Roots, Shoots, Fruits & Flowers: Blueberry Blues, Old Plainsman, and Hammerhead Worm


The pale, small berries have mummy berry disease. Photo: Washington State University Extension.


A mature leaf-footed bug on blueberries. Photo: Wendy Rogers.


These orange & black insects are the juvenile form of the leaf-footed bug. Photo: Wendy Rogers.

Blueberry Blues

Wendy sent an email asking about a couple of concerns affecting her blueberries, “I’m having some issues with my blueberries. Do you know what fungicide is recommended for mummy berry during harvest? Also, what insecticide is recommended? Here are pics of the insects I am dealing with.

The Alabama Cooperative Extension Service notes that a fungal infection causes mummy berry disease during prolonged wet, cool weather. Not only will this fungus infect fruit, but it will also infect shoots and flowers. Spores are spread via wind and rain. If mummy berry is detected in an orchard, try to remove, or destroy infected fruit at the end of the harvest season. Infected stems turn brown-to-black and infected foliage wilts and turns brown.

According to the Plant Disease Management Guide from the LSU AgCenter, Captan fungicides can treat mummy berry:

  • Bonide Captan 50WP™
  • Hi-Yield Captan 50 W Fungicide™
  • SA 50 Home and Garden Captan Fungicide™

Here are some other products labeled for treating mummy berry:

  • Bonide Fung-onil Multi-purpose Fungicide™
  • Ferti-Lome Broad Spectrum Landscape and Garden Fungicide™
  • Garden Tech Daconil Fungicide™
  • Gordons Multi-purpose Fungicide™
  • Hi-Yield Vegetable, Flower, Fruit and Ornamental Fungicide™
  • Ortho Max Garden Disease Control Concentrate™

The insect in the top image is a mature leaf-footed bug (LFB) while the orange and black insects in the lower image are juvenile LFBs. LFB cause damage to fruits like stinkbugs. Malathion ™ or Sevin™ are recommended to treat infested blueberries. As always, read the label of each pesticide for safe and effective results.


Old plainsman is a native wildflower of Louisiana. Photo: Mary Maddox.

Old Plainsman

Mary wanted to identify a plant and wrote, “My husband found this plant growing on our ditch bank. Neither of us nor friends we know that are knowledgeable about plants could identify it. We were wondering if you could identify it for us. Thank you for your help!”

Mary has a native wildflower called “old plainsman” or “woolly-white”. According to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, this wildflower blooms in April, May, and June. Not only does it have ornamental value, but it is aromatic. Butterflies regularly visit this plant for its nectar. For gardeners, this plant can be propagated by sowing seed or transplanting rosettes in late fall.


A hammerhead worm discovered by a homeowner. Photo: Kendall Kinchen, Denham Springs, LA.

Hammerhead Worm

Kendall of Denham Springs asked about an unusual finding at his home, “My question is do Hammerhead worm sightings need to be reported to [LA Department of Wildlife & Fisheries]? I found one today at my home in Denham Springs Louisiana. Thanks!”

First, Kendall is correct in wanting to report this pest. The state agency for reporting is the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF), and the toll-free number to report a sighting of the hammerhead worm is 1.866.927.2476.

Hammerhead worms come from Asia and are predators of earthworms, an important part of having healthy soils. Another concern about hammerhead worms is the neurotoxin they exude. An example of a neurotoxin would be the venom from a black widow spider. Avoid handling this worm with bare hands and use table salt to kill this worm.

Finally, avoid cutting this pest into pieces because they reproduce by fragmenting.

If you want to contact Roots, Shoots, Fruits and Flowers, please send your questions and pictures to Keith Hawkins, Area Horticulture Agent (AHA), 337-463-7006 or Also, you can be on the “green thumbs” email list by emailing your request to the address above.

“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.”

6/2/2021 5:22:09 PM
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