Danelle Cutting: Kissing bugs and camellia problems

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 11, 2015

The agents have been out of the office this week for the Cooperative Extension State Conference, so most of our questions have come via email. These topics have been very popular. We have had numerous emails with the same questions.

Question: We were working in our yard and found these three kissing bugs? What do I need to do? Should I go to the hospital?

Answer: I mentioned this pest last week, but we have still received numerous calls, drop offs, and emails concerning the infamous kissing bug. The media outlets have stated that the kissing bug was identified in a North Carolina town, but the location was not released.

After all of the visits and emails, I have yet to have an agent identify a kissing bug. In every single sample that I have seen, the insect in question was a wheel bug/assassin bug. They look scary but are very beneficial. They actually help kill and eat the insects that we want out of our gardens.

So before you kill the insect, please take a look at this publication to confirm that you have the kissing bug: http://ncsupdicblog.blogspot.com/2015/11/kissing-bugs-and-chagas-disease-in-nc.html?m=1. If you are still positive that you have a kissing bug, please place the intact (not squished) insect in a glass jar, and bring it to our office.

Question: I am having issues with my camellias. Can you tell me what is going on?

Answer: This question is a combination of all of the issues in the calls we have received. For the most part, the problems were fungal in nature. With all of the rain we have had, there can be a problem, especially if you have an irrigation system that never turns off.

Too much moisture or humidity can cause disease. I recommend getting a soil sample. Try to do this before you plant. This can save you lots of time and headaches in the future. Watering overhead can also cause issues. Lots of plants do not like overhead irrigation and if you have had disease in the past, it is definitely not recommended.

Always water your plants in the morning so that the water will have enough time to dry off. If the plants are damp, it helps provide a great environment for disease to spread and multiply.

Question: Is the Salisbury Farmers’ Market still open?

Answer: Yes. They will be open until Dec. 19. It is a great place to get some wonderful Christmas and holiday items. There are some new vendors at the market that have some beautiful crafts that would be perfect for stocking stuffers. If you would like something unique, they have some lovely crocheted items. If your special someone would prefer a delicious steak or duck, there is a vendor for that, too. They are open Saturdays from 9 a.m to noon at 115 S. Jackson St., Salisbury.

If you have questions concerning insects, gardening, or the Salisbury Farmers’ Market, call your local agent, Danelle Cutting, at 704-216-8970.