Roots, Shoots, Fruits & Flowers: Excessive Spittlebugs, Smooth Chanterelles, More Millipedes & Texas Leaf-cutting Ants

Dr. Ron Strahan, a turf specialist with the LSU AgCenter, recently sent out an email regarding a heavy infestation of a lawn pest, “I looked at Centipedegrass lawns that were heavily infested with two-lined spittlebugs [May 28th] with Will Afton [Area Horticulture Agent] in St. Tammany Parish. I have never seen spittlebug populations this high, enough to damage lawns.“

Dr. Strahan added, “The insects suck plant juices from Centipedegrass, their preferred grass species. The damage caused by nymphs and adult spittlebugs can be confused with drought symptoms. Adults do more damage than nymphs. The spittlebugs are causing enough damage to warrant treatment with an insecticide. Several common insecticides such as carbaryl [Sevin™] and bifenthrin are effective in treating spittlebugs.”

Lea shared a well-composed image of a mushroom and offered a possible identification. Lea thinks this mushroom is a smooth chanterelle, an edible fungus. She had contacted the Gulf State Mycological Society (GSMS) and purchased Mushrooms of the Gulf Coast States, A Field Guide to Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida by Alan E. Bessette, Arleen F. Bessette, and David P. Lewis to help her identify mushrooms.

Josephine shared a concerned email about a young live oak, “Here are the pictures of the tree and worms. Please let me know what you suggest.”

AHA consulted with Wood Johnson, an insect specialist with the US Forest Service, about these millipedes on the oak tree, and he responded, “I’d agree they appear to be millipedes. I guess they are up and out of the extremely wet ground and are attracted to the wound on the oak tree, since most feed on organic matter. Once it dries out some, I think they will be back in the humus, etc. and out of sight.”

Catherine’s frustration with a pest is clear in her email, “Do you have any direction for getting control of my property back from these [town ants]? Oh My!”

We have had them farther away from our home on our property and just tried different [treatments], but over the last few weeks some serious growth [of the town ant colony] has been happening closer and closer to our house. Do you have any recommendations?”

These ants clip leaves to grow a fungal crop underground to feed the colony. They can defoliate large trees and weaken roadbeds and home foundations. The AgCenter publishes the Louisiana Insect Pest Management Guide which reports these treatments for town ants:

  • Amdro Ant Block™; a dry bait formulation.
  • PTM™; a liquid treatment applied directly to the colony’s exit holes.

As always, follow the label instruction for safe and effective treatment.

“Before you buy or use an insecticide product, first read the label, and strictly follow label recommendations. Mention of trade names or commercial products in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute endorsement by Louisiana State University AgCenter.”

“This work has been supported, in part, by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Renewable Resources Extension Act Award, Accession Number 1011417.”





6/21/2021 7:24:02 PM
Rate This Article:

Have a question or comment about the information on this page?

Innovate . Educate . Improve Lives

The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture