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Posts Tagged ‘Biology’

Walnut Husk Fly

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

Walnut Husk Fly

Common names: Walnut Husk Fly

Scientific name: Rhagoletis completa

Region: This fly is found in western United States and has similar species in the East.

Life cycle: This insect produces one generation each year and overwinters in the soil under the walnut trees in small hard, brown cases.  The adults emerge in late summer, around August and spend a few weeks on the foliage before they mate and begin to lay eggs.

Physical Description: This light brown fly is only 1/3 inch long and has yellow markings and black bars on the wings.  Its eggs are white and are laid in cavities within the husk of the walnut.

Feeding characteristics: This pest will attack walnuts as well as peaches.  The maggots feed by tunneling into the walnut husks, where they will remain for several weeks, until they drop to the ground to pupate.

While the infestation will cautilize stains, the kernel usually remains unaffected.

Controls: Once the walnuts have been harvested, place the nuts in water to drown the maggots.  Remove the husks with the dead maggots.

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Western Tussock Moth

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

Western Tussock Moth

Common names: Western Tussock Moth

Scientific name: Orgyia vetusta

Region: This Caterpillar is found in western North America with a similar species in the East.

Life cycle: This insect produces one generation each year and overwinters in frothy white egg masses on trees.

Physical Description: This 1 1/4 inch long caterpillar is a strange looking, hairy insect.  It has a bright red head with two hornlike tufts of long black hair.  Its primary colors are brown with yellow and black longitudinal stripes.  The adult moth is gray with dark wavy bands and a wingspan of 1 1/4 inches, the female is wingless.  The eggs are laid in frothy white egg masses on the females cocoon and covered with hairs.

Feeding characteristics: This pest attacks apple, apricot chrysanthemum, geranium, German ivy, hickory, horse chestnut, peach, pear, plum, rose, and quince by skeletonizing leaves and form silken cocoons on the bark.

Controls: Pick off the infested leaves and groups of larvae, and destroy them.  Scrape off the masses of eggs or paint them with creosote.  The masses are easy to find.  They are about an inch long and lathery.

Natural predators of this caterpillar is various Trichogramma Wasps and birds.

For serious infestations, apply Bacillus thuringiensis to the larvae and eggs.

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Walnut Caterpillar

Sunday, June 13th, 2010

Walnut Caterpillar

Common names: Walnut Caterpillar

Scientific name: Datana integerrima

Region: This Caterpillar is found in eastern and southern United States.

Life cycle: This insect produces one to two generations each year.  The pupae hibernate in the soil.  As with many insects, this caterpillar population goes in cycles.  They might be bad for one to two years and then virtually disappear for several seasons.

Physical Description: This 2-inch long caterpillar is reddish brown to black with a black head and white hairs.

The adult moth also has a hairy body, is brown in color with four dark bands bordered in white and a wingspan of 1 to 2 inches.

Feeding characteristics: This pest attacks apple, peach, pecan, and walnut plants by eating the leaves.  They will stop eating in the middle of summer to molt, then resume there feeding in the fall.

Controls: These caterpillars will congregate at the bases of branches every night making it easy to remove them on small trees.  A ladder may be necessary for larger trees.

utilize a rolled up burlap bag to rub them out during the late evening.

If hand destroying is not feasible, spraying with Bacillus thuringiensis or pyrethrum to help control the larvae.

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