Thursday, December 23, 2010

New Soil Fumigant Toolbox

PA has created a new virtual toolbox for information on soil fumigation, which is available at The soil fumigants toolbox provides easy access to a variety of soil fumigant training, outreach, and other resource materials for applicators and handlers, communities, state and local agencies, and others interested in understanding and implementing the current requirements for safe use of soil fumigants. Key features include safety brochures for handlers of soil fumigants, training modules on the new soil fumigant requirements, templates for soil fumigant management plans, and updated fact sheets on the soil fumigant mitigation measures and implementation schedule. New materials will be added to the toolbox as they become available during 2011.

New Soil Fumigant Toolbox

PA has created a new virtual toolbox for information on soil fumigation, which is available at The soil fumigants toolbox provides easy access to a variety of soil fumigant training, outreach, and other resource materials for applicators and handlers, communities, state and local agencies, and others interested in understanding and implementing the current requirements for safe use of soil fumigants. Key features include safety brochures for handlers of soil fumigants, training modules on the new soil fumigant requirements, templates for soil fumigant management plans, and updated fact sheets on the soil fumigant mitigation measures and implementation schedule. New materials will be added to the toolbox as they become available during 2011.

Friday, December 17, 2010

USDA - Colony Collapse Disorder Progress Report

The United States Department of Agriculture released its report on the current status of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). This report is a collaborative effort of scientists from 8 Federal agencies, 2 state departments of agriculture, 22 universities, and several private research efforts. NC State University is one of the universities involved in this research project. Beekeepers and others concerned with honeybees and native pollinators will find this report interesting.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

1917 Caldwell County Soil Survey

I want to share a fascinating historical publication - the 1917 Caldwell County Soil Survey. A colleague, Cecil Haynes - NRCS, showed this to me the week of Thanksgiving. It offers a great description of agriculture in Caldwell County at the turn of the last century. If you are interested in current soil classification and data, use the 1989 - Caldwell County Soil Survey.

I hope you enjoy reading this interesting document and viewing the accompanying 1917 survey map

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Tractor ROPS

We had a great program on tractor safety presented by the NC Farm Bureau at the last Caldwell County Cattlemen's Meeting. During the presentation is was stated that "no one has ever died in a tractor turn-over with a tractor equipped with a roll over protection system (ROPS) when the operator was wearing the safety belt". That is a very impressive statement. The University of Kentucky has a great site on tractor ROPS including a data base of after market suppliers.

Commercial Rabbitry Project

You are invited to attend a showing of a newly renovated “hobby” rabbitry to a more efficient 100 doe “commercial” rabbitry with newly installed automatic watering and clean out systems.

Funding for the rabbitry was provided through a grant from the Tobacco Communities Reinvestment Fund, the Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA (RAFI-USA). The funding provides cost-share support for farmers’ to try new production, marketing, and processing strategies in order to earn more income on the farm.

When: Saturday, November 6, 2010
Time: 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Where: Devine Farms
2675 St. James Church Rd.
Newton, NC 28658

Directions to farm: From Newton travel 321 S. toward Maiden, pass South Side Park and the NC National Guard Building on the right. Go approximately ¼ mile and turn left off of 321 onto Smyre Farm Rd. Go to stop sign and turn right onto St. James Church Rd. Farm is on the right approximately 1 ½ miles on right. Look for the two Case Farm Poultry signs, Rowdy Rooster and Creek Side. Follow driveway past chicken houses to rabbit barn.


Contact: Susie Devine
(828) 466-0130 Home
(828) 461-2012 Cell

E-Mail Address:

Fig Culture in North Carolina

I have always been fasinated by the history of science. We were recently cleaning out one of our closets at the Caldwell Extension Center and I came across several old USDA and NC Experiement Station bulletins. The second bulletin I read was on fig culture in North Carolina. This was published in 1910 and much of the information is still relevant to day . . . I hope you enjoy the read as much as I did.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Weed ID and Control Field Day

Monday, October 18, 2010

Buddy Sherrill Farm on Startown Road
4697 Startown Road, Newton

3:00 -5:00 PM

All interested agricultural producers are invited to attend a herbicide field day at the Buddy Sherrill Farm on Startown Road. The program will run from 3-5 PM and 2 hours of pesticide credits in N, O, D and X have been applied for.

From Highway 10: Go south on Startown Road for approximately 1 mile. Pass Coulters Church and take the second drive to the right, where the Leyland Cypress line the asphalt driveway. Turn in at the first gate on the left and come to the plots. (4697 Startown Road)

There are 21 treatments in the plots that contain blackberry, dog fennel and a variety of other weed species. The agenda will include discussions on:
  • Weed Identification
  • Plot Tour with Treatments and Rate Discussion
  • Safety and Stewardship with Pesticides
  • Drift Management

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

2010 NC Commercial Blackberry and Raspberry Field Day

October 21, 2010

SunnyRidge-Owls Den Farm
1441 Owls Den Road
Lincolnton, NC 28092


9:00 to 9:20 am

9:25-9:30 am
Welcome and Opening Remarks
David Monks, Assistant Director, N.C.
Agricultural Research Service, College of
Agriculture and Life Sciences, N.C. State

Josh Beam, President, N.C. Commercial
Blackberry and Raspberry Growers Asso-

9:30-11:30 am
Concurrent Sessions (Small groups will
rotate through the sessions)

Fall/Winter Cultural Considerations and
Insect Update
Gina Fernandez, Department of Horti-
cultural Science, and Hannah Burrack,
Department of Entomology, N.C. State

Airblast Sprayer Calibration and
David Starnes, Tri-State Distributors,
Statesville, N.C.

Herbicide Sprayer Calibration and Weed
Management Considerations
Roger Batts and Wayne Mitchem, Depart-
ment of Horticultural Science, N.C. State

Fertilizer Calibration
Daniel Shires, N.C. Cooperative Exten-
sion Service, Cleveland County, N.C. State

Equipment Demonstration
(tractors, flail mowers, fertilizer spread-
ers, cannon sprayer)

12 noon
If you plan to attend, please RSVP to
Cleveland County Cooperative Extension
office; Daniel Shires, 704.482.4365.

Berry field day sponsors:
Johnson & Company Irrigation Sales, Inc.
Tri-State Distributors of Statesville, Inc.
Coastal Agrobusiness, Hendersonville, N.C.
Pro Ag — A Division of Snyder Paper
Parker Farm Service
Helena Chemical, Hendersonville, N.C.
Southern States, Waco, N.C.
SunnyRidge Farm

Monday, September 13, 2010

Forest Products Qarantine

Notice from the NC Department of Agriculture - There is a quarantine on black walnut seedlings, lumber, logs and all hardwood firewood originating from Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah, And Washington. For more on identifying the disease view the archived webinar at,

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Digest - Squash Bugs

Squash Bugs seem to be a major problem right now. We have had several good specimens brought into the office.

Healthy vigorous plants can out-grow some damage, but often control measures should be taken.

The above picture shows some nymph squash bugs on a squash leaf.
The little red round'ish spots are squash bug eggs.

The above picture are two adult squash bugs mating.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Caldwell Extension - Ag Digest

This is something new I'm going to try. Each day it seems like we get interesting stuff in our office. I hope to use this "Digest" as a way to document some of these interesting things we see in the office or the field. It will also help others who have similar problems/questions. Below are some of the "calls" from yesterday.
  • Lilac Borer (also known as ash borer) damage with a secondary bacterial infection. Timing is critical when controlling these insects. If you spray to early the insecticide will break down before the pest arrives and spray to late and the damage is done. Remedial treatment of borers is very, very difficult. Once the borers are in the stems, pruning is the best way to control the problem.

    If insecticidal sprays are to be used to control this insect, they should be applied when the lilac is in full bloom.

    The foamy sap oozing from the borer hole is a secondary bacterial infection. The bacteria are using the plants sap as a food source. The long term prognosis does not look good for this lilac. Cutting the lilac back and letting it re-sprout next year is the best solution. Care should be taken if the lilac has been grafted, however, this particular lilac grow from a cutting.

    More information:

Friday, August 13, 2010

Workshop - Intro to Taxonomy and Pollution Ecology of Aquatic Insects

September 15-17, 2010
Asheville, NC 28801

About the workshop: Benthic macroinvertebrate larvae (aquatic insects) play key roles in many regulatory water quality programs in North Carolina. Not only are these insects used to detect water pollution problems, but are also used to determine if streams are perennial features, and are proposed for use in stream restoration projects as success criteria. Despite the value of this group of organisms in North Carolina's regulatory programs, very little is known about these bugs. This workshop will introduce the participants to the basic ecology and taxonomy of aquatic insects. We will spend most of the time learning family level identification of mayflies, stoneflies and caddisflies (or EPT); however, other groups also will be discussed.

