…the slimy worm-looking things covering the sidewalks around campus this week. They are the immature form of craneflies, commonly known as leatherjackets.

     

I’m hoping it’s not too late to save our campus lawns, but by the time this kind of damage is apparent, insecticides may not be effective. By mid-May, the leatherjackets will pupate then hatch into adults. Adults are harmless (other than a nuisance).

Maintaining grass health is the best defense against craneflies. Monitoring should be done from January to March, when larvae are feeding underground. More information is available at: http://whatcom.wsu.edu/cranefly/Index.htm

Heavy infestation of leatherjackets (marker = approx. 2″)
turf damage
Grass can be pulled up like a carpet if severe cranefly damage has been done (CLICK FOR VIDEO).

Participating in the OSU Extension Open House last night was fun and rewarding (thanks, staff!!). I enjoy outreach events and inevitably learn something from interacting with the public.

Yesterday’s conversations led to today’s topic: “Problems with my PEAS”

In the span of two hours, three different citizens came to me wondering why their early-planted peas are being “attacked by an unidentified marauder” (direct quote).

All 3 inquiries were similar and there were some important clues present: leaves are being damaged from the edge inward (chewing mouthparts); not cut off at soil level (cutworm); nothing obvious when scouting at night.

The probable pest producing pack perturbation

IS ….

Pea Leaf Weevil !

(More info available in the pest profile section)

Captain Turbot; endless enthusiast of echoic expressions ©Nickelodeon

 

WEEK 0: Spring has sprung and we need field sites. Broccoli plantings will be starting soon, cooperating growers are encouraged to contact me to reserve their spot. Cutworms and armyworms are likely going to be a problem this year.

Many have been spotted already, even on campus sidewalks (see below)! This species is especially fond of ryegrass and orchardgrass, and outbreaks have occurred in western Oregon.

©2018 Ben Phalen, used with permission

 

So..why did the caterpillar cross the road? Because it overwinters as a partially mature larvae and peristaltic searching mobility increases when ambient temperatures exceed 10°C, of course!

 

 

 

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