WEEKLY LETHAL WEED PROFILE: NODDING THISTLE

A NODDING THISTLE

Alternative Name(s): Carduus nutans subsp. leiophyllus, Musk Thistle.
Family: Asteraceae.

Form: Herb

Origin: Native of Europe and western Asia.

Flowers/Seedhead: Many small flowers (florets) in solitary heads at ends of branches; florets 20–35 mm long. Flowers spring and summer.

Description: Erect biennial thistle to 2.5 m high. Leaves variable, basal leaves in a rosette, green and often with white midveins, 5–40 cm long, 2–7.5 cm wide, earliest leaves not as deeply lobed, later basal leaves as well as stem leaves deeply dissected.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by spiny winged stems (except just below flower heads) and spiny leaves; leaves hairless or sparsely hairy above and below; bracts around heads hairless, 4–8 mm wide near base, spine-tipped, outer ones reflexed, inner ones spreading to erect; mature heads 2–8 cm wide (including bracts) and erect to slightly nodding; all florets tubular, purple, arising from a hairy receptacle; seeds 4–6 mm long, hairless, topped by numerous simple white bristles (pappus) 15–25 mm long.

Dispersal: Spread by movement of seed.

Confused With: Carduus nutans another nodding thistle with bracts around heads having some hairs and 1.5–3 mm wide near base, and obviously nodding heads.

Notes: First recorded in Queensland near Gympie, but has spread from this area. Only known from Queensland. It appears to grow in warmer areas than C. nutans in Australia. A pasture weed in some areas of south-eastern Queensland and a serious pasture weed in North America.

 

References: Flora of south-eastern Queensland. T. Stanley and E. Ross, Vol. 2, 1986, page 581. The Biology of Australian Weeds. R. Groves et al. (eds), Vol. 1, 1995, pages 29–49.

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Bug Jokes…Get into the festive spirit

Something a bit different….Share these jokes with your family and friends at christmas time and be the hit of the day.

  • Two flies are on the porch. Which one is an actor?
    (The one on the screen!)
  • What is the biggest ant in the world?
    (An eleph-ant!)
  • Why was the baby ant confused?
    (Because all of his uncles were ants!)
  • What do you get when you cross a sheep and a honey bee?
    (Bah-humbug!)
  • How do bees get to school?
    (By school buzz!)
  • Why do bees have sticky hair?
    (Because they have honeycombs!)
  • What do you get when you cross a walrus with a bee?
    (A wallaby!)
  • Why did the bee go to the doctor?
    (Because she had hives!)
  • What do you get if you cross a centipede and a parrot?
    (A walkie-talkie!)
  • How do fleas travel from place to place?
    (By itch-hiking!)
  • What are caterpillars afraid of?
    (Doger-pillars!)
  • What is an insect’s favorite sport?
    (Cricket!)
  • Why did the kid throw the butter out the window?
    (To see the butter fly!)
  • Why didn’t the butterfly go to the dance?
    (Because it was a moth ball!)
  • Two silk worms were in a race. Who won?
    (It was a tie!)
  • What do you get if you cross a tarantula and a rose?
    (I’m not sure, but I wouldn’t try smelling it!)
  • Why are spiders good swimmers?
    (They have webbed feet!)
  • What did the spider say when he broke his new web?
    (Darn it!)
  • Why are frogs so happy?
    (Because they eat what bugs them!)
  • What did one frog say to the other?
    (Time’s sure fun when you’re having flies!)
  • Why was the mother firefly unhappy?
    (Because her children weren’t that bright!)

Source: http://www.enchantedlearning.com  2015 – /jokes/animals/bugs

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Weekly Lethal Pest Profile: Ants

Coastal Brown Ant

Pheidole megacephala

The Coastal Brown Ant, sometimes also called the Big-headed Ant, is an introduced species that is common in urban and agricultural areas. It is the common small brown ant in Brisbane backyards. It occurs throughout the eastern seaboard and at Darwin, Perth and some inland towns.

It usually nests in the ground with nest entrances in the open or under rocks and logs or between pavers. Piles of loose soil are thrown up around nest entrances. It can also nest indoors, in crevices in brickwork, wall cavities, behind skirtings and architraves.

This species does not sting. It can be a nuisance pest in the garden and may enter houses to forage. It has a varied diet but prefers food of animal origin (protein and fats) to sweet foods. However, workers will tend sap-sucking insects for honeydew.

