What’s bugging you?

Pima County Urban Horticulture Agent Peter Warren

Pima County Urban Horticulture Agent Peter Warren

Pam Boedeker

Peter Warren, Urban Horticulture Agent for the Pima County Cooperative Extension at the University of Arizona was the speaker at SaddleBrooke Nature Club’s February meeting. Peter’s fascination with bugs began with grandparents who made learning fun! Peter studied, collected and grew up to find a job doing what he loved!

Remember the drawings in your science book of the three parts of a bug? Abdomen, thorax and head! (Did you remember?) Our program began with basic bug information presented with colorful photos and interesting facts. There are a million insect species with millions more yet to be identified!

Peter’s focus was arthropods, insects in particular. They are the only arthropods with wings and the ability to fly. Beetles make up 40% of the insect class!

Peter’s knowledge of insects is of great value to homeowners, landscape professionals and urban farmers. He helps them by promoting integrated pest management and other best management practices for horticulture in the Sonoran Desert.

If some bug is eating your plants there are three pieces of information you need to gather before you put the insect in a jar and go for help.

1. Where did you find the insect?

2. What was it eating?

3. How many legs does it have?

With that information your local nursery, Pinal County Extension Agent, or Peter at 520-626-5161 should be able to help you. The door prize, 50 Common Insects of the Southwest by Carl Olson, is also an excellent resource.

Peter encourages diversity in landscape materials, use of native species and safe pest control products used correctly. Of course, there are times in which ultra-effective pest control methods from professionals such as Stop Bugging Me Now are necessary, especially when there is a full-blown infestation that is causing mayhem to your property. No one wants hundreds of pests living in their home! If you’ve ever experienced a pest infestation, you’ll know how unpleasant they can be which is why companies like terminix are so popular.

Being a bug enthusiast, Peter wanted to end his presentation with positive thoughts about insects. They are necessary to pollenate our crops. They have commercial uses such as the dye from that white colored stuff on your prickly pear that turns magenta. They aid in decomposition and are food for other animals.

A field trip to Tucson Farm Village on North Campbell will be the follow-up to this presentation.

For information about upcoming meetings and fieldtrips check out the SaddleBrooke Nature Club’s website www.SaddleBrookeNatureClub.com.