Th­ese Her­cules bee­tles won’t threaten your lawn

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - GARDEN - By Ellen Nibali

Found this big boy in the lawn, al­ready dead. Don’t know what to make of him. He’s so big, but does that equate to bad?

Her­cules bee­tles are the largest in­sects on the East Coast and, like their fa­bled name­sake, they are strong. They can push the lid off a ter­rar­ium and take off. Both sexes are shiny and beau­ti­fully marked, but only males have the two horns. In the trop­ics, they grow even big­ger horns and com­pete for fe­males, squeak­ing and wield­ing horns.

Our Her­cules bee­tles (Dy­nastes tityus) feed harm­lessly on tree sap and lay eggs in rot­ting wood. The re­sult­ing lar­vae (grubs) can be even big­ger than adults — an­other as­ton­ish­ing sight. The grubs feed on de­com­pos­ing wood or or­ganic mat­ter. Since they don’t live in lawns gnaw­ing grass roots, there is no cause for con­cern.

Adults are at­tracted to light at night. If one shows up, be sure to con­serve it by es­cort­ing to a nat­u­ral spot, prefer­ably with a nice rot­ting tree stump. With­out our in­sects with a taste for de­cay, we’d be up to our eye­balls in rot­ting mat­ter.

I’m get­ting blos­som end rot on my toma­toes, even though I did a soil test two years ago and added lime to raise the pH to the right level. Shouldn’t the lime last for sev­eral years?

Blos­som end rot is a com­mon nu­tri­tional dis­or­der of toma­toes, as well as pep­per, egg­plant, squash and wa­ter­melon. It oc­curs when plant roots don’t pick up enough cal­cium for leaves, stems and fruits.

Ex­ces­sive rain­fall could have leached some of the lime you added out of the root zone. It’s al­ways a good idea to mix a small hand­ful of lime into the plant­ing hole when you plant toma­toes. A fo­liar cal­cium spray may help now.

Blos­som end rot is most typ­i­cally caused by in­suf­fi­cient and ir­reg­u­lar wa­ter­ing. Keep your plant evenly well-wa­tered dur­ing hot, dry pe­ri­ods.

Univer­sity of Mary­land Ex­ten­sion’s Home and Gar­den In­for­ma­tion Cen­ter of­fers free gar­den­ing and pest in­for­ma­tion at ex­ten­sion.umd.edu/hgic. Click “Ask Mary­land’s Gar­den­ing Ex­perts” to send ques­tions and pho­tos.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.