The following are highlights and updates about samples and questions recently received in the Plant & Insect Diagnostic Clinic. Visit the PIDC’s facebook page to ask questions and for updates and more pictures.
Fall brings the usual assortment of accidental invaders (multicolored Asian lady beetles, boxelder bugs, and pine seed bugs) to the sunny side of homes. These insects are not trying to get indoors where it is warm, they are just responding to their own cues about winter and the need to find a sheltered spot. Indoors is actually a bad place for them because our homes are too warm, dry and have no food. These insects need a place that is cold enough to prevent activity all winter and where they wont dry out.
With the harvest of fall crops we are starting to see some storage problems. We have received cabbage samples with some internal rotting and gray mold, onions with neck rot, and we have heard of garlic bulbs with waxy breakdown; a physiological condition associated with high temperatures during growth period and/or harvest. In order to avoid storage problems, make sure onions and garlic are well-cured before storage. Do not store any produce that might have been bruised or injured during harvest or that suffered from frost damage. For long term storage, it is also important to keep produce at low temperatures and dry conditions (70-75% humidity).