Adults are very small, 1/14 inch long,
reddish to orange yellow, with long slender legs and 2 frail wings. They
lay eggs at the top of new growth, and the maggots bore into the tissue.
The plant develops galls in response to the irritation caused by their
feeding. Pupation is in the galls, but the pupa is then pushed nearly out
of the gall before the midge emerges between midnight and daybreak.
A short life cycle, 35 days, means several generations in greenhouses; I
have noted at least two in gardens.
Control. Two applications of lindane, 1 teaspoon of 25% emulsion or
1 to 11/2 tablespoons of wettable powder to 1 gallon of water, effectively
control this midge in greenhouses. DDT is also effective but may require
ROSE MIDGE (Dasyneura rhodophaga).
Confined to roses, this midge was
first a greenhouse enemy and is now a sporadic but devastating
garden pest, with injury often showing up unexpectedly in mid or late
summer. Plants that seem particularly thrifty with luxuriant foliage suddenly cease blooming, and when you examine the bushes closely you find
tiny flower buds black and crisp, or older buds with bent, blackened
necks. The female midge, 1/20 inch long, red to yellow brown, lays small
yellow eggs on succulent growth, or behind sepals of flower buds. Whitish maggots feed inside the buds and in new shoots, mature in 5 or 6
days, then drop to the ground to spin a cocoon. The adult emerges so
promptly an entire generation can be completed in 20 days.
Control. The old method of tobacco dust on the soil was quite ineffective compared to the efficient job now done by DDT. As soon as there
is the slightest indication of midge injury, spray soil and bushes thoroughly with DDT, using 2 tablespoons 50% wettable powder per gallon
and repeating at least twice more at 7- to 10-day intervals. The DDT can
be applied separately or added to a general all-purpose spray, but if the
treatment is thorough and combined with pruning out infested shoots,
roses will begin to bloom again very quickly. I speak from personal experience.
Because of their wiry, hard-shelled bodies gardeners frequently mistake
millipedes for wireworms. They are quite different. The wireworm is a
true insect, larva of a click beetle, with the usual 6 legs; its body is hard,
long and wirelike, but straight. A millipede is not an insect but belongs
to the animal class Diplopoda, so named because it has 2 pairs of legs on