Roots, Shoots, Fruits & Flowers: Long-Horned Bee, Aphid Trap, and Buckeye Rot

Bee on a flower.

A male long-horned bee on a blanket flower. Photo: Dr. Christof Stumpf, LSU/A

Long-Horned Bee

Dr. Christof Stumpf, a biology professor at LSU at Alexandria, sent in an artistic image of a pollinator in his landscape, “Here is another beauty from my garden on Gaillardia [or blanket flower] . I think that the plant may be a hybrid. It is commercially available and is native… The bee is Melissodes communis, a male common long-horned bee. Only in honeybees can the drones not feed themselves, but all males do it in solitary species.”

The blanket flower is a native plant and became a Louisiana Super Plant in 2014. The blanket flower is drought resistance and produces reliable color throughout the growing season. It is also a good pollinator plant for gardeners who want to improve their landscape for our native pollinators.

The long-horned bee is a native, ground nesting bee. It is an important economic pollinator for sunflowers, squash, and melons in Texas. It is also a desirable pollinator for both garden flowers and wildflowers. Dr. Stumpf is concerned about native ground nesting bees because fire ants will predate the nests of these native pollinators.

Insect trap in a garden.

Aphid trap at a trial garden in Baton Rouge. Photo: Janell Newton, Master Gardener, Dry Prong, LA.

Aphid Trap

Janell Newton, a Master Gardener, sent this email with a photo, “My daughter Lindsey and I went to [LSU AgCenter’s] Burden Gardens [in Baton Rouge] to spend some time. Near the sunflower fields we found the containers in the photo. [It] looked like something targeting some type of beetle maybe? Do you know what these are? We laughed because at a distance I told her….they look like a slice of cheese in a Tupperware™ dish….lol.”

Dr. Jeff Davis, a crop entomologist, described the device in the vegetable trial garden, “The ‘slice of cheese’ (which I like by the way), is for aphid trapping. The pan traps catch aphids that are landing in fields. We identify species and test if they have any plant viruses that they may transmit.” Dr. Davis’s note is instructive because the AgCenter is being proactive in addressing potential issues with both insect pests and plant diseases.

A tomato with a disease.

A tomato with buckeye disease. Photo: Mr. Webster, Allen Parish.

Buckeye Rot

Mr. Webster found an infected tomato and described it to AHA who thought the tomato had “blossom end rot” However, Mr. Webster texted an image which was much more diagnostic than a phone call.Dr. Raj Singh, the AgCenter’s “Plant Doctor” positively identified that this tomato has “buckeye rot.” According to a page on the AgCenter website, “a soil-borne fungal-like microorganism causes Buckeye rot of tomatoes. During rain or sprinkler irrigation, water splashes the pathogen onto the low fruit, and the infection starts.

Later, the green fruit starts to rot, and lesions that look like buckeyes appear on the fruit. Fruits closer to ground are the first to be infected.”

To prevent buckeye rot, applying mulches will prevent raindrops from splashing infected soil to the lower tomatoes on a vine.

If you want to contact Roots, Shoots, Fruits, and Flowers, please send your questions and pictures to Keith Hawkins, Area Horticulture Agent (AHA), 337.284.5188 or

“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.”

5/31/2023 9:13:15 PM
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