This workshop is sponsored by NCSU Water Quality Group, NC Cooperative Extension, and AB Tech

340 Victoria Rd., AB Tech
Sycamore Bldg., Rm. 209,
Asheville, NC 28801

For more information or to REGISTER ONLINE, please visit our website at:

Questions about the program may be directed to Dave Penrose at Please reply to this email with any questions regarding registration.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Animal Welfare Approved Announces 2011 Good Husbandry Grants

Animal Welfare Approved is pleased to announce that it will offer a third year of Good Husbandry Grants. AWA is seeking proposals for projects to improve farm animal welfare with a concentration on three areas: increased outdoor access, improved genetics and improved slaughter facilities. Animal Welfare Approved is a free third party certification for independent family farms raising animals humanely, outdoors on pasture or range. Current Animal Welfare Approved farmers and those who have applied to join the program are eligible for grants of up to $5,000. Farmers may apply for certification and for a grant simultaneously. Slaughter plants working with AWA farms are also eligible to apply but should contact Grants Coordinator Emily Lancaster to discuss proposed projects before submitting a proposal. Examples of projects funded in previous cycles include mobile housing, a mobile processing unit, infrastructure to facilitate humane handling and breeding stock adapted to pasture-based management.

The deadline for proposals is October 1, 2010. Guidelines, FAQ’s, project profiles and an application form are available at or by contacting Emily Lancaster at 919.428.1641 or

Monday, July 26, 2010

Building NC's Local Food Economy - The 10% Campaign

The intent of the 10% Campaign is straightforward: Encourage consumers to commit 10 percent of their existing food dollars to support local food producers, related businesses and communities. Funded by the Golden LEAF Foundation, the 10% Campaign will:
  • Promote North Carolina's farmers, foods, communities and businesses
  • Educate consumers, decision makers and the media
  • Collaborate further with the many influential organizations/initiatives already in the field and those just beginning to bloom
Why 10 percent? It is achievable for most, and meaningful for all:
  • North Carolinians spend about $35 billion a year on food. If individuals spent 10 percent—$1.05 per day—locally, about $3.5 billion would be available in the local economy.
  • The state has the 12th highest rate of adult obesity in the nation, and today, more than a third of its 10- to 17-year-olds are overweight or obese. Infusing fresh and flavorful fruits and vegetables into diets at every age can significantly reduce long-term health care expenses in the state.
  • Expanding the market will result in new farm, food and manufacturing businesses and create jobs.
Sign up now or learn more at

Thursday, July 22, 2010

NC Pesticide Fee Increases

With the signing of the 2010-2011 State Budget by Governor Beverly Perdue on June 30, 2010, the General Assembly has mandated fees for administered examinations and an increase in licensing fees in accordance to General Statutes 143-448, 143-452, and 143-455 of the NC Pesticide Law of 1971.

The fees below went into effect July 14th 2010

(Applies to all Testers, regardless of license type)

Core, Dealer, Worker Protection Designated Trainer, Aerial, and Consultant...…..$50.00

Ornamental and Turf, Right of Way, Forestry, Public Health, Ag Pest Animal, Pet Grooming, Poultry, Ag Pest Plant, Seed Treatment, Demonstration and Research, Wood Treatment, Regulatory, and Aquatic…….…. $20.00



(026) Ground, (027, 028, 029) Aerial, (030) Consultant, (033) Public Utility, and (037) Dealer…………………………………………………………………. $75.00

(038) Private Applicator…………………………………………………………. $10.00

(031, 032) Public ………………………………………………………….....…No Charge

Aircraft Inspections……………………………………………………………… $25.00

North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services
Structural Pest Control & Pesticides Division
1090 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-1090

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Equine Piroplasmosis in North Carolina

On Tuesday, July 13th the State Veterinarian’s office was notified by the National Services Veterinary Lab (NVSL) of five (5) horses from a single location in North Carolina that had tested positive for Equine Piroplasmosis (EP) on routine testing to meet export requirements to another state. (Equine Piroplasmosis is a blood parasite of equines and is not contagious to other livestock or humans.) On Wednesday morning, Veterinary Division field personnel visited the veterinary hospital that had submitted the samples to NVSL, obtained necessary information, and visited the stable where the 5 horses were located. There were a total of 35 horses on the premises; none of the horses appeared ill in any way. All 35 horses, including the 5 that had previously been tested positive, were individually identified and blood samples taken.

