Roots, Shoots, Fruits & Flowers: Nasty Stickbug, Fig Planting, Herbal Products, and Cicada Killer Wasp

Two stickbugs.

A mating pair of the southern two-striped stickbug. Photo:

Nasty Stickbug

Armando, a Master Gardener, complained to AHA of a recent experience with a stickbug, and he described how it sprayed his eye to cause swelling like a bee sting. He said it was a striped stickbug."Insect Identification" website provides some insights into what happened to Armando’s eye, “In addition to its savvy camouflage, this species of walkingstick also uses a milky chemical spray to defend itself when threatened. It is smelly, and noxious enough to irritate even humans. If a person is hit in the eyes with this secretion, temporary blindness could result.” This insect is an herbivore and feeds on the leaves of plants. If you encounter it, leave it alone to avoid its irritating spray.

Potted fig tree.

A new fig tree ready for planting. Photo: Brooke LaFargue, LSU AgCenter

Fig Planting

Brooke sent an email asking, “Hey yesterday I bought a decent size fig tree at the Oberlin farmer’s market. I have a few questions:

  • When should I plant it in the ground?
  • How often should I water it?
  • Should I plant it in a certain area of my yard?”

Here are the responses to help Brooke with her tree planting:

  • Plant from November to February
  • Water 1 inch per week. If a sprinkler is used, then set up a rain gauge to measure the amount of water. One inch of rain is the equivalent of six gallons of water per week in one square yard or a three foot by three-foot space.
  • Plant on the south side of a structure to give it some protection from cold temperatures. During the winter, a building will collect solar heat during the day and then radiate that warmth back to the during the night.

Cover of an herb gardening in Louisiana book.

Herb Gardening in Louisiana from the LSU AgCenter.

Herbal Products

Angie wanted to know if it is legal to sell home-made herbal products at local farmer’s markets. She saw a post online that said that doing so would be illegal, but she was unsure about this post, so she called the AgCenter.

AHA found Louisiana State Law, RS 37:1742.1, and the answer to Angie’s question is “yes” if she discloses this information:

(1) The name, business, and telephone number of the vendor.

(2) The fact that he or she is not licensed, certified, or registered as a health care provider in the state of Louisiana.

(3) That any food or dietary supplements being recommended are not medically prescribed drugs.

(4) If applicable, the degree or degrees, training, or credentials of the vendor regarding services provided.

A large wasp.

The face of a cicada killer wasp. Photo: Robert Friday, Elizabeth High School.

Cicada Killer Wasp

AHA received an email of concern, “My name is Robert…. I am an Agri-science teacher at Elizabeth High school in Allen parish. Could you please Identify this hornet? There is a concern by one of our teachers that it is a Murder hornet.

Thank you!”

Robert’s teacher discovered a native cicada killer wasp. Bentley Fitzpatrick, an Extension Agent with the LSU AgCenter, writes about the cicada killer, “The eastern cicada killer wasp, Sphecius speciosus, is a large, solitary digger wasp that typically appears in Louisiana mid to late July. It is a beneficial insect that is a predator of cicadas, which it stings and stuns to store in her burrow to feed her larvae.”

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.”

9/26/2023 2:59:12 PM
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