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.
Things are quiet sample-wise in the clinic. In the winter months we get a lot of houseplants that are suffering, usually from overwatering and possibly a root rot as a result of overwatering. Care of houseplants through winter is tricky and often they need far less water than they do in the summer. Please see the Yard & Garden Column for November 9, 2011 for tips on winter houseplant care.
If you have ants crawling around in your kitchen this time of the year then it is most likely that there is a colony indoors. Where the colony is located depends on the species of ant, so it is important to get it identified. I personally have odorous house ants that I am hoping have a colony in one of my potted plants on the counter so in the spring I can then relocate the whole colony outside.
If you find ants in a basement, crawlspace, garage or other areas it is likely they are larger yellow ants. Larger yellow ants overwinter in small groups of winged and wingless ants. They are harmless and will not forage for food elsewhere in the house.
The clinic now has two tarantulas. Apparently they are like cats, you get one and next thing you know you have another! They are both Chilean rose hairs. The older one is named Harry and comes to us from Bob Hauer, extension specialist in Chickasaw County. The baby one (called a sling) is Fluffy and was won in a holiday party drawing. I will post pictures occasionally if they do something interesting, like molt. As you can see Harry is a bit camera shy, so sorry for the rear-end shot.