The premises was quarantined by NCDA&CS, Vet Division personnel and lengthy discussions with the owners took place, providing the owners information on EP, answering whatever questions were asked, and obtaining information on the 35 horses that were at the facility that will be necessary to pursue this investigation. The 35 blood samples were sent this evening by overnight delivery to NVSL for EP testing; results should be available by the middle of next week or sooner. The event was entered into the Emergency Management Response System (EMRS), the USDA/APHIS/Veterinary Services data management system to track this situation.

New Invasive Pest of Soybeans

The bean plataspid (Megacopta cribraria Fabricius) is a new invasive pest from south Asia that is currently spreading throughout the southeastern United States (Fig. 1). This insect is a piercing sucking pest (similar feeding as stink bugs) on legumes and was first found on kudzu in Georgia during December 2009. It has since been confirmed on both soybeans and kudzu in both Georgia and South Carolina in 2010. The confirmed distribution is represented in Fig. 2.

Fig. 1. Bean plataspid adult. Image by P. Roberts, UGA.

Fig. 2. Current known distribution of the bean plataspid from December 2009 to 13 July 2010. Image created by D. Reisig, adapted from P. Roberts and J. Greene.
Research on insecticide management options is being conducted by Dr. Phillip Roberts, UGA, and his GA colleagues. UGA researchers and Dr. Jeremy Greene, Clemson U., are monitoring this pest and we need to be vigilant for the appearance of this pest in North Carolina. Many invasive insects are found in extremely high numbers upon initial establishment, which may aid in our detection of this pest (Fig. 3). Current numbers from GA in soybeans are reported as close to 10 insects per sweep near field borders, where the distribution of this pest is the highest.

Fig. 3. Size of bean plataspid demonstrated on vegetative soybeans. Image by J. Greene.
Please contact both Ken Ahlstrom, Cooperative Agriculture Pest Service coordinator with the NCDA (, (919) 733-6931 x236), and me, Dominic Reisig (, (252) 793-4428 x133) if you find this pest. Researchers in GA and Dr. Greene, in SC, are collecting GPS locations of where this insect is found to map distributions. If you could also provide this information, as well as the plant on which it was found, it will enhance our ability to respond to this new threat.
From: Dominic Reisig, Extension Entomologist

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Increasing Beef Profitability: Perspectives on Processing and Marketing Opportunities in Local Markets

Monday, July 26th, 2010, 7pm-9pm
Chatham County Cooperative Extension- Agricultural Building

NC Choices and Chatham County Cooperative Extension present "Increasing Beef Profitability: Perspectives on Processing and Marketing Opportunities in Local Markets." Please join us for an evening with guest speakers, Dr. Scott Barao , Dr. Arion Thiboumery and Dr. Matt Poore for a roundtable discussion, Q&A, and a “meat social” with producers, extension personnel and meat processors. The event will be held at the Chatham County Cooperative Extension Agricultural Building located at 45 South St. Pittsboro, NC.

Topics for discussion will include grass-fed genetics, determining production costs, maintaining high quality carcasses, smart carcass utilization, forage management, value added products, successful case studies around the country and building a relationship with you processor.
The event is free, but please RSVP to Casey McKissick at by July 16th.

Dr. Scott Barao is a graduate of Michigan State University where he received his Ph.D. in beef cattle nutrition and management. He also holds degrees in human nutrition, biochemistry and ruminant microbiology. Scott held a faculty position in the Department of Animal Sciences at the University of Maryland for 20 years where he served as the state Beef Cattle Extension Specialist. Scott also served his last 10 years, as Beef Program Leader, directing all beef research and outreach programs at the university’s Wye Research and Education Center, the home of the historic Wye Angus herd. Scott retired from his faculty position as a full professor in 2005. Since 2005, Scott has served as the Executive Director of the Jorgensen Family Foundation, a 501-3-C Agricultural Research and Education Foundation devoted to developing and demonstrating profitable and sustainable models of beef cattle production for beef cattle producers in the Mid-Atlantic region. Scott also directs the day-to-day operation of
Hedgeapple Farm, the centerpiece of the foundation. In addition, Scott has served as the Executive Vice-President of the Maryland Cattlemen’s Association, the state’s largest single commodity organization, and as Executive Director of Maryland Beef Council continuously since 1985. Scott, along with his wife and 2 daughters own and operate their own farm in Woodbine, Maryland which is home to the only certified kosher herd of cattle in the world.

