Pests and Diseases forum: Flying Insest Possibly hurting plants

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LIGuy0617
Jun 13, 2017 6:46 AM CST
Hello,
I am new to this site, and not that experienced with gardening and plants. I live on Long Island and this spring, I noticed by Arborvitaes turning brown in spots. I originally thought it was because we had a warm spell in late winter and then it got very cold again and a very cool spring. But as time went on I noticed it is now getting worse. On top of that, my grass is suddenly not looking good, with some grass dying. Its not dying in patches like grubs would do, but mixed in with healthy looking grass.
Last year a similar thing happened to the arborvitae and I noticed a flying insert that I thought were white flies, and treated with organicide. This year it seems I have the same insect, but I don't believe they are white flies, and I may have mis-identified them last year. They are a small white flying insect, but with a narrow body, and the wings have black marking on them. From photos of white flies I came across, it seems they are all white with a rounder shape body/ wings. I've seen them flying around the aborviate, as well as through the grass and now around the flower beds as well. They seem to be all over this past week as its been hot. I don't know if these are to blame, but I would like to identify them first to determine if so, but can't seem to figure out what they are. Does anyone have an idea what they could be?

As for the arbovitaes, any idea how to determine what is causing them to turn brown in spots, if not the insects?? We had a lot of rain this spring, and I also checked for spider mites, but my understanding is that they won't cause it to turn brown only in spots? Or pehaps I should treat them with something else, to play it safe without identifying if it is an insect/or what type? I would hate for it to get worse because they offer privacy from the house on the other side. Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
Image
sooby
Jun 13, 2017 9:14 AM CST
Welcome!

Do they look like this?

https://www.google.ca/search?q...:

And the damage like this?

https://www.google.ca/search?q...:


LIGuy0617
Jun 13, 2017 10:01 AM CST
Thank you for your reply! Although the one I examined wasn't as dark at the tail end, I would guess that it is the same insect, and the damage is consistent with the photo. Any recommendations on treatment? I was using organicide since I had it and thought it was something else, but I don't think it had much affect. Also, likely that they could damage grass? I have a feeling my grass issue is something completely unrelated. Thank you again for the response.
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
Image
sooby
Jun 13, 2017 10:33 AM CST
We had a really bad outbreak of the arborvitae leafminer around here a few years ago but have seen hardly any since. We didn't do anything about them - it's very hard to control leafminers because the larvae are protected from pesticides by the leaf they are inside so what may more likely happen is that the spray kills beneficial insects that may ultimately have controlled the leafminer. You may be able to use a systemic insecticide, your local Extension office should be able to advise you on what is available and recommended in your area. Often pest problems go in cycles so you may not have the same problem next year.

The grass issue is probably something else. Can you post a picture?

LIGuy0617
Jun 23, 2017 1:15 PM CST
Thank you for the response. I realized I had the same issue last year (mistakenly thought it was a different insect last year). I ended up using a pesticide treatment that I had to pour at the roots. They are really nowhere near as full as they used to be, so I am hoping it will have some improvement. Regarding the grass, I have no idea what would be causing it. I am attaching a photo- the photo doesn't show it as bad as it really is and it has gotten worse. It is grass that is dying within healthy grass. From my understanding, which could be wrong, if it was grubs, a whole patch would be dead? Any insight would be helpful. Thanks.
Thumb of 2017-06-23/LIGuy0617/d5f448

Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
Image
sooby
Jun 23, 2017 1:40 PM CST
It doesn't look like grub damage. If you've seen moths fly up when you mow it could be sod webworm. It can also happen that when the grass flowers the flower stalks die afterwards and leave interspersed dead brown stems.

What you could do is put some liquid dish soap, preferably lemon, into a watering can, add water (say a tablespoon of dishwashing liquid to a gallon) and then pour some of the soapy solution onto a couple of square feet of grass. Wait several minutes and then see what comes out. Take a photo to post if anything emerges. If it's warm and sunny you might want to flush again with plain water afterwards to dilute the soap so that it doesn't damage the turf.

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