You are invited to a winter gardening class with Justin Butts next Wednesday, August 14, from 10:00am to 12:30pm. The class will be held at the Aransas County Extension office at 892 Airport Road in Rockport, TX 78382.
This class is sponsored by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension and the Master Gardeners of Aransas County.
Winter is a wonderful time to garden in South Texas with beautiful weather, bountiful vegetables, and minimal pest problems. Join us to discover the chemical-free methods we use on our farm to grow healthy, delicious, and prolific produce.
Call the Aransas County Agricultural Extension Office at 361-790-0103 for more information, or go to http://aransas.agrilife.org for more information. There is a $10 registration fee for this class.
The class will be held indoors in the state of the art classroom facility at the Aransas County Extension Office. The class will focus on: 1) preparing the soil for a Fall/Winter garden, 2) companion planting from seed to maximize yield and variety, and 3) controlling pests naturally.
Gardeners of all ages and skill levels are welcome. Even if you have never planted a seed, you will go home with the knowledge to start your own successful winter garden.
What: “Winter Gardening Class” with Justin Butts
When: Wednesday, August 14, from 10:00am to 12:30pm.
Where: Aransas County Extension office 892 Airport Road, Rockport, TX (361) 790-0103
Who: All gardeners of all ages!
Hi, we live in Holiday Beach, lots of animals, birds, insects etc so I do not want to spray the oaks for the worms that are going to be emerging soon. Do you have any suggestions for this huge problem. Thanks so much, Diane
Hello Diane! On our place, we never spray the oaks for web worms. When I first came to our property, in 1999, I built our house in the middle of 40 acres of undeveloped property, which was in the middle of about 200 acres of undeveloped property. We did not have a web worm problem at all out here, just a few random worms dropping on their silken webs, when the property was in a state of nature.
As I started to thin the trees around my yard, and trim the lower branches of the remaining trees, we began to see web worm problem develop in those trees, and as the trees and lower limbs continued to be cleared the web worm problem became worse. The reason for this was that we removed wasps nests as we the trees were cleared. Wasps are the natural enemies of caterpillars, including web worms, and you don’t need to destroy that many wasps’ nests to have a BIG problem with web worms. Web worms proliferate very quickly, and it takes wasps a long time to recuperate when a nest is destroyed. And in some neighborhoods, people never let the wasps come back.
When I began to understand the link between wasps and web worms, I started putting out trichogamma wasps to fight the web worms. Trichogamma wasps are tiny, almost microscopic wasps, and they are voracious eaters of web worms. You can order them from a company called Kunafin in Alpine, and they mail them to you.
For best results, you want to start putting out the trichogamma wasps two weeks before emergence of the web worm, which is already happening, and continue to put them out until the web worms are gone. To put them out, you simply cut the card into one inch strips and nail them to a tree. Trichogamma wasps don’t kill all the web worms, but can significantly dent the population, so they are not such a bad problem.
I have not put them out in years, because we have finally rebuilt our native wasp population, and we don’t have such a bad problem with web worms. Also, the trichogamma wasps are somewhat expensive. In your neighborhood, trichogamma wasps may not help that much, if all the other trees are being sprayed with chemicals, because the chemicals that kill web worms also kill wasps. And of course, killing wasps is what causes the web worms to get so bad.
I would call Bobby Albin, of Albin Exterminating, and ask him to put you on his list of homes to be treated. Bobby Albin is probably the premier expert in Texas on web worms, and he is a very good man. Bobby will tell you your best solutions, and work with you to treat your web worms in a way that is safe for your animals and beneficial insects. Part of finding a solution on your property is to know what is happening on the trees around your property. But Bobby is very busy during web worm season, so call him soon!
Thank you so much for your question, and for seeking natural solutions to these problems! When more of us opt for the natural treatment for web worms, the overall problem will not be nearly so bad! Thanks!
Thanks so much for the advice. I think I will still try the wasps. No one around here sprays, the trees do get pretty badly eaten. But I would rather try it the wasp way first. Thanks so much.
Thank YOU Diane! When we used to employ these trichogamma wasps, we put them out every couple of weeks from three weeks before the web worm emergence until the peak of the web worm season, when the number of worms dropping from the trees begins to decline. There is a fairly narrow window of opportunity when the wasps can attack the emerging worms. The worms wait for a specific range of temperatures to emerge, and they can continue to re-emerge during that ideal temperature range; that is why some years there is a longer season for the web worms than other years. You want to make sure there are wasps available to attack the worms during these recurring periods of worm emergence.
You will cut the paper strips that contain the trichogamma wasps into one inch sections and nail each segment to a tree (each one-inch segment will cover three or four of the surrounding trees, but use them as densely as you can afford). Check this section of paper every couple of days on the tree. You will see the paper begin to clear up of the rough section–that means the wasps are flying off to do their work. Make sure fire ants don’t get on the paper and eat the wasps, as I had happen once. If fire ants get on it, just pull it out and move it to another tree and the wasps will likely be gone before the ants find it again.
Best of luck to you Diane! Let us know how the wasps work. Thanks! Justin
Thanks for the info and instructions, the wasps are supposed to come in today or tomorrow, I can’t wait to start attacking this problem in a good way. Super excited. Thanks again. Diane