Nymphs feeding on stems and leaves in their frothy
masses distort foliage, cause small and seedy berries. Other spittlebugs
are found on grass and garden flowers, even on petunias in a penthouse windowbox; meadow spittlebugs on alfalfa and other crops harass
Control. For ornamentals, spray or dust with benzene hexachloride
or lindane, with DDT dust as a third choice. Dust strawberries with
DDT before fruit forms, then with rotenone.
Springtails are in the insect order Collembola, a group of small insects,
less than 54 inch long, that have no wings and almost no metamorphosis.
They have a forked tail at tip of the abdomen which helps them spring
into the air. They live in decaying vegetable matter and seem to worry
African violet fanciers who make their potting mixtures partly of leaf-
mold or manure.
GARDEN SPRINGTAIL (Bourletiella hortensis)
is a black active species, very
small, 1/25 inch, eating holes in leaves of young plants in seedbeds
Control. Treating the soil with lindane before planting is effective
Saucers and surface of pots can be dusted with chlordane or DDT.
Symphylids usually go by the name of garden centipedes, but they
are not true centipedes, having only 12 pairs of legs, and are more troublesome in greenhouses, where they feed on plant roots, than in gardens.
Soil treatment with lindane controls these small, white active animals.
Termites are in the insect order Isoptera. They are sometimes called
white-ants but can be distinguished from true ants by the broad "waist"
where the abdomen is joined to the thorax (Figure 55B). Subterranean
termites sometimes injure living trees and shrubs, more often in warm
climates. They hollow out the roots and honeycomb stems, causing wilting and death even though the outer stem surface shows no evidence of
termites at work. Normally termites feed on decaying wood, including
garden stakes and boards edging beds. In regions where termites are a
problem, stakes, posts, etc., should be treated with wood preservatives
such as copper sulfate, zinc chloride, or copper naphthenate. Red wood
posts are quite resistant to termite attack. Infested plants should be removed and the soil drenched with chlordane emulsion. Some chemicals
used in termite-proofing house foundations injure shrubs and trees
several feet away, but chlordane can be used without killing plants.
Thrips are tiny insects with rasping-sucking mouthparts, gradual
metamorphosis. They feed by macerating surface layers of plant cells
and sucking up the juices. They belong to the order Thysanoptera, meaning bristle-winged. The membranous part of the wing is reduced to a
thin stick, and this is bordered by many stiff hairs (Figure 57). There
are a number of species attacking flowers and vegetables, fruits, and
shrubs, with the gladiolus thrips probably best known to gardeners.