Thursday, April 29, 2010

Ground or Digger Bees Attack Lawns

The first sign of ground or digger bees in lawns may be strange little mounds of soil with a hole nearby. The ground bees will be flying over this area. Ground bees are solitary bees that dig and nest in the ground. These bees live one per hole but there may be many holes in an area creating ground bee communities. There are many types of ground bees that vary in color and range from one-half to three-quarter inch in length. Some types of solitary wasps live like this as well.

Female ground bees dig nests in the ground up to six or so inches deep in which to raise young. The bees pile earth around the sides of the hole. These bees can be very active in March and April. The female ground bee stocks the nest with pollen and nectar to feed the young bees. Some solitary wasps stock their nests with insects.

Ground bees typically cause little problem. The digging should not be enough to damage the lawn. The bees are not very aggressive and probably will not sting. You should be able to work and mow grass around them with few problems. People that are allergic to bee stings may want to be cautious when working around the bees.

We do not recommend chemical controls for ground bees or wasps. These bees can be beneficial - serving to pollinate plants or destroy harmful insects. They will probably only be around for four to six weeks and then disappear until next year.

If you must control them, use cultural controls.

* Ground bees like dry soils. Water the soil when bees first become active. Apply one inch of water once a week if it does not rain.
* Ground bees nest in dry areas where the grass is thin. Find and correct the problems making the turf thin. This may involve soil sampling, irrigation, soil aeration or other practices.
* Find ways to thicken the turf in these areas to reduce ground bee problems. Know the needs of the turf grass and meet them!
* In areas that will not grow grass, mulch the area.

If you must use a pesticide, watch during the day to see where the holes are located. After dark, dust these areas with carbaryl (sold under the name Sevin and other names) dust. A dust insecticide should cling to the bee’s body better than a spray. Keep people and pets out of the area while it is being treated.

The bees are not generally harmful and pesticides are toxic. The cure may be worse than the problem. Try to put up with the bees if you can. These bees may be difficult to control and may return year to year. If you have ongoing problems with them, follow all recommendations very carefully. See this site where I found much of this information

There is one large caution in connection with ground bees and wasps. Ground bees are not aggressive but can look like other bees and wasps that are very aggressive and harmful. Make absolutely certain that you are not dealing with a yellow jacket or bumble bee nest. Both of these insects can literally cover you with stings very quickly. They can also have extremely large nests in Georgia. If you ever get into trouble with these, run until you escape them. Running inside may help. Do not stop to swat, roll on the ground, etc.

Before you begin control of any stinging insect, make certain of your pest. This or other websites can help you identify the lawn invader

One difference between ground bees and other bees or wasps is that ground bees live by themselves and make many holes in the ground. Yellow jackets and bumble bees have many insects per hole. Use the following from Dr. Will Hudson, UGA Entomologist, as a guide for identification.

Many holes with one 1 bee per hole = solitary bees (like ground bees) that sting only as a last resort.

One hole, many bees = social bees (like yellow jackets and bumble bees). Keep away! These are non-reproductive workers that will sacrifice themselves in defense of the nest.

For insects other than ground bees, you may want to hire a pest control company or a wildlife removal company. They should have the training and equipment to do the job properly.

For more information:

Call your local Extension Agent at (800) ASK-UGA1 or locate your local Extension Office at

Friday, April 23, 2010

Insect Management Calendar for April

The following are insect pests that you might expect to see during April in Georgia. Become familiar with them so you will be able to recognize them in landscapes you visit.

We have included links to more information for many of these insect pests. Click on the insect names to find online resources that can help you to identify and manage these pests.

We have added notes after the name of the insects to explain what you should be doing for each insect: Treat with insecticide (if necessary) or Scouting or watching for the insects.


Aphids – Treat with insecticide if necessary

Azalea lace bug – Treat with insecticide if necessary

Azalea leaf miner– Treat with insecticide if necessary

Boxwood leaf miner – Treat with insecticide if necessary

Citrus whitefly (gardenia and other plants) – Treat with insecticide if necessary

Leaf feeding beetles on coreopsis, primrose and crapemyrtle – Treat with insecticide if necessary

Holly leafminer – Treat with insecticide if necessary

Tea scale and other armored scales – Treat with insecticide if necessary


Asian ambrosia beetle – Treat with insecticide if necessary

Bagworms – Treat with insecticide if necessary

Borers on maple – Treat with insecticide if necessary

Cottony maple scale – Treat with insecticide if necessary

Dogwood borer – Treat with insecticide if necessary

Insect galls on oaks and maple – Treat with insecticide if necessary

Lecanium scale on oak – Treat with insecticide if necessary

Spruce spider mite – Treat with insecticide if necessary


Mole crickets – Scout for this insect to determine if treatment will be needed later.