This ant is normally associated with human disturbance but has invaded native bushland in some areas. For example, it has infested monsoonal rainforest patches in the Northern Territory and some coral cays in the Great Barrier Reef. When this occurs the ant can build up to enormous populations and displace native ant species and affect other invertebrates.

Identification

This light brown species is dimorphic, with small minor workers (length 1.5-3.0) and larger major workers (length 3.5-4.5 mm) with massive darker heads. There are many native species of Pheidole that closely resemble the Coastal Brown Ant and require specialist identification to tell apart.

 

Lethal Ant Control On The Gold Coast

Loose soil thrown up around the nest entrances of the Coastal Brown Ant.

 

Gold Coast Ant Treatment Service

Coastal Brown Ants are dimorphic with small minor workers and large major workers which have massive heads.

 

Source: Queensland Museum website 2015, http://www.qm.qld.gov.au/

The Australian Bull Ant

There are about 90 species of these bull ants here in Australia and they are as feared in the ant world as they are by humans. Get this; Queen bull ants have been known to walk straight into the nest of another species of ants, kill their Queen ant and take over the colony.

It doesn’t matter how big you are either, they will attack if they need to.

Get too close to one of these ant colonies and they will be streaming out of their nest and literary chasing you. If this happens to you, don’t be embarrassed, just….

Run away!!

They are very aggressive and have extremely painful venomous stings.

Their sizes range from around 8 mm to 40 mm, the one I saw was at least 20 to 25 mm and bordering on the biggest ant I have ever seen.

Whatever you choose to call them, bull ants, bulldog ants, jumper ants, sergeant ants, inch ants or even Mymecia if you want to get all scientific, it matters not; they are big ants and not to be messed with.

Lethal Pest Control On The Gold Coast

A close up of the Bull Ant

Source: Bob In Oz Website 2015, http://www.bobinoz.com/

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WEEKLY LETHAL WEED PROFILE: ENVIRONMENTAL WEEDS

What is an environmental weed?

Environmental weeds are introduced plants that have naturalised and invaded our bushland, beaches and waterways, threatening our natural environment.

Many environmental weeds were originally introduced and grown as ornamental garden plants. Most environmental weeds are not native to Australia, but some native plants have also become environmental weeds after spreading outside their natural range.

Weeds are usually very hardy plants. They may grow very quickly, reproduce in large amounts and are often tolerant to a wide range of conditions. It is these qualities that make weeds so successful and also make them difficult to control. Weeds commonly thrive where there has been a disturbance to the natural system such as changes in light, nutrients, soil or hydrology. The spread of weeds can be due to animals, wind, water and human activities.

Lethal Weed Control on the Gold Coast

Coastal Morning Glory

Ground weeds

  • Broad Leaf Pepper Tree
  • Camphor Laurel
  • Castor Oil
  • Cats Claw Creeper
  • Coastal Morning Glory
  • Easter Cassia
  • Ground Asparagus
  • Giant Devil’s Fig
  • Lantana
  • Madeira Vine
  • Ochna/Mickey Mouse Bush
  • Singapore Daisy

Water weeds

  • Alligator Weed
  • Cabomba
  • Salvinia

 

Source: City Of Gold Coast Website, 2015

 

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WEEKLY PEST PROFILE: THE AUSTRALIAN COCKROACH

Australian Cockroach – Periplaneta australasiae


Description:        The Australian Cockroach is one of the largest pest cockroaches that invades our homes and is around 4cm long.  This cockroach is not native to our country as the name suggests, but was introduced here from Africa several centuries ago.  It has since been spread throughout much of the world through trade and human activity.  In Australia, we also have the American Cockroach, which is almost identical to the Australian Cockroach.  The Australian Cockroach can be found in any warm, moist areas and will often live outdoors in wood piles, compost bins, mulch and hollow logs.  However, many will venture into our homes in search of food, water and to shelter from extreme weather.  In our houses they prefer warm, dark places such as water pipes, sinks, toilets, inside cupboards, under fridges & stoves and even inside electrical appliances such as TV’s, microwaves and telephones!

A male Australian Cockroach

Life Cycle:        Female Australian Cockroaches lay their eggs in a small purse-shaped case called an ootheca.  Each one contains around 14-16 eggs.  On average a female will lay one ootheca per month, but they have been known to produce several a week!  The ootheca is either dropped onto the ground, or glued onto a flat surface.

Favourite foods:    The Australian Cockroach is omnivorous, which means they can eat pretty much anything!  Outdoors, they will forage on decaying animal and vegetable matter, but they will often come into our houses to scavenge for food scraps.  The Australian Cockroach has a bit of a sweet tooth, so loves fruit, honey or anything sugary.  They have also been known to eat hair, leather shoes, animal hides, dead insects, nail clippings, book bindings and paper.