Dr. Arion Thiboumery co-coordinates the Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network (NMPAN,, a national network of professionals in cooperative extension and state departments of agriculture working to support small-scale meat processors. Dr. Thiboumery splits his time between Iowa State University Extension, specializing in Sustainable Agriculture and Meat Science, and Lorentz Meats, a Cannon Falls, MN medium-small-sized meat processing plant specializing in organic and natural
meats with about 65 employees. Dr. Thiboumery received his Ph.D. from Iowa State University in Sustainable Agriculture, Rural Sociology, and Meat Science. Before going to graduate school he was a truck farmer in New England.

Dr. Matt Poore serves NC as an Extension Livestock Commodity Coordinator, Extension Ruminant Nutrition Specialist and Professor at NC State University. Dr. Poore also serves as the Beef Unit Coordinator at the Center for Environmental Systems (CEFS) research farm in Goldsboro, NC.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Grants for Organic Certification

Organic growers in North Carolina can still apply for partial reimbursement of the cost of becoming certified or recertified producers through a program offered by the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

“We still have about a third of the grant funds available, so I would encourage organic producers who have gone through the certification process to submit their application for reimbursement,” said Kevin Hardison, marketing specialist with the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. “The deadline to apply is Sept. 30.”

Growers who are certified or recertified before Sept. 30, can apply for assistance. The program will pay 75 percent of the cost of certification, up to $750.

The program is funded through a $30,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Funds are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

To apply, growers must fill out an authorization form that can be found online at The completed form, a copy of the farm’s certification and a copy of the receipts from the certifying agency should be mailed to the NCDA&CS Division of Marketing, Attn. Kevin Hardison, 1020 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1020. The invoice must show the total cost of certification and the 75 percent portion that is eligible for reimbursement.

Growers with questions can call Hardison at (919) 733-7887.

“As consumer interest in certified products has grown, so has the number of organic producers statewide,” Hardison said. “North Carolina has more than 6,000 certified organic acres, and these farms produce a variety of vegetables, livestock, herbs and other products.”

Food entrepreneur workshop

WHO/WHAT: The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will host a local workshop for food entrepreneurs, which will focus on marketing and making media work for your food business.

WHEN/WHERE: Wednesday, Aug. 11, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Virginia Boone Building, WNC Ag Center, Fletcher

WHY: The workshop is designed to help food entrepreneurs create and grow successful businesses.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Topics to be covered include boosting your web presence through social networking, web pages and Google alerts; developing an effective message and media strategy; using traditional media outlets and event marketing and more. Registration remains open for this one-day workshop. The cost is $30 and the deadline to register is Aug. 4. Registration is limited to 40. Registration information is online at, or by calling Annette Dunlap at (919) 733-7887, ext. 257.

Monday, July 12, 2010

WCBGA Youth Goat Show

9:00 to 10:00 am – check in and weigh
10:00 am – show begins
Classes will be as follows:

Market Show Classes
  • Two entries per exhibitor
  • Divided by weight
  • Minimum weight 50 pounds
  • No breaking of skin or eruption of either of two permanent front teeth
Commercial Doe Classes
  • Two entries per exhibitor
  • Kids (0 to 6 months, no breaking of skin or eruption of either of two permanent front teeth)
  • Kids (6 to 12 months, no breaking of skin or eruption of either of two permanent front teeth)
  • Yearlings (two adult teeth)
  • Two years (4 adult teeth)
Buck Class
  • One entry per exhibitor
  • Kids (no breaking of skin or eruption of either of two permanent front teeth)
Showmanship Classes—youth 18 and under –Based on age of child
Premiums will be based on fundraising. For more information please contact Allison Brown, Alexander County Cooperative Extension Center at 828-632-4451.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Soybeans and Hot Weather

