We have received many emails this week about ‘home invasions’ of odd-looking bugs. In each case, the culprits were boxelder bugs. Although easily recognized as adults, the partially mature phase (nymphs) can be unfamiliar.
Nymphs and adults aggregate in large groups, especially on light-colored homes with a warm-facing side. The concern for damage on ornamental or fruit trees is low. Rather, these are considered a nuisance pest. The sheer and sudden numbers of them is what causes calls to come in.
Over the past few days, I have seen 300+ cabbage looper moths in traps next to fields that aren’t even out of the ground yet, and been texted twice about flea beetle damage. It seems it will be a busy year for brassica pests!
All the more reason to subscribe! Stay informed by clicking here. We do not share your information, and many of the pests we report on have wide host ranges, which means the data are relevant for home gardens, nurseries, and many commodity crops.
…An uncommon phrase to hear in agriculture, but recent floods will have a dramatic effect and have already caused an estimated $12.5 billion dollar loss in the Midwest. Impacts include crop damage, inability to access fields to work ground or plant, and water contamination.
Here at home, the mainstem of the Willamette River and its tributaries (Long Tom, Mary’s, Callapooia) are in huge swells, with property flooding and road closures abundant. For current updates, check Benton and Linn County webpages or ODOT TripCheck.
From an insect pest point-of-view, the changes that may come about are uncertain, but I will be keeping a close ‘eye to the ground’. Flooding could cause mortality for some species (onion bulb mite, beetles, sawflies), promote growth in others (armyworms, mosquitoes), and have little effect on bugs that overwinter in sheltered areas (BMSB and ladybugs).
‘Twas a dreary day when I could finally get out to our research farm to assess damage to fields. However, our farm manager is resilient and those that have lived here longer say it’s “not that big of a deal”. I guess when you live in Oregon with 300 days of rain, you make your own mental sunshine.
Some current hypotheses (from processors, OSU plant clinic, researchers, growers, field reps):
1. The damage may have been caused by heat stress during a critical time of development. In May and again in July, there were extreme variations of temperature:
2. Auxins are phytohormones known to regulate growth processes in plants, and can spike rapidly in response to heat-shock. Increased auxin levels can ‘present’ as abnormal root growth or phototropism, which was noted at some of the sites:
As auxins move throughout the plant, the gradient shifts and, at least in other types of plants, declining levels causes leaves or petioles to break off. I don’t know much about abscission zones in broccoli, so if you are still reading, please know that these are just my rambling thoughts, and not an official diagnosis. 🙂
3. Another possibility is that young plants were sensitive to residual carryover from synthetic auxin herbicides (2,4-D, Dicamba, Fluroxypyr) remaining in the soil, which is possible with a grass-brassica rotation.
Recently, there has been some concern about odd symptoms of wilting and reduced stands in broccoli and cauliflower here in the Willamette Valley. See photos below.
Symptoms include: Weakened stems – necrosis of lower leaves – poor stand – girdling/calloused tissue at soil level – stem breakage – possible association with weed hosts – abnormal root growth
NOTE: AT THIS TIME, I HAVE ONLY EDUCATED GUESSES OF WHAT MIGHT BE CONTRIBUTING FACTORS TO THE FOLLOWING SYMPTOMS IN BRASSICA FIELDS. THIS ISSUE IS CURRENTLY UNDER INVESTIGATION IN CONJUNCTION WITH FIELD FACULTY AND DIAGNOSTIC LABS.
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.
In anticipation of this month’s release of Oregon’s Agricultural Progress research magazine, I wanted to put a brief post up to help orient OAP readers.
As you saw in the article, VegNet uses an email marketing platform to inform program subscribers about insect pesttrends throughout the Willamette Valley. Our readership includes vegetable growers, crop consultants, and home gardeners from across the country.
The blog now has a ‘search by category‘ function located at left, if you are interested in a particular insect, or just want an easy way to browse through content. There is also an FAQ page. Or, you could go here to view all the reports from last year.
If this program interests you at all, please do join the mailing list to be included this season. Pest reports are delivered straight to your inbox, once a week, and only between April and October. The program is free, and you can unsubscribe at any time.
As in..not quite the attention-grabbing, human-adored, delightful critters known as butterflies, but we are here today to petition that moths are just as important!
