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The upper side of a snout butterfly's wings is orange, dark brown and white. PHOTOS BY ARTY SCHRONCE

Consumer Qs, June 6, 2017

By Arty Schronce, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Georgia Department of Agriculture

www.agr.georgia.gov

Editor’s note: “Consumer Qs” by Arty Schronce is written for gardeners throughout Georgia and may include plants not permitted in Big Canoe. For Big Canoe Property Owners who may want to check whether a plant is allowed, please refer to the POA’s Approved Plant List https://www.bigcanoepoa.org/getmedia/b668254f-a001-418c-ad94-3873707c5444/Approved-Plant-List.aspx

Question (Q): Can you identify a small butterfly that has been visiting my verbena? It has what appears to have a beak or long nose and is grayish brown with rusty orange, dark brown and white on the upper side of its wings. Does it bite? Is it even a butterfly?

Answer (A): It is definitely an American snout butterfly, also known as the "common snout butterfly" or simply "snout butterfly." The snout is the butterfly’s most distinctive feature, and it is the only butterfly in our area to have one. It is composed of extended mouthparts. When the butterfly folds its wings completely it can look like a dead leaf with the snout resembling the leaf’s petiole, a camouflage to protect against hungry birds, perhaps.

Snout butterflies lay their eggs on hackberry trees, and the green caterpillars feed on the leaves. They do not harm the trees.

Adult snout butterflies feed at verbena, goldenrod, clasping heliotrope, dogwood, clethra, anise hyssop, native asters, joe-pye weed, gomphrena, zinnia, Indian hemp/common dogbane, boneset and numerous other flowers.

Snout butterflies do not bite. They may land on you, however, to get salt from your perspiration. When one of the butterflies lands on you, it does not hurt you in any way. It merely unrolls its feeding tube and picks up a little nutrition from the surface of your skin. You may not feel anything or you may notice a slight tickle. Whether you attribute this action to bravery, an overwhelming need of nutrients or confidence in its flying ability, it is a fascinating experience.  As far as flying ability is concerned, the snout is a fairly rapid and strong flyer. And it is shaped a little like the Concorde.

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There are numerous kinds of black-eyed Susans. You may find them growing wild in
meadows and old pastures, along roadsides or in the most cultivated of gardens.

Q: Are there different kinds of black-eyed Susans? I have seen some that have much larger flowers than others.

A: There are several species and subspecies of what we call "black-eyed Susan," and plant breeders and horticulturists have selected and created different varieties and forms of black-eyed Susans. Probably the most common species you will encounter in the wild or in a garden is Rudbeckia hirta.

All the black-eyed Susans like sunny locations and are excellent cut flowers. They are easy to grow from seeds. Nurseries may also have plants for sale. They pair well with garden phlox, purple coneflower, butterflyweed, baptisia, goldenrod, Adam’s needle yucca, ornamental grasses and many other annuals and perennials.

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Your cat's first line of defense against fleas is a flea comb and a good bath.

Q: Will brewer’s yeast protect my cat from fleas?

A: Tests have shown that Brewer’s yeast does not protect cats or dogs from fleas. Your pet’s first line of defense against fleas is a flea comb and a good bath. Flea combs have fine teeth that remove adult fleas from fur. Pay special attention to the face, neck and the area in front of the tail. Dip the comb frequently in soapy water or an alcohol solution to kill the fleas you remove.

There are numerous treatments for cats and dogs including insect growth regulators that interrupt the flea’s life cycle and topical insecticidal treatments that have low toxicity to mammals and pose little risk to pets or people. Consult your veterinarian or visit a pet store for over-the-counter options. Always follow all label directions carefully for safety and for best results when using any pesticide or chemical.

Q: My blueberries seem to ripen a few at a time. Is this normal?

A: Blueberries ripen over a period of weeks. You pick the ripe ones and leave the rest to ripen later. For home growers like yourself, picking may seem tedious and it may take longer to fill your bucket, but it also means you can be gone for several days or more and still come home to blueberries ripening on your bushes.

If you have questions about agriculture, horticulture, food safety or services or products regulated by the Georgia Department of Agriculture, write Arty Schronce (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or visit the department’s website at www.agr.georgia.gov.

 

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