Prevent and protect to avoid sooty mess with bugs
Lace bugs, aphids, white flies, borers, chinch bugs and scale are all insects that are better to prevent or protect your plant from before the insects attack.
Lace bugs, aphids, white flies and scale attack ornamental plants and trees and generally suck the sap out of the plants leaves for the sugar and nutrient value. The insect does not have to suck, like we do with a thick milk shake, because the plant’s system is pressurized and the plant juices come out on their own like air out of a tire.
Lace bugs, aphids, white flies and scale are very host specific (like the taste of certain plants). There are many types of lace bugs. Some of their favorite plants and trees include sycamores, azaleas, lantanas and oak trees. Aphids love crepe myrtles and roses. White flies attack gardenias and citrus. Scale is common on camellias, magnolias, sago palms and hollies.
Lace bugs, aphids, white flies and scale suck vital fluids from the plant, but the worst consequence is the sooty mold that grows on some of these insect’s excrement (poop). These insects have a very small digestive tract and a lot of the plants fluid passes through them undigested and a mold call sooty mold grows on the poop. This black sooty mold gets all over whatever is around the plant.
The sooty mold from a tree like a crepe myrtle could get on under-lying plants, porches, houses, cars, driveways, swing sets and anything else in the area as well as the crepe myrtle itself making a huge mess and ruining paint jobs.
The sooty mold blocks light that is trying to get to the leaves to perform photosynthesis. A plant feeds itself by getting sunlight to the leaves, so the plant can starve to death or certainly be weakened if the sooty mold is covering the plant.
Lace bugs, aphids, white flies, and scale poop, also called honey dew (not to be confused with “ honey do list”), also attracts small, sugar feeding ants (Argentina ants) that can get in your house and be a problem.
You probably know if you have a history with these sucking bugs, so you can target certain plants. Dominion has many formulations to meet your needs (even Dominion Fruit & Vegetable for your citrus). The best way to use this product is as a drench; therefore, no beneficial insects are harmed. The product will usually provide season long control of these different pests if used as a systemic drench. The active ingredient is in a class of chemistry that acts on something insects have and use and mammals do not. This same active ingredient is used as a spot treatment on dogs for fleas and other pests. Neem oil and IC3 are organic solutions to these sucking bugs.
Prevention and protection will avoid a sooty, poopy mess.
Always read, understand and follow product label. The product label is a federal law.
Bill Lamson-Scribner can be reached during the week at Possum’s Landscape and Pest Control Supply. Possum’s has three locations including one at 481 Long Point Rd. Bring your questions to a Possum’s location, or visit us at http://www.possumsupply.com. You can also call in your questions to “The Garden Clinic,” Saturdays from noon to 1 p.m. on 1250 WTMA. The Horticulture Hotline is available 24 / 7 at possumsupply.com.