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Horticulture and Home Pest News
Horticulture & Home Pest News is filled with articles on current horticulture, plant care, pest management, and common household pests written by Iowa State University Extension specialists in the Departments of Entomology, Horticulture and Plant Pathology.

Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic Update - October 17, 2012

This article was published originally on 10/17/2012

The following are highlights and updates about samples and questions recently received in the Plant & Insect Diagnostic Clinic.  Visit the PIDC’s facebook page to ask questions and for updates and more pictures.
 
Insects
 
Fall brings the usual assortment of accidental invaders (multicolored Asian lady beetles, boxelder bugs, and pine seed bugs) to the sunny side of homes.  These insects are not trying to get indoors where it is warm, they are just responding to their own cues about winter and the need to find a sheltered spot.  Indoors is actually a bad place for them because our homes are too warm, dry and have no food.  These insects need a place that is cold enough to prevent activity all winter and where they wont dry out.
 
Diseases
 
As the season winds down we have seen less and less samples coming through the clinic.
 
We have received some evergreens (especially arborvitae and white pine) losing their inner needles. This is normal and it is called seasonal needle loss. A couple more BOB samples have come through but with trees losing all their leaves, we don’t expect many more coming in.
 
With the harvest of fall crops we are starting to see some storage problems. We have received cabbage samples with some internal rotting and gray mold, onions with neck rot, and we have heard of garlic bulbs with waxy breakdown; a physiological condition associated with high temperatures during growth period and/or harvest. In order to avoid storage problems, make sure onions and garlic are well-cured before storage. Do not store any produce that might have been bruised or injured during harvest or that suffered from frost damage. For long term storage, it is also important to keep produce at low temperatures and dry conditions (70-75% humidity).