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Insects and pests

humming bird feeding from zinnias

Adding more blooms to your garden invites more birds

By Jeff and Nancy Staecker, Extension Master Naturalists serving Fulton, Mason, Peoria and Tazewell counties Over the last 20 years we’ve lost billions of birds – birds that are both beautiful and play critical roles in the environment… such as eating pests. We do not know all the complex...
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spider web

Spiders: fascinating, yet frustrating

Written by Rhonda Ferree, retired horticulture educator I have a love-hate relationship with spiders. I am continually fascinated when watching a spider spin its web. However, cleaning up cobwebs can be very frustrating. Spiders are abundant (over 1,000,000 individuals per acre in a...
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Winter's impact on insects and plants

Written by Rhonda Ferree, retired horticulture educator Unfortunately, the winter has taken a toll on many plants. Evergreens are especially impacted, many showing significant winter desiccation or even death. The severe cold winter compounded plant stresses already inflicted by recent...
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Boxelder Bugs

Written by Rhonda Ferree, retired horticulture educator Boxelder bugs are common almost every year, but can be particularly prevalent in hot, dry years. Boxelder bugs are 1/2-inch long dark brown or black insects with conspicuous red markings on their wings. Boxelder bugs have two...
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Choose treatment properly for moles

Moles become active each spring, with tunnels appearing as raised areas of soil in lawns and garden beds. "Questions about mole control are probably the most common question I've received in my 27 years with University of Illinois Extension," says Rhonda Ferree, Extension Educator in Horticulture...
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Don't Panic over Honey Bee Swarms

Written by Rhonda Ferree, retired horticulture educator Ameren Illinois workers found a hive a nearly 1,000 honeybees during a recent substation inspection in Pekin. Thanks to the work of their employee, also an avid beekeeper, the hive and bees were safely removed and relocated. A...
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Lightning Bugs on the Decline

Written by Rhonda Ferree, retired horticulture educator I hear a news report about the decline of the monarch butterfly almost every day, but there are other insects in decline as well. One that is a favorite of all ages is the lightning bug, which some folks also call a firefly. As a...
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Does my tree have Emerald Ash Borer?

Written by Rhonda Ferree, retired horticulture educator The dreaded Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) continues to cause havoc across Central Illinois. All four of the counties that I cover as a Horticulture Educator with University of Illinois Extension are included in the quarantine area, which...
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