Red paper wasp, a native insect of Louisiana. Photo: insectidentifcation.org.
Mike sent an urgent email, “[I] Have many wasps around my house. They are behind the fascia board. I have tried to spray the ones on the outside. I have put up wasp traps. They STILL keep coming! WHAT CAN I DO?!”
AHA replied by email with advice like that of the Cooperative Extension of the University of New Hampshire, “Treat at night when most all the workers will be in the nest, and inactive. To see, use a flashlight with a red filter over the bulb.
Wasps cannot see red light well. At least two hours after dark, quietly and carefully approach the colony and thoroughly spray into the entrance. Do not give a quick shot; spray for several seconds to make sure the spray penetrates deep into the nest. After spraying, do not linger nearby. Walk away immediately and stay away for a full day.”
Louisiana wildflowers. Photo: Urban Farmer Seeds.
Susan wanted direction to pursue a new business idea, “ Who would I talk to about becoming a flower seed producer/seller?”
The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) regulates horticultural enterprises in Louisiana and would be a good starting point. LDAF has a toll-free number, 1.866.927.2476, and can make referrals to its local offices throughout the State. According to its website, LDAF “inspects, surveys and provides for the prevention, control and eradication of regulated and exotic crop pests or diseases endangering Louisiana’s agricultural, horticultural, and apiary industries; ensures that products certified for export are in fact free from pests; and oversees the qualifications and practices of persons engaged in the green industry.”
A 'Drake' elm with a large wound. Photo: Ben Hartman, Baton Rouge.
Ben had a question regarding a prized shade trees in his yard, “I have two Drake Elm (I think) trees in my backyard here... In the spring, one started to leaf out nicely, and the other one delayed a few weeks. I noticed on the bottom section of the [smaller] tree that, aside from the marred bark (lawn service hit the tree last spring), there is a shedding of bark and white material underneath.
I have heard that elm trees can be at higher risk of disease and premature death than other local trees.
I wonder, is something wrong with the smaller one or if this is normal for the bark? Also, if the smaller one is sick, whether the disease (or whatever it is) might spread to the other tree? Could you ponder and let me know how to best care for my two elm trees? We do enjoy having them in our back yard. “
AHA responded, “You have the ‘Drake’ cultivar of the Chinese elm. Sometimes, this tree is called a lacebark elm. The native elms tend to have problems with Dutch elm disease, but the Chinese elm tends to be low maintenance regarding insects and diseases. However, after Laura, I witnessed how easily they blew over in heavy winds. These trees can exfoliate bark, and some Drakes exfoliate more or less than other Drakes. Exfoliation is normal for certain tree species.
Attached is an image about two items of concern. In the red circle, I think there is white wood-decaying fungi, but I am unsure. The yellow circle is meant to indicate a very large old wound. I suspect this small tree may be susceptible to internal decay in this wound. At this point, there is little that can be done to help this tree except to keep it healthy with fertilization and irrigation during dry spells. Also, consider using a fungicidal soil drench to slow the fungal infection.”
Wild carrot or Queen Anne's Lace. Photo: Chaery Knight, DeRidder.
Chaery sent a clear image and an email asking, “So is this a wild carrot, cow Parsley or [what]?”
Chaery’s first guestimate of “wild carrot” is correct. This introduced wildflower is also called “Queen Anne’s Lace” or QAL, a predecessor of the modern cultivated carrot. The US Forest Service describes the ecological impacts of QAL, “Queen Ann’s lace invades open waste ground, competing for resources with native grasses and forbs. It can be a threat to recovering grasslands and prairies where it occurs because it matures faster and grows larger than many native species. It tends to appear after prescribed burning, however, it may decline as native grasses and herbaceous plants become established. Plant leaves cause skin irritation in some people and cause cows to produce off-tasting milk after eating large quantities.”
“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.”