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Beneficial Robber fly

Florida Keys Plant Clinics

Beneficial lady beetle larva feeding on whiteflies

Beneficial lady beetle larva feeding on whiteflies. Credit: L. Buss, UF/IFAS

Each month, Monroe County Extension Service hosts numerous plant clinics throughout the Florida Keys. This is an opportunity for residents to bring in plant or insect samples for identification, ask questions about what to grow here in zone 11, talk with Master Gardner volunteers about proper planting practices, or discuss any problems in the landscape.

Accurate Identification

By having the problem accurately identified, you can help answer questions like:

Is this a plant pest?
Does this need to be controlled?
What are the safest products available?

Often times when our office is contacted about a problem, control measures have already been taken and failed. This contributes to the overuse of pesticides and can be harmful to beneficial insects and the environment. In fact, according to an EPA 2017 report, U.S. pesticide sales totaled nearly $9 billion in 2012.

So, by utilizing this free service,  you can help reduce pesticide use in the landscape, encourage beneficial insect populations, and learn other pest management strategies.

Best Practices
False blister beetle, can be a nuisance when in homes.

False blister beetle, not considered a pest but can be a nuisance when in homes. Credit: L. Buss, UF/IFAS

If you are coming to the plant clinic and bringing plant or insect samples, please have them sealed in a plastic bag or an appropriate container.

Be prepared to answer questions about the cultural practices on how the plant has been grown: how long ago was it planted, overall appearance of the plant, when were symptoms first noticed, has fertilizer or any chemicals been applied, and are there other plants exhibiting similar symptoms, etc.?

Photos are always helpful, especially if you can’t bring a sample. Take photos of the overall plant and close-ups of the problem. Make sure pictures are clear and in focus.

Plant Clinic Dates

Plant clinics are from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on the dates listed below (excluding holidays). Please check with our office for any date changes if the plant clinic falls on a holiday week.

Key West 1st and 3rd Monday of each month
Suite 2-260, Gato Building, 1100 Simonton Street
Marathon 3rd Saturday of each month
Home Depot Garden Center, 4555 Overseas Hwy
Islamorada 4th Thursday of each month
Island Home Garden Center, 88720 Overseas Hwy
Key Largo 1st and 3rd Wednesday of each month
Suite 244, Murray Nelson Bldg, 102050 Overseas Hwy

For any additional questions, you can contact our office at (305) 292-4501 or monroe@ifas.ufl.edu.

Banner image: Robber fly. Robber flies are excellent predators and can attack other flies, grasshoppers and wasps.

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