Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic Update – April 21, 2017

The following are highlights and updates about samples and questions recently received in the Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic. Visit the PIDC's Facebook page to ask questions and for updates and more pictures. For more information on a particular disease or insect problem listed, follow the article cited.

Diseases and Plant Problems

Coniferous Trees

  Lina Rodriguez Salamanca, Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic 
Ganoderma fruiting bodies (conks) on the base of a tree. Photo credit: Lina Rodriguez Salamanca,Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic

     Rhizosphaera needle cast

     Spruce spider mites

Fruit (small and tree fruit)

     Fruit mummies, brown rot. See our new encyclopedia article on stone fruit brown rot.

Mushroom Identification

     Ganoderma sp, causes Root and Butt Rots of hardwood trees.  See photo below.


We have received questions about jumping worms. Jumping worms have been found in WI and IL, but we do not have any confirmed report in Iowa. To learn more about this invasive species impact see

  1. Jumping Worms: The Creepy, Damaging Invasive You Don’t Know
  2. Voracious Asian jumping worms strip forest floor and flood soil with nutrients

We recommend inspecting plants at arrival at the nursery, before transplanting in the landscape, and examining fishing live bait, mulch or compost as those are ways this invasive moves long distance. If you suspect you have encountered jumping worms please contact us at

Tick season has started, so as you are out enjoying the weather be sure to check yourself carefully for ticks.  So far this year we have identified both blacklegged ticks (aka the deer tick) and the Lone star tick.  Ticks must be attached and feeding to transmit any disease.  Attached ticks should be removed by grasping the tick close to your skin with a pair of tweezers and pulling it firmly out.  See the CDC Website for details and an illustration.  Do not use anything to try to irritate the tick into 'letting go'.  Irritating the tick may result in regurgitation with increases disease transmission risk. 

Ticks found in Iowa are routinely identified to species in the ISU Plant & Insect Diagnostic Clinic.  The $10 “insect” identification fee does apply.  See our article on the Iowa Tick Surveillance Program.

We cannot test ticks for presence of pathogens such as Lyme disease. Further, we agree with the CDC that testing ticks for pathogens is not useful. Click the tab that says testing.

There are a great many variables in the path between tick bite and human disease.  The bottom line is to be aware of any illness, fever or rash within a few weeks of removing a tick.  See your medical specialist and let them know you had a tick bite.


Links to this article are strongly encouraged, and this article may be republished without further permission if published as written and if credit is given to the author, Horticulture and Home Pest News, and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. If this article is to be used in any other manner, permission from the author is required. This article was originally published on April 21, 2017. The information contained within may not be the most current and accurate depending on when it is accessed.