The following are highlights and updates about samples and questions recently received in the Plant & Insect Diagnostic Clinic:
We are getting samples of larder beetles. The larder beetle is a very common household pest that lives in wall voids and attics most of the time, but is occasionally noticed inside. They are recognized by their two-toned coloration: black on each end and tan in the middle.
Larder beetles start out as wormlike larvae that feed on dried meats, dried milk, hair, fur, feathers, and commonly dead insects in wall voids and attics. They only feed on animal proteins so damage to "regular" clothing is usually not an issue. But they will feed on furs, woolens and stuffed taxidermy specimens.
Conifer samples continue to be the most common. Spruce with Rhizosphaera needle cast and Stigmina needle cast. Scots and Austrian pines with Diplodia tip blight and Austrian pines with Dothistroma needle blight.
Conifers suffering form environmental stress are also common. Needles will be brown, but there are no signs of disease or insects. A new publication from the Purdue Plant & Pest Diagnostic Laboratory called Conifer Dieback does a great job of explaining the common environmental problems that can cause brown needles on conifers.