90 articles tagged "Insect and Mite Management".

As you prepare to fill your high tunnels and greenhouses or even field plots, take a close peek at the weeds in your area. There can be some sneaky pests that have overwintered on the plant material in and around your farm. In high tunnels in particular, I have recently found overwintering populations of two spotted spider mites and a variety of aphid species. Before you put those tender little transplants into these environments, be sure to get rid of the straggling weeds and insects. Remove the plant material, move it away from your growing space, and allow some down time before you move the new crops in. Aphids and mites can not survive without living plant material. They will not overwinter in the soil, they need to be feeding on active growing plant material. Happy growing season!


While not a new technology, I thought it timely to talk about the use of yellow sticky cards as a monitoring tool. These cards will not manage insect pests in your crops, but can be a very valuable monitoring tool in high tunnels and greenhouses. Many of the insect pests that migrate into our crops move on wind currents (aphids and mites for example) or the people working in these spaces. Strategically placing sticky cards around the borders of a planting, where they can intercept wind currents, or along high traffic areas, is a great strategy for monitoring early signs of infestations. Considerations: The industry has come to the consensus that yellow sticky cards are the best tool. There is no need to invest in cards with other colors. Some cards also contain pheromones, an added chemical to attract a particular pest. For general monitoring this is not necessary. For[Read More…]


When houseplants and garden seedlings are kept too wet, roots can rot and the fungus that grows in the soil can feed fungus gnats. For houseplants, fungus gnats are usually just a nuisance. When growing seedlings or in a greenhouse adults can spread fungal diseases to flowers. Larvae can spread fungal diseases when they feed on roots. Where to fungus gnats come from?  Fungus gnats can get in the home when plants are brought in from outside, or when transplanting plants with infested potting soil. How do you manage fungus gnats? Avoid overwatering your plants. Plants need less water in cloudy days in winter and spring. As such, it is easy to overwater plants if you water by the calendar.   It is better to check you plants to see if they need water by touching the surface to see if it is dry. After you water, do not let plants[Read More…]


As the days grow shorter and those of you who adventure into winter production begin to prepare your seed starts, keep an eye out for unwanted invaders. Pests such as thrips, mites and aphids may be on the move as our field production dwindles, and nothing is tastier than a tiny new plant! In order to increase the success of winter production, be sure that you are starting with clean plants before you tuck them away under those cozy row covers! Controlling weeds, which can serve as alternative hosts to the aphid pests, will lessen problems of re-infestation. Scout with diligence for aphids, they can be one of the most damaging and hard to control pests during the winter months in high tunnels. The first step to managing aphids is to develop a scouting plan. Aphids reproduce clonally and develop quickly leading to very large population build-up in a short[Read More…]


The sweet corn variety plots at Pinney Purdue provide a good chance to observe sweet corn insects. In late July I observed two caterpillars that surprised me. The first was European Corn Borer (ECB), in the tassel where they are often found (Figures 1 & 2). It was a surprise because I have seen many fewer of these in the sweet corn plots in recent years. I understand from the entomologists that it is due to the widespread use of Bt field corn that has resulted in much lower populations of ECB. The week of Aug. 19 I observed an ECB egg mass on a flag leaf and a young larva on the ear (Figures 3 & 4). The second late July observation was a corn earworm (CEW)–the insect itself is not surprising, but it was in the tassel! (Figures 5-8). I have previously only seen them in ears. The[Read More…]


Fig. 1 Corn earworm adult on silk. Photo courtesy John Obermeyer.

We have begun our state-wide trapping and monitoring program for corn earworm (Figure 1). The latest trap catch information can be found here. Traps have been placed at each of the eight Purdue Agricultural Centers throughout the state. Trap catches at the reporting farms are already in the double digits. Please refer to E-31 to learn more about corn earworm identification and management. Management and insecticide sprays target the eggs that are laid, preferably on fresh corn silk. If no field corn in the area is silking, which is true for most this year, use a threshold of 1-3 moths per night per pheromone trap. You only need to spray your sweet corn if it has silk present. When field corn begins to silk and green silk is present the threshold increases to 10 moths per night. Eggs are laid individually on developing silk. They hatch within 2-5 days and[Read More…]


Figure 2. Yellow striped army worm feed on strawberry fruit.

At the Southwest Purdue Ag Center, we are studying annual strawberry production on plastic mulch. Our hope is to gather information for best production practices in our area. As we learn about insect and disease problems, we will pass this information on to producers. This article is about the insect pests we have observed in our strawberries that were planted in March 2019. Armyworm– Toward the end of the spring harvest, we observed significant damage on strawberry fruit caused by armyworms. Beet armyworm and yellowstriped armyworm larvae were found in the field (Figure 1 and 2).  They feed on both green and ripe strawberries. More than 30% fruit became unmarketable because of the insect feeding. Damage was also observed on flowers. Armyworms also cause significant damage when they chew on strawberry crowns and leaves of summer-planted young strawberry plants. Midwest Fruit Pest Management Guide provides several options for controlling the[Read More…]


Figure 3. Cucumber cultivar Taurus were grown in the front, cultivar Corinto was grown in the back.

Supported by NC SARE (LNC17-390), we are continuing research for improving high tunnel cucumber production. One of the biggest challenges for growing cucumbers in high tunnels in the summer is two-spotted spider mites. Dry and hot environments featured in high tunnels allow two-spotted spider mite populations to increase rapidly. The mites cause leaf yellowing, necrosis, and defoliation that interfere with plant photosynthesis. Yield can be significantly reduced. The pest also causes direct damage on cucumber fruit, resulting in a sandpaper-like texture to the rind (Figure 1). Early detection is the key for controlling two-spotted spider mites. As soon as two-spotted spider mites are detected, control efforts need to be taken. In the early stage, yellowish specks on the upper side of the leaves may be noticed (Figure 2). Turn the leaf over, on the other side of where the yellow specks are, you may find the presence of two-spotted spider[Read More…]


Figure 1: A cantaloupe plant surrounded by striped cucumber beetles that have died after feeding on a plant treated with an imidacloprid product.

I know this may not come as a surprise to most of you, but it is rare that we get to observe the effectiveness of insecticides in such a dramatic way as we encountered when visiting a melon grower in southern IN recently. And in this case, the decision to apply an insecticide at transplant was a good one. In the photo below (Figure 1), one can see an accumulation of dead striped cucumber beetles that have fed upon a cantaloupe seedling that was treated with an imidacloprid soil drench (Trade names include: Admire Pro®, Macho®, Midashe Forte®, Montana®) at transplant 14 days prior to the photo being taken. The beetles are dead because they fed upon the cantaloupe plant and ingested the imidacloprid. Therefore, the plants were protected from defoliation by the beetles, but what about bacterial wilt? Did the act of feeding, however brief, cause bacterial wilt to[Read More…]


Seed Corn Maggot in cucurbit stem. Photo credit John Obermeyer.

In addition to delaying much of our fieldwork, the cool set spring has wreaked havoc on some of the plants we have been able to squeeze in during brief dry periods. We have received reports of damage caused by seedcorn maggots (Figure 1) and wireworms (Figure 2). In preparation of this article I browsed the Vegetable Crops Hotline archives and came across eight articles published by Rick Foster. What do they have in common? Associations with weather and limited strategies for control. Capture LFR® remains the only product labeled and for wireworms only. Rick Foster did some work with this product and had some promising results. Seedcorn maggots typically lay their eggs in organic matter and feed on seed in the soil, however, they can also cause damage in cucurbit transplants. The adults are active in April and May laying eggs in the field. When soil temperatures reach 70°F the[Read More…]


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