Wasp and bee stings are familiar to most people, but some might be surprised to learn that several caterpillars can also sting. Unlike wasps and bees with stingers, these caterpillars have barbed hairs that break off the caterpillar when it brushes against something. The hairs embed in skin and cause sudden or gradually building pain. The severity of a caterpillar sting varies based on the person and number of spines in the skin. Many stinging caterpillars also release a toxin on contact, which may cause health problems for some people. This 4-page fact sheet written by Rebecca Perry and Adam Dale and published by the UF/IFAS Department of Entomology and Nematology describes several stinging caterpillars commonly found throughout the southeastern United States.
Southern chinch bug, Blissus insularis Barber, is the most damaging insect pest of St. Augustinegrass in the United States. St. Augustinegrass is the most common turfgrass used in Florida. The ubiquity of this single turfgrass species makes southern chinch bug an economically important pest in the state. In fact, chinch bugs cost Florida homeowners and professionals millions of dollars every year. This 7-page fact sheet written by Eileen A. Buss, Brianna M. Whitman, and Adam G. Dale and published by the UF/IFAS Department of Entomology and Nematology describes the biology of the pest and the damage it causes and lists ways to scout and monitor for chinch bugs and some strategies for control of the pest.
The greater wax moth (Galleria mellonella Linnaeus) and lesser wax moth (Achroia grisella Fabricius) are major pests of honey bee colonies in Florida. The best defense against wax moths in living colonies is keeping colonies otherwise strong, free of diseases and pests, and queenright. Controlling wax moths in stored combs and equipment, however, can be more difficult. This 3-page fact sheet written by Cameron J. Jack and Jamie D. Ellis and published by the UF/IFAS Department of Entomology and Nematology details the steps beekeepers can take to control wax moths and keep them from ruining stored honey bee combs and equipment.
Maevia inclemens is a common jumping spider found in vines and ivy along tree lines throughout eastern North America. Learn about this interesting and possibly agriculturally beneficial spider in this 3-page fact sheet written by Laurel Lietzenmayer and Lisa Taylor and published by the UF/IFAS Department of Entomology and Nematology.
Dark southern drywood termites are classified as “an uncommon structural pest,” though some infestations have been recorded. Learn to identify this termite species and get information about its distribution, history, biology, and management in this 5-page fact sheet written by Joseph F. Velenovsky and Rudolf H. Scheffrahn and published by the UF/IFAS Department of Entomology and Nematology.
African honey bees and European honey bees are the same species of honey bee, but the two are classified as different subspecies or races of honey bee. African honey bee x European honey bee hybrids present an unpredictable combination of both subspecies‹ behavioral traits. This 4-page fact sheet written by J. D. Ellis and M. Bammer and published by the UF/IFAS Department of Entomology and Nematology explains how to “bee-proof” your house and yard and develop a bee safety plan as well as what you can do if you encounter a swarm or a colony of bees and how to treat a bee sting.
Learn how to swim safely and avoid this itchy skin rash in this 3-page document written by Emma N. I. Weeks and Katherine Sayler and published by the UF/IFAS Department of Entomology and Nematology.
Nematodes, non-segmented roundworms, can cause serious yield suppression in peanut production. This 10-page fact sheet written by Zane J. Grabau and Donald W. Dickson and published by the UF/IFAS Department of Entomology and Nematology explains how to recognize a potential nematode problem in a peanut production, confirm it with an expert, and choose the best management tools to control the problem.
In Florida, palms are an economically important group of trees in the nursery and landscaping industries. Phytoplasma diseases of palms are a major concern because they infect a wide variety of these valuable ornamental palms, and they are lethal. Once symptoms appear, trees begin to decline, frequently rapidly, and can die in as few as 3 to 5 months. This 4-page fact sheet written by Brian W. Bahder and Ericka E. Helmick and published by the UF/IFAS Department of Entomology and Nematology describes how to sample palms for disease and how to submit samples to the Vector Entomology Lab. Includes a table listing equipment and supplies and protocol for sampling palm trunk tissue.
Foliar or bud nematodes are little-known nematodes that caused “crimp disease” in Florida strawberries in the early 1900s. Recently, these foliar nematodes have been observed again in the state, and seem to have come in with transplants from outside Florida. Foliar/bud nematodes can devastate a crop of strawberries. Plants become stunted with curled up leaves, and produce few or no flowers or fruits. This 7-page fact sheet written by J. Desaeger and J. Noling and published by the UF/IFAS Department of Entomology and Nematology provides much-needed information on these little-understood pests, summarizing the different types of foliar nematodes, their biology, life cycle, damage symptoms, survival strategies, dissemination, and management options.