National Moth Week celebrates the beauty, life cycles, and habitats of moths. “Moth-ers” of all ages and abilities are encouraged to learn about, observe, and document moths in their backyards, parks, and neighborhoods. National Moth Week is being held, worldwide, during the last full week of July (which isJULY 22-30th this year). NMW offers everyone, everywhere a unique opportunity to become a Citizen Scientist and contribute scientific data about moths. Through partnerships with major online biological data depositories, NMW participants can help map moth distribution and provide needed information on other life history aspects around the globe. More information can be found here.
Search the map to find an event near you, but I will tell you – we are the only one in Oregon so far! We hosted a booth at the Farmer’s Market to get the word out, and it was a huge success. There is also a moth walk planned for July 22nd, co-sponsored by Oregon State Arthropod Collection (OSAC) and Greenbelt Land Trust. More info here. UPDATE: EVENT FULL!
Better yet, create your own backyard mothing event! This document has some great tips on how to view and photograph moths. Then comes the fun part! Upload your findings to iNaturalist.org or a similar service. You do not need to be able to identify the species, others will help!
Good Luck, Have Fun, and Thanks for Your Help promoting and documenting this important group of insects!!
WEEK 13: Early earworms; diamondback overlap – FULL REPORT HERE
Diamondback Moths are one of the smallest crop pest moths one is likely to encounter, but damage can be extensive. Part of the problem is their capacity to reproduce quickly, which leads to population buildup in a very short time. This is temperature-dependent and if not monitored, can catch growers off guard.
Corn Earworm is normally considered a late-season pest, but trends so far this year suggest a pattern similar to 2014, which resulted in a boom of moths in August, just as corn is silking. Larvae feed on corn silks and burrow into the ears. The resulting damage and frass (insect poop!) can cause delays in processing, or reduction of fresh-market value. This page shows how to identify corn earworm adult moths.
VegNet was featured in the July-Aug issue of OSU Linn & Benton Cty Extension’s Newsletter! Click photo to read the article.
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Diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella) is the most serious insect pest of Brassica crops (including cabbage, broccoli, etc), both in the US and worldwide. Economic impact estimates exceed $4 billion annually.
One of the reasons DBM is so hard to manage is because it quickly develops resistance to insecticides. In fact, (IR) has been noted in over 600 cases, for nearly 100 unique active ingredients such as carbamates, pyrethroids, and spinosyns. The most recent concern of IR is within the diamide insecticides. Diamide products that Willamette-Valley brassica producers rely on include chlorantraniliprole, cyantraniliprole, and flubendiamide. Trade names are Coragen, Exirel, and Synapse. We are currently conducting research to test for IR in regional populations of DBM and related pests.
Scientists at Cornell University have developed an “insecticide-free management approach” that involves releasing genetically-modified DBM moths into the landscape to cause eventual mortality of females. This research, while novel, is also controversial. Cornell has applied for a permit to make field releases of their transgenic moths in NY state. An environmental assessment has been conducted by USDA-APHIS, and public comment is welcome until MAY 19th, 2017.
Over 500 people currently subscribe to VegNet, a 28% increase from just 3 years ago. During the transition from the old format (static webpage) to this new (blog), we’ve migrated the list of all subscribers. I put together a graphic to get an idea of what type of people utilize the service.
A few key points:
The VegNet program is doing what it’s supposed to;
serving as a frontline IPM resource for the agricultural community.
Everyone is welcome! Whether you are a student, home gardener, ag producer, policy maker, or armchair biologist – please feel free to join us! Subscribe to the weekly newsletter (box at left) and review this post of how to interpret data tables.
A note to current subscribers: If you would like to identify with one of the industry categories above, drop me a line and I’ll update your info. And most importantly: THANK YOU ALL for utilizing and supporting this program!
Stay tuned! The first report of the season will be published on or before April 14th.
In the meantime, good luck with spring plantings!
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Update: Thanks to geolocation technology, I can now access broad, general data about where VegNet reports are being read. Don’t worry – this does not go deeper than state level, and the location is not associated with your email address. That is, I’m not ‘spying’, just excited to see so many VegNet followers “East of the Mississippi”!
This made me wonder if some of these supporters are researchers at peer land-grant institutions. Which, of course, led to an excuse to make another cool graphic ☺