Defence tactics:    Australian cockroaches are one of the fastest insects on the planet.  When threatened by a predator the cockroach runs and can cover a distance of one meter in a single second!  That’s fast!  The Australian cockroach also has a slippery wax called a cuticle covering its body.  This helps it to wiggle into small cracks and cervices where it can hide from danger.  This wax has a very distinctive scent and is the reason why large infestations of cockroaches often smell really bad!

The long spiny legs of the Australian Cockroach help it run very fast over just about any kind of surface.

Fascinating Facts:
•    The Australian Cockroach has excellent hearing.  Their ears are located on each knee joint of their six legs and are so sensitive that they can detect earthquakes that measure a mere 0.07 on the Richter Scale.
•    Their antennae are comprised of 356 segments, with each one responsible for picking up certain messages from their environment.
•    The Australian Cockroach has excellent vision and can even see in infrared!

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WEEKLY PEST PROFILE: Rodents

Rodents

Rats and mice

In Queensland, there could be up to twenty-four native species of rodents. However, it is the three introduced species that have become such pests to society:

  • Brown Rat (or Sewer Rat): a burrower, is thick set and brown in colour.
  • Roof Rat: a climber, is slender and black in colour.
  • House Mouse: can be distinguished by its small size.

The presence of rats and mice in buildings can result in food spoilage and contamination, physical damage caused by gnawing which can sometimes lead to costly fires, and the transmission of diseases to humans.

The most common disease transmitted by rats is Salmonellosis which is spread when food is consumed by humans which has been contaminated by excreta or saliva of rats.

In Queensland, introduced rats have been associated with the spread of Plague (the last outbreak being in 1923), Weils Disease, Rat Bite Fever, Murine Typhus and a form of Meningitis, all of which may result in serious illness or death. (Note: Plague and Murine Typhus are transmitted by rat fleas.)

How do you detect rodents?

  • damage to food containers or droppings
  • rat runs (lines in the dust or greasy smears on walls and fences worn by the rat)
  • disappearance of food
  • sounds during the night
  • gnaw marks or burrows.

(Source: City of Gold Coast Offical Website 2015)

 

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WEEKLY LETHAL WEED PROFILE: MULLUMBIMBY COUCH

WEEKLY LETHAL WEED PROFILE: MULLUMBIMBY COUCH

A long-lived grass-like plant with long underground runners and upright flowering stems up to 40 cm tall. Its upright stems are three-angled in cross-section and only 0.5-1.5 mm thick. Its bright green leaves (1-3 mm wide) are hairless and sheath the stem at the base. Its pale green seed-heads (6-7 mm long) have three or four green leafy bracts at the base and contain numerous small flower spikelets. Its ‘seeds’ are yellow to reddish-brown in colour and topped with a small projection 1-1.5 mm long.

COMMON NAMES
Also known as: Globe kyllinga, Perennial greenhead sedge, Short-leaf flatsedge,

FAMILY
Cyperaceae

DECIDUOUS
No

FLOWERING TIME
Year round

NATIVE/EXOTIC
Exotic

ORIGIN
This species is widespread in the tropical, sub-tropical and warmer temperate regions of the world and its exact origin in obscure. However, some authors believe it to be native to tropical Asia and the warmer temperate regions of China and Japan.

NOTIFIABLE
No

COUNCIL DECLARATION
SIL – Special Investigation List

KNOWN DISTRIBUTION
This species is very widely naturalised in the coastal and sub-coastal regions of Australia. It is particularly common in the northern and eastern parts of the country (i.e. in the northern parts of Western Australia and the Northern Territory, insouth-eastern, central and northern Queensland, in eastern New South Wales and in the ACT).

HABITAT
A widespread weed that prefers damp and shady habitats. It is most commonly found in gardens, footpaths, lawns, roadsides, pastures, disturbed sites and waste areas, but is also a weed of riparian vegetation, wetlands and some crops.

HABIT
A long-lived (i.e. perennial) grass-like plant with long underground runners (i.e. rhizomes) and upright flowering stems 5-40 cm tall.

(Source: brisbane.qld.gov.au 2015) http://ow.ly/i/dd7Zk

Weed Spray Service on the Gold Coast

We do Pest and Weed control in the Gold Coast area. Contact us today for a free no-obligation quote. Each week we will update our blog with a new interesting post on pest and weed control on the sunny gold coast.