Question: These things are in my vegetable garden and are killing my tomatoes and now peppers. What can I do to get rid of these? They are in the soil. I have been digging them up where I added horse manure and leaves to my garden.
Answer: The larvae in your photos look a lot like dung beetle larvae, very beneficial insects. You mentioned using horse manure in your garden and they may have come in with the manure. These larvae won’t harm your plants. The adults also are harmless and don’t damage plants. You may see a few of them later.
Dung beetles are common insects in almost every climate worldwide. Just like their name suggests, both larvae and adults do us a big favor by feeding on dung, animal droppings. We don’t often notice them, but they’re important decomposers. Some collect dung, some bury dung, and some species actually live in the dung. Dung beetles prefer dung from herbivores because there is so much undigested plant material in the dung for them to eat, but they also will feed on dung from omnivores, which has some undigested plant material.
For the problems with your tomatoes and peppers you’ll need to look for other causes because the dung beetles are innocent.
Question: I was looking at my peach tree and I noticed these little white egg-looking things hanging on the underside of a leaf. Can you tell me what they are and if I should treat them with something?
Answer: What luck! These are green lacewing eggs.
Lacewing larvae, sometimes called Aphidlions, are important and efficient predators of aphids; a single larva can eat more than 20 aphids per day. They’ll also prey on other small soft-bodied insects like thrips and mites and also eat insect eggs. Female lacewings lay their eggs where there is food available for the larvae so there are probably some aphids on your tree.
Green lacewing eggs are usually laid singly or in small groups, but occasionally you’ll find a large group of lacewing eggs like you did. Each egg is at the top of a slender stalk to protect it from predators and hungry siblings who’ve just hatched and are looking for their first meal.
You’ve probably seen an adult green lacewing resting on a window screen or even on an interior wall near a door. Their slender bodies are light green with very delicate-looking, lacy wings. If you’ve seen a green lacewing adult you may have noticed their unusual gold-colored eyes.
Unlike their parents, the larvae of green lacewings are brown and white, with fearsome-looking mouth parts. Their sharp, hollow mandibles are large, curved and perfectly adapted for grabbing and hanging onto their prey.
Tuck that leaf back into your tree somewhere, avoid using pesticides and let them go to work for you.
Question: My lawn doesn’t look very good. Should I fertilize now to help it green up?
Answer: The basic rule for taking care of a drought-stressed or heat-stressed lawn is Don’t Fertilize. The cool-season grasses we use in our lawns look their best and do their best growing during the cooler conditions of spring and fall. Summer is the time when your lawn should rest and wait out the heat.
This summer has been especially stressful for our lawns; watering is restricted in many cities and lawns throughout Utah County have been enduring extreme heat. We shouldn’t add to lawn stress by pushing unhealthy growth with unneeded fertilizer.
Different lawns need different fertilizer schedules, depending on how a lawn is used, but no matter what schedule you’re used to following, the most useful fertilizer application is one that’s done in mid-to-late fall. Your lawn will be just fine this year if you wait until then.