We use available tools such as historical datasets, published scientific literature, and growing-degree day models to estimate how flight activity of adult insects relates to development and subsequent potential for larval pressure.
1. ActivityClick to see the full-size image. It describes how to read and interpret a VegNet data table.
“Phenology is a key component of life on earth. Many birds time their nesting so that eggs hatch when insects are available to feed nestlings….insect emergence is often synchronized with leafing out in their host plants. For many people, allergy season starts when particular flowers bloom—earlier flowering means earlier allergies. Farmers and gardeners need to know when to plant to avoid frosts, and they need to know the schedule of plant and insect development to decide when to apply fertilizers and pesticides. Many interactions in nature depend on timing. In fact, phenology affects nearly all aspects of the environment, including the abundance, distribution, and diversity of organisms, ecosystem services, food webs, and the global cycles of water and carbon.” Source: USA National Phenology Network, www.usanpn.org
Regional traps are placed near vegetable production fields – Trap counts detect comparative increases in moth flights – if a growing-degree day model is available for the species, we use it to estimate when larvae might be present. This process is highlighted in the photos below: adult moths (A) lay eggs (E), eggs turn into larvae (L) (caterpillars), which have potential to damage crops. Sometimes, pupae (P) can be a concern as well.
The regional nature of this program helps us estimate ‘per-site point-concerns’ versus landscape-level issues. Comparing trends to prior years is one of the strongest aspects of this program.