks as if this assassin bug is looking for its next meal. Assassin bugs come in different shapes, sizes and colors. They have a powerful mouth piece that impales their victims. Because of this mouthpiece, I do not recommend anyone picking them up. Even though they are beneficial, they cannot tell humans from friends or foes and pack a mean punch.
Question: My beans are dying. They have yellow leaves that are falling off. What can I do?
Answer: Once again, weather is playing a huge role in the disease problems we are seeing at the office. A client’s beans were suffering from a fungal problem. Cultural practices play a significant role in helping reduce disease issues. Crop spacing, crop rotation and garden sanitation are some of your best defenses against disease. For crop spacing, you need to make sure you have the proper spacing between plants. This optimizes air flow, dries moisture more quickly, and helps eliminate disease breeding areas. Crop rotation helps prevent disease and pests overpopulating the same area. Garden sanitation is important because most pests and diseases stay in old garden debris. That is why it is important to clean up after your last harvest and destroy/throw away the material to reduce the spread.
Question: What is wrong with my tomatoes?
Answer: Because of the heavy rains, some vegetables are suffering from water stress. Plants can suffer problems from too much or too little water. In this case, it is too much water. Too much water can cause numerous problems such as drowning, disease and leaching of nutrients. Many crops have started showing signs of nitrogen deficiency because the water has leached out many of the vital nutrients. Unfortunately, there is not much we can do when we have heavy downpours on a daily basis. Try to keep an eye on the weather to best determine fertilization, disease and pest control schedules.
For more information on disease, pests and insect identification, please contact your local Cooperative Extension agent at 704-216-8970.
Fall webworms:
Assassin bugs:
Green bean diseases: