Whether you're simply curious about creepy crawlies or have an established population of insects you'd like to control, LivingWithBugs.com is a great site to explore. Developed by retired Oregon State University entomologist Jack DeAngelis and his wife Elizabeth, a former horticulture inspector for Oregon State Department of Agriculture, LivingWithBugs.com contains a wealth of information about common landscape and structural pests. There are photos to help you identify pests, and each is thoroughly profiled. You'll learn about their life cycles, potential for damage, common host plants, and control recommendations.
Both chemical and IPM control strategies are included for each pest, but the common sense approach to using the most effective, least toxic method based upon the pest's life cycle and its potential for damage is emphasized.
This site contains useful links, including the EPA-sponsored National Pesticide Information Center, a page describing essential pest management tools, a seasonal calendar, and book recommendations for additional reading. If, after exploring this site, you cannot determine which pest is bugging your plants, you can submit a question or, for a fee, send your plant specimen in for expert diagnosis.
Favorite or New Plant
I'm always on the lookout for shade-loving flowering plants, and found crested iris (Iris cristata) at a local nursery three years ago. Although related to bearded iris, crested iris thrives in shade. With its short, dense growth habit and intricate purple-blue flowers, it's perfect for small beds and borders. It enjoys moist, acidic soil, but even in dry shade it spreads into carpets of stiff leaves with attractive flowers that open in spring. There also is a white-flowering crested iris called 'Alba' that can add a splash of light to dark corners in the springtime. Whatever the flower color, crested iris are extremely hardy, tolerating winter lows that dip to -40 degrees F. (Zone 3).
Like the flowers of most iris, the blooms of the crested iris are spectacular, but fleeting. Happily, the 6-inch-tall, dagger-shaped leaves stay an attractive cool green throughout the entire season.