GLT's Grow: Three Bad Bugs | WGLT

GLT's Grow: Three Bad Bugs

Aug 12, 2016

The emerald ash borer is one of the three bugs you don't want in your yard.
Credit USGSBIML / Flickr via Creative Commons

There's the insects we all welcome to our yards, like butterflies and ladybugs.  And then there's the baddest bugs on the block that we can't bear to see invade our property.  Their mission?  Crush, kill and destroy your lovely plantings.  If you see this ghastly trio, better act fast if you have any hope of defeating these voracious pests.

  • Patrick Murphy, host of GLT's Grow, identified the baddest bugs as bag worms, Japanese beetles and their grubs, and the emerald ash borer.
  • The ash borer, when it's in its flying form, heads up to the tops of ash trees when it lays an egg that, when it hatches, mines underneath the bark.  So it eats the tree from the inside.  Nasty! 
  • If you see one dead branch on your ash tree, that's a sign the borer has arrived. 
  • It's hard, if not impossible, to treat for this pest.  The best thing to do is to remove that tree from your property.
  • Bag worms are typically found on cedars, arborvitae and other ornamentals. It defoliates, the hungry little guys.   You can see the the little triangular bag with the worms hanging from branches.  Treat with a BT product, which won't harm beneficial insects.  Or you can pull the little bags off the branches and squish them.  Very satisfying!
  • Japanese beetles begin life as grubs down deep in your lawn where they feed on the roots of your lawn.  10-12 grubs per square foot does a ton of damage.  A granular herbicide can be a preventative.  And don't over water --  the grubs love that irrigation.
  • When the grubs grow up, they become the hungry, hungry hippos of the insect kingdom, chewing their way through rose bushes and more.  Don't bother with traps to deal with this bug. Use neem oil on plants to discourage them.  But the best way to deal with them is to treat the grubs.