- Author: Dustin Blakey
Recently brown marmorated stink bugs (Haylomorpha halys) were found in Inyo and Mono counties. This invasive pest from Asia is relatively new to our area. Its first sighting was in Bishop last year.
We have plenty of species of stink bugs on the east side, but this one is especially annoying because it tends to aggregate in large numbers and will attempt to get inside homes and structure to avoid cold weather. As our temperatures return to more normal ranges, I would expect more issues with home ingress.
We have had reports from Swall Meadows down to Big Pine, and possibly an isolated case in Olancha. My hunch is they arrived from northern California, not down south, but there is no way to tell for sure.
As of now, most stink bugs you will encounter are not BMSB. You can identify this pest by a couple notable features: like many stink bugs it is brown, but it has white bands on its antennae and has alternating white and dark coloration on its abdomen. It also has rounded shoulders; similar species in our area have pointed shoulders.
Spraying adult stink bugs doesn't do much good. The best course of action is to ensure your homes are sealed up well so they can't get in.
If these bugs do come inside, they can be trapped easily. (Squishing them is just messy and smelly. Trapping is a better choice.) Here is a video from Virginia Tech showing a good way to trap them.
They can also be vacuumed up. Here is what UC IPM suggests you do:
An efficient way to collect stink bugs indoors is by sucking them up with a dry or wet vacuum. The bugs will cause the collection canister or bag and other parts of the vacuum to give off an unpleasant stink bug odor, so some people dedicate a vacuum cleaner to stink bug capture only. Alternatively, a nylon stocking can be stuffed inside the tube and securing the end over the outside of the vacuum tube with a rubber band; this way, bugs are collected in the stocking and not the vacuum cleaner bag. Individual stink bugs can be brushed off into a cut-off plastic bottle containing an inch of soapy water, where they will drown in a short period of time. If needed, the container can be fastened to a pole or broom handle to reach high locations. Stink bugs caught live also can be placed inside a plastic sealable bag and then into a freezer for 2 days to kill them. To conserve water, avoid flushing them down the toilet and avoid placing live stink bugs in the garbage so they do not become established around landfills.
Hopefully this will just be a minor nuisance for us, and nothing more.
- Author: Bobbie Stryffeler
Buyer Beware – Is that an Invasive Plant?
Have you ever wondered how many of your garden nursery purchases are potentially invasive? Not ever? Well me too - that is until I took a closer look at invasive species. Amazingly, in the United States 85% of the intentional introductions of non-native plants have been for landscape use and it's from these non-natives that we find our invasive plants. It's also astounding to consider that commercial nurseries propagate some of these invasive species as ornamentals.
California is home to 4,200 native plant species and recognized worldwide as a “biodiverse hot spot.” There are approximately 1,800 non-native plants growing wild in California with 200 of these considered invasive.
The problem is that people don't know they are buying invasive plants. The home gardener's first motive is that they are buying for aesthetic value and there is little information available indicating whether the plants are invasive. Buyer beware!
Here are a few to watch out for:
Invasive - Periwinkle (Vinca major) a tough competitor with an aggressive rooting system off each node on its sprawling stems.
Invasive – English ivy (Hedera helix) is a vigorous, fast-growing vine.
Plant instead Star jasmine (Trachelspermum jasminoides) or Cranesbill geranium (Geranium sp.). (Ed. Note: Star jasmine is not reliable hardy north of Independence. Asiatic jasmine (T. asiaticum) should be fine up to Bishop in all but the worst years. They look very similar.)
Plant instead Needle and thread grass (Hesperostipa comata) or Great Basin wildrye (Leymus cinereus)
Invasive – Russian olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia) is known as an ornamental shrub with silvery-grey leaves that can grow into a 20-foot or more tree. It out competes with native vegetation and birds easily spread the seed as it provides desirable forage.
Plant instead Desert willow (Chilopsis linearis).
Invasive – Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) – lovely purple blooms that one mature adult plant can produce one to two million seeds each year.
Plant instead Penstemon firecracker (Penstemon eatonii) or Perry's beardtongue penstemon (Penstemon paryii)
To sum this up, do the research and don't buy invasive plants. The benefits are huge. Buying non‑invasive plants protects not only your home landscapes but also your local area's native plants and wildlife. You become part of the solution versus the problem.
You can also help rescue Inyo/Mono counties open space by assisting the local California Native Plant Society, the Eastern Sierra Land Trust, and Friends of the Inyo to manage or eradicate invasive species in our region. By doing this you will help sustain local open spaces or maintain the health of our waterways.
- Author: Alison Collin
We all make gardening mistakes, but there is nothing more vexing than creating self- inflicted problems by choosing a plant for some special effect – beautiful flowers or lush foliage - only to discover that it refuses to stay in its allotted space, and takes off across the garden dominating everything in its path. I mention the following selection from my own experiences – perhaps it will help you to avoid the same mistakes!
Maypop. Passiflora incarnata. Lured by the exotic, tropical-looking flowers and edible fruit I purchased this to cover a rather dull wooden fence. I erected some lattice for it to scramble over and carefully planted the contents of a 2” pot at the base. It cheerfully romped away and flowered as promised, but then I found suckers coming up at regular intervals along the irrigation line bursting through the surface wherever there was an emitter - from under a host of herbaceous treasures and even appearing in the rockery. The latest sucker to emerge is 15 feet away from the parent plant and I will only get fruit if I plant a second one for cross pollination!
Mexican Evening Primrose. Oenothera speciosa. This is has pretty flowers and a long blooming season, but it is also an aggressive spreader. It needs little water and is happy in poor soils. It spreads rapidly by rhizomes and also by seeds, and quickly forms an attractive carpet of spring-flowering pink blooms. Although good for quickly covering banks and places where other plants might not do well, when given water and more fertile soil it is very difficult to control. Even little pieces of root take hold. Make sure if you plant this that you will be able to contain it.
Mint. Mentha spp. There is nothing like the first potatoes of the season cooked with a little mint. Aware of mint's invasiveness I followed the universal planting advice of putting it in a pot which had its bottom cut away, and then plunging it into the ground. That failed to contain it after the first season. Perhaps I should have used a larger pot or not planted the pot so deeply. The roots, not unlike Bermuda grass, rampaged in all directions. I pulled huge mats of them out, but even tiny pieces left behind were soon growing vigorously, and new plants appeared a long way from the original planting. I did finally get the better of it by planting it in a hanging pot over a concrete patio. Surely it would not be able to spread from there. It didn't - it died!
For some other rapidly growing or spreading plants which should be planted with caution visit: http://ucanr.edu/sites/EDC_Master_Gardeners/files/154805.pdf