The following are highlights and updates about samples and questions recently received in the Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic. Visit the PIDC's Facebook page to ask questions and for updates and more pictures. For more information on a particular disease or insect problem listed, follow the article cited.
With all the precipitation we have experienced, we have received several mushroom submissions for identification. The main question is, how do I get rid of the mushroom? See the article “What can I do about mushrooms in my yard? on my tree?” elsewhere in this issue.
Seeing gray mold in your vegetable or flower seedlings growing indoors? Learn about this disease in our article Gray Mold.
One of the more unpleasant harbingers of spring are termite swarmers. These are winged termites that leave a colony to establish a new one (Photo below). These winged queens and kings are black colored (not the white of worker termites) and have large wings. Winged ant swarmers look very similar so it is important to get them properly identified before any treatment. Finding termite swarmers in or near your home indicate that a termite inspection is needed. For more information please see our pamphlet, "Selecting a Termite Control Service" at the ISU Extension Store.
Praying mantis egg cases have been a common sample this spring. The egg cases are brown and sort of the consistency of Styrofoam. They are commonly mistaken for a stem gall or a plant disease. They are harmless to the plant and if the eggs survived the winter you will have lots of young praying mantids when they hatch. For pictures and information please see our Clinic website.
Termite swarmers have 4 wings of equal length.