Insects

Tannaz / Wikimedia Commons, Licensed under Creative Commons

Fresh herbs are one of the most versatile plants available to home gardeners. Iowa State University Extension Program specialist in Value-added Agriculture, Linda Naeve, says they're an easy way to add color and texture to the landscape without the risk of a plant getting too big. The exception to that rule is mint, which is very aggressive. Naeve says it should be planted in a container, and then added to the garden, to help keep it in check.

Sam 17 / Flickr

Freda Sojka, CEO of Soothing Solutions, created Bug Soother in the wake of the 2008 floods, when gnats were bothering her five-month-old grandson. She had no idea that less than a decade later it'd be distributed throughout the world.

"If I'd known all that at the beginning, I might have named it differently. We're pretty stuck with the name now," she said with a laugh.

This Spring, Bug Soother launched in the UK. And Sojka is looking at other countries to introduce Bug Soother to; Panama is next on the list.

Halvard from Norway

When our horticulture experts are stumped by a caller, they turn to the experts at Iowa State University's Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic.  They identify plant diseases, weeds, mushrooms and insects.  Host Charity Nebbe talks with Entomologist Laura Jesse and Plant Pathologist Lina Rodreguez-Salamanca about the sleuthing that happens in diagnosing a plant disease or insect infestation.

John Tann / Flickr

If you head out for a hike, there's a decent chance you'll return with a hitchhiker. All three types of ticks in Iowa are active right now. 

Donald Lewis, an entomologist with Iowa State University extension, speaks with host Charity Nebbe about ticks. ISU Extension horticulturist Richard Jauron and DNR district forester Mark Vitosh also join the conversation.

Abby Wendle/Harvest Public Media

The monarch butterfly may soon find more of its food in Iowa.

gapowell / flickr

Monarch butterfly numbers have declined dramatically. Now it looks like they may be put on the Endangered Species List.

Roadsidepictures / Flickr

The answer is: probably zero. ISU entomologist Donald Lewis says fears and myths about spiders are overblown.

Wikimedia Commons

There have been reports of dragonfly swarms in certain parts of the state this summer. 

Wikimedia Commons

A U. S. Geological Survey study has found widespread concentrations of a toxic pesticide in waterways in Iowa and throughout the upper Midwest.

National Weather Service/NOAA

This week, thick clouds of millions of mayflies emanated from the Mississippi River in Northeast Iowa.

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

It continues to be a tough year for trees in Iowa. The Polar Vortex left its mark on many trees and shrubs, and now a tenth county has been added to the list of counties in Iowa where the Emerald Ash Borer has been discovered. That county is Johnson County, and an adult female Emerald Ash Borer was found in Iowa City.

Also, listeners have their plant and garden questions answered by Jeff Iles, Professor and Chair of the Horticulture Department at Iowa State University, and Richard Jauron, Iowa State University Extension Horticulturist.

Bug Soother

This spring, Freda Sojka says there's only one way to describe her business: busy. 

She's the brains behind the bug repellent "Bug Soother," that has become overwhelmingly popular over the last few years in Iowa. She says she discovered the recipe for the repellent by accident. “My grandson was at my house, and I didn’t want to put anything on him with DEET in it. I threw a few things together, and it worked.”

dapawprint (Flickr)

They float, swarm, harass and irritate, and they can even take down a chicken or a turkey. The gnats are back. But when we complain about “gnats,” Iowa State University Extension Entomologist Donald Lewis says, sometimes we might be misplacing blame. 

"Saying you are annoyed by a gnat is like saying you were passed on the interstate by a vehicle… It’s a two mile wide term. Ask yourself – are the bugs bothering you or are they biting you?”

Amy Mayer/IPR

Nathan Anderson stops his red pick-up truck alongside a cornfield on his farm near Cherokee, Iowa. The young farmer pulls on a heavy brown hoodie, thick long, sturdy yellow gloves and a beekeeper’s hat with a screened veil. He approaches a pair of hives sitting on the edge of a field recently planted with corn.

Dendroica curulea

They've been waiting in the ground for 17 years, but the wait is almost over.  In just a few short weeks, a large brood of 17 year cicadas will emerge in 46 counties in Iowa.  Host Charity Nebbe talks with Iowa State University Entomologist Donald Lewis about what to expect and how these remarkable and long-lived insects survive.

Plant a Tree!

Apr 25, 2014
Bianca de Blok

It's Arbor Day and in Iowa the Emerald Ash Borer has a lot of people thinking about diversifying the trees in their landscape.  On this "Horticulture Day" edition of Talk of Iowa Charity Nebbe talks with DNR District Forester Mark Vitosh about the work being done at Iowa's State Forest Nursery and how to pick the right tree to plant in your landscape.

