July 12, 1996
The term "chigger" is a common name used to describe the larval stage of a certain group of mites. These mites are parasitic on warm-blooded animals during their larval development and produce bites that cause intense itching and the formation of small, reddish welts. Chiggers are active from spring to late fall but are most numerous in early summer when weeds, grass and other vegetative undergrowth are at their heaviest.
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As reported last year, Scott County is our only known location of Japanese beetle infestations in Iowa. (see Horticulture and Home Pest News, July 21, 1995, page 113). While Japanese beetles are occasionally caught in Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship monitoring traps at other locations throughout the state, no established populations have been reported outside of Davenport, Bettendorf and Le Claire.
Therefore, we repeat our request -- PLEASE REPORT NEW COUNTY RECORDS OF JAPANESE BEETLE IN IOWA BY SENDING SPECIMENS.
"Tiny, hopping specks of fuzz" is a good description of the planthoppers that are currently causing concern for Iowa gardeners. Recent calls and observations have reported planthoppers on the flower stalks of hosta, on euonymus groundcover and on several other flowers, vegetable plants and shrubs.
Children often have fond visions of Peter Cottontail or Thumper when they see rabbits in the yard. However, like Mr. McGregor, most gardeners would prefer some form of rabbit stew.
As usual, the imported longhorned weevil and the strawberry root weevil (little insects with long names) are appearing on and in houses as a post-Independence Day surprise. These are the weevils that are often mistakenly described as "ticks crawling on the walls." Upon closer examination they can be readily discerned as insects by the presence of 6 legs and a pair of "elbowed" antennae at the front end.