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Insect scouting reveals pests

University of Georgia

If you want to control insects in your landscape, a University of Georgia expert says you have to be a good scout. But remember, a little damage won’t hurt.

Like a good Boy Scout or Girl Scout, an insect scout must be prepared and armed with the proper tools like a notebook, sticky tape, a magnifying lens and tweezers. Inspect your landscape and record insect-damaged plants in your notebook and use the lens to inspect more closely. Inventory the insects you see.

To check for scale insects, Kris Braman, an entomologist with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, offers this tip. Place a piece of sticky tape on the plant, remove and look for hatching crawlers.

“The crawlers are the only mobile stage of these otherwise sessile pests. If you find crawlers on the sticky tape, it’s time to control the scale infestation,” she said.

If you see a bug that you know has been munching on your plants, you can just pull it off and get rid of it. Or, you can just live with a little damage.

“Insect pests can damage plants, but if only 10 percent of the plant is affected, you need to learn to live with a little imperfection,” she said.

If the number of insects and damage is too much, a pesticide may need to be used, she said. For help selecting the right one, call the local UGA Cooperative Extension office at 1-800-ASK-UGA1.

(Sharon Omahen is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)

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