No. 1/April 24, 2018

First Issue for 2018
Welcome to the 2018 edition of the Home, Yard, and Garden Pest Newsletter. This newsletter is written to keep professional landscapers, arborists, golf course superintendents, lawn care personnel, and garden center operators up-to-date on the commercial management of diseases, weeds, insects, and other pests. We will report on the pests we are seeing and anticipating throughout Illinois. To assist us in these efforts, we ask for your help in reporting pest situations as you see them through the year.

Modified Growing Degree Days (Base 50°F, March 1 through April 22)
Insect development is temperature dependent. We can use degree days to help predict insect emergence and activity. Home, Yard, and Garden readers can use the links below with the degree day accumulations above to determine what insect pests could be active in their area.

Annual Bluegrass (Poa annua)
Annual Bluegrass, also known as Poa annua, is a cool-season annual or weak perennial that spreads by seed and by rooting at the lower nodes on creeping stems. It is primarily a problem weed in golf turf, but can be found in home lawns. Golfers have often unknowingly brought the seed home via their shoes, as seed can get stuck in debris on shoes, equipment, etc.

Protecting Plants and Trees from Frost Damage
Illinois weather has a great ability to change at a moment notice. Because of this, our plants have to acclimate or they will not survive. The last couple of weeks have been no exception. As far as I can see, we have many plants in bloom as well as trying to leaf out. The plant is the most susceptible to frost damage with all this new growth. However, a temperature of 30 degrees overnight probably will not seriously impact plant health.

Here They Come... Buffalo Gnats/ Biting Midges
I truly enjoy the transition from winter into spring, as plants are pushing up through the ground, the daffodils, crocuses, and tulips in bloom. The trees bring on the next show of color with redbuds, magnolias and crabapples in full bloom and then the green leaves emerge. The temperatures are finally nice enough that we can break out those short sleeves; we can work in the yard and start preparing for the garden or the landscape improvements for the season. With the copious amount of rain and warm temperatures brings a not so nice little friend back to wreak some havoc on our ability to enjoy the outdoors. Buffalo gnats/ Biting Midges will be back in full force with the rising water and the warm temperatures; we have the perfect storm for a population explosion from these winged biting beasts.

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Update
The brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is old news for many Illinois residents by now. While it is quickly becoming the time of year where these insects are found outdoors, we receive many reports over the winter months when they overwinter in homes.

2018 Season at the University of Illinois Plant Clinic
Welcome to the 2018 Plant Clinic Season! We are open year round to serve your plant diagnostic needs. To stay connected with us, follow us on Facebook ( and on our blog (

Additional Resources for Illinois Pest News
As coordinator of the Illinois Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey Program, I often wear many hats. Many of my pest surveys focus on invasive species like brown marmorated stink bug, thousand cankers disease, bark beetles, crop pests and many, many more. We often survey corn, soybeans, orchards, and vineyards, just to highlight a few places we spend our time. Many pests we survey, have a very wide host range and can be found in urban landscapes and home gardens too. In addition to working with producers around the state, we routinely benefit from the help of master gardeners, master naturalists, and readers such as yourselves.