A foundation of integrated pest management (IPM) in urban landscapes is to put the right plant in the right place. This preventive tactic can reduce plant stress, pest infestations, and subsequent pesticide applications. Many urban tree species have more insect and mite pests in urban landscapes than in surrounding natural areas. This is due in part to stress created by impervious surfaces like roads and sidewalks that make the air hot and the soil dry. For red maples (Acer rubrum), more impervious surface area adds stress and worsens tree condition. This 4-page publication written by Adam G. Dale, Steven D. Frank, Elsa Youngsteadt, Barbara Fair, Julieta Sherk, and Michael Just and published by the UF/IFAS Department of Entomology and Nematology focuses on selecting red maple planting sites that will help reduce tree stress and scale insect pests by maximizing surfaces permeable to water.
The establishment of native wildflower plantings in Florida can benefit agricultural producers as well as native pollinators and other beneficial insects. Wildflowers provide forage and nesting sites for bees, butterflies, and other pollinators, increasing wild bee numbers across the farm, and increasing natural enemies of insect pests. This 6-page fact sheet written by Mary C. Bammer, Josh Campbell, Chase B. Kimmel, James D. Ellis, and Jaret Daniels and published by the UF/IFAS Department of Entomology and Nematology discusses choosing the right mix of native plant species to benefit many pollinator species, as well as proper site selection, planting practices, and weed control techniques. Wildflower plots are practical to manage, maximize benefits to wildlife, and fit well into overall agricultural operation management practices.
The rice water weevil, Lissorhoptrus oryzophilus Kuschel, is the most widely distributed and destructive pest of rice in the United States. This 4-page fact sheet written by Matthew T. VanWeelden and Ron Cherry and published by the Department of Entomology and Nematology provides a description of the rice water weevil, its distribution in the state of Florida, methodology for scouting, and options for managing this pest in commercial rice fields.
Silverleaf whitefly is one of the most notorious invasive arthropods worldwide. It feeds on more than 900 plant species and vectors over 100 plant-damaging viruses. This 10-page fact sheet written by Vivek Kumar, Cristi Palmer, Cindy L. McKenzie, and Lance Osborne and published by the Department of Entomology and Nematology provides management recommendations, strategies for detection and scouting, and advice about control measures for this pernicious pest.
Plant-parasitic nematodes are among the least understood and most difficult pests to manage on turfgrass in Florida. They are very small, and most can only be seen with the aid of a microscope. They use a stylet to puncture plant cells, to inject digestive juices into them, and to ingest plant fluids. The most reliable way to determine whether plant-parasitic nematodes are involved in a turf problem is to have a nematode assay conducted by a professional nematode diagnostic lab. This 6-page fact sheet was written by William T. Crow, and published by the UF Department of Entomology and Nematology.
Turfgrasses are essential components of many athletic fields, racetracks, and parks. Plant-parasitic nematodes can damage athletic fields by weakening turf root systems and causing turf to pull up during play, which can create dangerous conditions for players. To help keep turf–and athletes–healthy, this 7-page fact sheet written by William T. Crow and published by the Department of Entomology and Nematology explains how to spot and manage a nematode problem in an athletic field.
This 8-page fact sheet written by Zane J. Grabau and Christopher Vann and published by the Department of Entomology and Nematology explains how corn producers can spot nematode symptoms, sample for nematodes, and manage nematode problems.
A plant disease called Olive Quick Decline is killing olive trees throughout southern Italy. Although the pathogen that causes the disease is not known in Florida, it may spread to the state, which means that olive producers and homeowners with olives must watch for symptoms of the disease as well as for the leafhopper insects that spread it. This 3-page fact sheet written by Whitney Elmore and Jennifer L. Gillett-Kaufman and published by the Department of Entomology and Nematology explains how to monitor for the disease and its insect vectors and offers advice and assistance for commercial and hobby olive growers.
This 8-page fact sheet written by Zane J. Grabau and published in January 2017 by the UF Department of Entomology and Nematology explains how to diagnose and manage nematode problems in cotton production.
This 8-page fact sheet written by Zane J. Grabau and published by the UF Department of Entomology and Nematology in January 2017 explains how to identify and manage a nematode issue in a soybean operation.