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On the garden hotline

Here are a couple of the questions called in to the Extension Master Gardener hotline (316-660-0190) recently.

What are the large green beetles that fly like bumblebees? Do they cause damage?

These are adult green June beetles. They are sugar addicts and feed on ripening peaches, grapes, blackberries, etc., and were recently reported in large numbers feeding on the sap flowing out of an injured area on a tree trunk. A spray of Sevin works very well on fruit crops and has a three-day waiting period on peaches and seven days on blackberries. Read the label closely before using. If the beetles are not on a fruit crop, there is no need to treat.

The larva is a huge white grub that is often found in compost (it turns and breaks down organic matter) and in heavily mulched areas. It is beneficial to compost and is not a grub that causes damage to lawn grasses.

How do you control the budworms that attack geraniums and petunias in midsummer?

Plants that are heavily infested will respond well to a good shearing followed by treatment with Bt or Dipel at two-week intervals on new growth. Vigorous petunia varieties such as Vista Bubble Gum or Pretty Much Picasso are back to blooming within 2 1/2 weeks of shearing off the budworm damage.

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