Cory Barnes

This past winter was particularly harsh on Iowa's honeybees.  Experts estimate that 65-70 percent of Iowa's honeybee colonies didn't survive.  Iowa State University Extension entomologist Donald Lewis talks with host Charity Nebbe about the plight of honeybees as well as pesticides that may pose a further risk to the state's pollinators.

Day of Insects

Mar 30, 2014
Rickk Fredericksen / Iowa Public Radio

It sounds like the title of a horror movie, but the people who attended the “Day of Insects” have an appreciation for the six-legged creatures that we share our lives with. One specimen in particular, caught the attention of Iowa Public Radio’s Rick Fredericksen.

Honeybees may be among the many victims of this winter's extended stretches of extreme cold. The State Department of Agriculture's Apiarist, Andrew Joseph says annual winter losses among U.S. beekeepers run about 30 percent. Iowa's losses are likely to be 60 to 65 percent. He says bees that are in good shape can survive a very harsh winter, but those that have been weakened by pesticides or parasites are not likely to survive until spring.

Carsten Tolkmit / http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode

Join Talk of Iowa for a talk with Douglas Tallamy, Professor and Chair of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware. He says “We need to change the way we interact with nature; it should not be segregated,” and that living with nature can be very rewarding. Tallamy says that Americans use plants that are mostly from Asia as decorations.  The result is a reduced biodiversity in the places we live, work, and farm.  Hear from Tallamy  about how we can connect habitats by reinstalling native plants.

Phil Nixon / University of Illinois

Horticulture day returns to its weekly schedule, a sure sign of spring!  Host Charity Nebbe talks with Extension Entomologist Donald Lewis about the likely impact of colder than usual temperatures on Iowa's insect population.  The answer:  "not much."  Extension Horticulturist Richard Jauron talks about the timely tasks that need doing in your garden.

Bob Elbert

Gardeners and growers depend on the free labor of pollinators to produce fruits and vegetables. One of our most important pollinators, the honey bee, is in trouble world wide. This hour, new research gives us an insight as to why.

Univ. of Iowa Arborist Andrew Dahl

Two enormous ash trees are record holders on the front line of the Emerald Ash Borer in eastern Iowa: the state's largest known white ash, in Fort Madison, and the biggest black ash in the nation, south of McGregor. Medical treatment may be on the way for the national champion black ash. Editor's Note: When rescuers returned to the tree in 2014, they found the prized specimen had fallen over, with no hope of saving it.

USFS Region 5

A little green bug could end up costing Iowa billions of dollars in the coming years, as the state comes to terms with an Asian beetle sweeping across the Midwest.

e_monk / flickr

Join Host Charity Nebbe for a talk about insects with Donald Lewis, Iowa State University Extension Entomologist.  He and Iowa State University Extension Horticulturist Richard Jauron answer your lawn and garden questions.

Maeve Clark

A flock of monarch butterflies gathering together for the migration south can be a truly magical sight, but it's a sight that has become less and less common in Iowa. This hour, host Charity Nebbe finds out what has happened to those beautiful flocks on Monarch Butterflies. We talk about the pressures that have resulted in the smallest population of Monarchs ever recorded.

Today's guests include: Iowa State University Extension entomologist, Donald Lewis, and Iowa State University Extension horticulturist, Richard Jauron.

USFS Region 5 / Flickr

The Emerald Ash Borer is in Iowa and a number of communities have already started cutting town ash trees in an effort to get ahead of the invasion.   Host Charity Nebbe, Mark Shour of ISU Extension Pest Management and horticulturist Richard Jauron discuss options for ash tree o

Robert - Mathesont / flickr

Many of the sounds of summer are the sounds of insects.   Join host Charity Nebbe for a talk with ISU Extension Entomologist Donald Lewis for a discussion about what insects are actually doing with that noise. ISU Extension Horticulturist Richard Jauron will also be here to answer your lawn and garden questions.

Roger Sanderson / flickr

The Emerald Ash Borer was discovered in Burlington this week.  For Horticulture Day, Forester Mark Vitosh will be here to talk about the Emerald Ash Borer and Community Tree Inventories.  Horticulturist Linda Naeve will also be here and she and Mark will answer your questions.

U.S. Forestry Service Region 5

The Emerald Ash Borer is spreading through Iowa.  It has now been found in Burlington.  Hear how the insect spreads and what is being done about it.  New rules are in effect for boaters on Iowa's waterways aimed at preventing the spread of invasive plants and animals.

Also, in the second half of the program, we talk about a Cuban baseball player that defected to the U.S. while in Des Moines.  And we wrap up the hour with a discussion about the weather and how Iowa's crops are reacting.

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