University of Maryland Extension: Garden Q&A
Q: My friend’s puppy is throwing up some kind of larvae that the vet said not a normal animal parasite. We figure she ate something out in the yard. Can you identify this thing from the attached photos? We are stumped and dog is in distress.
A: After looking at the photos, our entomologist has identified it as a type of cutworm, Noctua pronuba, the larvae of the large yellow underwing moth. This cutworm is unusual because it is a winter feeder. High numbers of them can show up in winter, feeding at night on lawns or agricultural fields planted with a winter cover crop. Your puppy must have gorged himself on one of these larval outbreaks.
Q: My feet stuck to the floor under my schefflera plant when I moved it. The stickiness seems to be sap on all the leaves and being deposited on my floor underneath. New leaves are not affected yet. Symptoms seem to be getting worse.
A: Scheffleras are often infested by mealybugs or scale insects, both of which excrete a sticky substance commonly known as "honeydew." Mealybugs are white, fuzzy, and found in the crotches of plants. Since you do not report anything looking like that, we suspect that your schefflera has a species of scale insect.
Scale insects look like small bumps on stems or leaf undersides (that is why their honeydew fell on the top of the leaves beneath). Look closely and you will see them. They are protected by a small shell like a turtle. You can spray them with insecticidal oil or soap. You'll need to apply it at least once a week for three weeks. Stem-infesting scale can also be wiped or scraped off.
You may want to try a systemic houseplant insecticide which would be absorbed into the plant. Scales are difficult pests to eradicate. During treatment, isolate your schefflera from other plants so the scale does not spread. It can be so persistent that it is wiser to dispose of the plant and buy another one.
Check out: http://plantdiagnostics.umd.edu/level3.cfm?causeID=723 and http://plantdiagnostics.umd.edu/level3.cfm?causeID=691 for photos and control.