Don't be surprised if soybeans just aren't growing like they should. Hot weather may well be to blame. When temperatures get up to 95 degrees or more, soybeans tend to:
  • Close their stomates to conserve moisture within the leaf. They can't move enough water through the plant to keep up with that high an evapotranspiration demand. Soil moisture levels, therefore, have little to do with it.
  • Stop producing photosynthate, since carbon dioxide can't get in through those closed stomates either.
  • Stop growing vegetatively. No photosynthate, no growth. If the plants make it to 36-inches tall and lapped row middles anyway, losing those days of growth were of little consequence. If they don't get that big by flowering (in determinate varieties), the lost growing days will have been more serious.
  • Abort flowers. Not a big deal, since soybeans can replace those flowers, and they don't seem to care much which flowers become pods.
  • Abort small pods. This is a little more serious, but the plants may well have enough pods left anyway. If a pod was about half full size or bigger, it probably did not abort.
  • Abort seeds within larger pods if the seeds were still pretty small.
  • Produce smaller seeds if the seeds were too big to abort.
Remember that soybeans typically produce way more flowers than the combine will ever find as pods, and will start more pods than will make it to harvest. That's one of the major ways they survive adversity like this. The net result will probably be not much worse than losing a few days of potential production. I wouldn't expect any lasting effect of this response to high temperatures.
Content supplied by:
Dr. Jim Dunphy
NCSU Extension Soybean Specialist

Monday, June 21, 2010

Signup For Cost Share Programs Now

The Caldwell Soil and Water Conservation District will be accepting applications for the Agriculture Cost Share Program (ACSP) and the Community Conservation Assistance Program (CCAP) now through June 30, 2010. The district board will award contracts to the highest qualified applicants at the August 2010 district board meeting. ACSP is a voluntary, incentive-based program to install best management practices on agricultural lands. CCAP is a voluntary, incentive-based program to install best management practices on urban, suburban and rural lands. Both programs focus on installing measures to reduce non-point source pollution and improve water quality in streams. For more information, please contact the Caldwell Soil and Water Conservation District Office at 828-758-1111.

Tomato Tasting at NC A&T

WHAT: Great Tomato Tasting
WHERE: NC A&T University Farm
WHEN: Saturday, July 17, 2010
TIME: 8-12 noon (Rain or Shine)

North Carolina Cooperative Extension and The Cooperative Extension program NC A&T State
University Farm announce the first-ever Great Tomato Tasting, to be held on July 17, 2010, from 8-12, rain or shine. The event will include the tasting of both heirloom and hybrid tomatoes and tours of the farm’s research plots.

Wagon tours, led by faculty and farm staff, will be available throughout the event, highlighting NC A&T University’s agricultural research. You will get a chance to see the high tunnel production, tomato grafting, and tomato production on plastic mulch. As part of the day’s events, we will also showcase tomato cookery and canning. NC Cooperative Extension staff and Master Gardener Volunteers will be available throughout the event to answer your gardening questions, and to make your visit to the research farm a pleasurable and memorable one. More fun activities are planned, so bring your camera.

Pre-Registration - $5.00 per person submitted by July 2ndRegistration at door $7.00(cash, check or money order) Children under 10 are free.

To help us adequately prepare for visitors, please RSPV by calling 336-375-5876 We look forward to seeing you at this delicious event!

Friday, June 11, 2010


There have been several calls this week about spittlebugs on Leyland cypress trees. Callers describe the problem as small foamy masses dotting their trees. However, some callers just call it spit or spittle, thus the common name of the bug.

Long story short, don't worry about them. They will not harm Leylands or most other plants. There is no need to treat Leyland cypress for spittlebugs. Sometimes these bugs will feed on grapevines. Again there is no need to treat. If you do not like the spittle masses, just use a water hose to wash the spittle away.

The foamy spittle is produced by the nymphal stage of the two-lined spittlebug. The insect makes the foamy mass by excreting honey dew and mixing it with air. This provides the developing nymph with an almost aquatic environment in which to develop. The spittle also offers some protection from predators. This nymphal stage lasts about a month.
In July, the nymphs will transform into adults. The adults look similar to leaf hoppers, about 1/3 of an inch long. They are black in color with two small red lines and red eyes. After the adults mate, the females will lay eggs. These will hatch next spring, starting the cycle over again.

Again, it is very unlikely we will ever need to treat spittlebugs in Caldwell County with pesticides, but in eastern North Carolina treatment is sometimes necessary. These bugs can be a problem on warm season grasses and ornamental hollies. If you read on the Internet about spittlebugs, and they suggest treatment, it is appropriate in some locations.

If you have lawn and garden questions, please contact me at the Caldwell County Extension Center, 757 1290, send me an email (, or stop by the office.

Additional Information Links