White Grubs – Scout for this insect to determine if treatment will be needed later.

For more information: Contact our office or visit our website -

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Management and Use of Bahiagrass

Bahiagrass (Paspalum notatum Flugge) is a long-lived, perennial warm season grass that is grown extensively in the southeastern United States (Figure 1). It is most commonly used as a pasture species, but can be used for hay production, erosion control, and wildlife habitat. Bahiagrass can also be used in "sod-based rotation" sequences that have been found to suppress pest problems (nematode and disease issues) in crops such as peanuts.

Bahiagrass is a deep-rooted, sod-forming species that is well adapted to a wide range of soils and conditions in this region. It spreads by short, stout stolons and is a prolific seed producing plant. Bahiagrass will grow on soils too poorly drained for bermudagrass, is more shade tolerant than bermudagrass, and can be used in woodland pastures (silvopasture).

For more info visit this

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Pomegranates (Punica granatum) are dense, bushy shrubs 6 to 12 feet tall with thorny, slender branches that may be trained into small trees. Orange-red flowers appear on new growth in the spring and summer and are bell-shaped and vase-shaped. The vase-shaped flowers are normally sterile, so they will not develop into fruit. Pomegranates generally fruit poorly in Georgia. The fruit contains numerous seeds surrounded by sweet pink, juicy, subacid pulp covered with leathery-brown to red, bitter skin, which is easily peeled. Pomegranate juice stains can be difficult to remove from clothing.

Pomegranates may be damaged by unseasonably low temperatures in the fall, winter or spring and in mid-winter by temperatures below 10 degrees F.

Pomegranates can tolerate many soil types and some flooding. Pomegranates grow best on a deep, fairly heavy, moist soil at a pH range of 5.5 to 7.0. Proper watering is important in growing pomegranates because adequate soil moisture is necessary to control fruit splitting and reduce fruit drop. Fertilize young pomegranates with 1 pound of 10-10-10 in March and July. Increase the rate as the plants grow until the mature tree is receiving 3 pounds of 10-10-10 in March and July.

Most growers prefer to train pomegranates into a multiple-trunk system. Select five or six vigorous suckers and allow them to grow. Pomegranates require some pruning each year, and unneeded vigorous shoots should be removed. The short spurs on two- or three-year-old wood growing mostly on the outer edge of the tree produce flowers. Light annual pruning encourages growth of new fruit spurs. Heavy pruning reduces yield, so be careful to leave adequate fruit-bearing wood on the tree while removing branches that may cross over or interfere with growth.

Hardwood cuttings are usually used for propagation. Cuttings 8 to 10 inches long of wood ¼ to ½ inch in diameter are cut in winter from the previous season's growth and planted with 2 to 3 inches of the top exposed.

Several varieties are available, including 'Belgal,' 'Granada' and 'Early Foothill' (early ripening), 'Ruby Red,' 'Sweet Spanish Papershell' and 'Wonderful.' How-ever, most of these varieties only set a few fruit each year in Georgia. In north Florida, 'Belgal' has been more productive than other varieties and usually produces about 10 fruit per year. There are many door-yard trees of unknown varieties around old home places and plantations that set good crops of fruit most years. These can be propagated by hardwood cuttings.

Pomegranate leaf blotch or fruit spot are occasion-ally problems.

New food business workshop set

Have you always wanted to market a family heirloom recipe or a new creation from your own kitchen? If so, a one-day workshop at the University of Georgia may teach you how to make your culinary dreams come true. The Starting a New Food Business in Georgia workshop is set for April 27 in Athens, Ga.

Click on the link below for more info:

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Water Quality Information

We have several good publications on water quality and well water information.
Visit our website -, then choose "family and consumer science" on the left hand navigation and scroll down to choose "Water, Energy, Waste" under Publications.

We also do water tests if you are interested in testing you water for minerals, metals, etc. Cost vary, and you will need to bring in a sample in a clean one gallon screw top plastic bottle. I would recommend you obtain a one gallon plastic water jug from your local store, use the water in it, then place the water you need tested in this clean jug.

Samples take 5 to 7 business days on average to obtain the results. You can drop off water samples at our office along with your payment.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Deep South Stocker Conference

Deep South Stocker Conference coming in Aug 12 and 13, 2010.
Contact Lawton Stewart (706-542-1852; for more info.