Identifying blister beetles

From the UT Crops News blog

Author: Sandy Steckel, Extension Assistant

Occasionally, you catch a blister beetle in a sweep net sample in Tennessee soybeans. These large, showy adult beetles may also feed in clusters and defoliate the plants. Defoliation of soybeans in an area a big as a pickup truck is not a concern, but if it occurs over a large area, such as the size of a barn, treatment is warranted.

Blister beetles are members of the insect family Meloidae. This family includes over 300 North American species and more than 2500 species worldwide. Blister beetles get their name because when disturbed, they secrete a defensive toxin called cantharidin from glands at their leg joints, which may cause blisters or even oozing lesions upon contact with skin. This defense mechanism is referred to as “reflex bleeding”. So please, do not handle these insects! Also, cantharidin is highly toxic when ingested and irritates the gastrointestinal and urinary tracts of animals and may lead to death, especially in horses. Therefore, blister beetles are a concern to hay producers throughout Tennessee.

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Texas A&M entities helping understand, monitor Chagas disease

To keep both animals and humans protected from Chagas disease, Texas A&M University System entities have been studying the parasite-host-vector interaction at sites in South Central Texas.

Chagas is the common name for a disease transmitted by insects and animals that can cause severe symptoms, even death, in humans. It is responsible for an estimated 50,000 deaths annually in Latin American countries, according to the World Health Organization. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate 8 to 11 million people throughout Latin America have the disease, the majority of whom do not even realize they are infected.

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In Georgia, irrigate peanuts to lessen losses

From Southeast Farm Press

University of Georgia Extension Entomologist Mark Abney characterizes 2014 as a “very buggy year” in Georgia with a great deal of insect pressure and he says last year can provide a number of lessons on peanut insect management this year.

The most important lesson learned, according to Abney, is the critical importance of scouting for insects in peanuts. He is urging growers to actively scout this year.

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Wild Pig Management Workshop set for Aug.18 in Palo Pinto County

The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service will conduct a Wild Pig Management Workshop for landowners and the general public from 7:45 a.m.-2 p.m. Aug. 18 at the AgriLife Extension office, 221 S. 5th Ave., Palo Pinto.

“Many landowners are well aware of the impact feral hogs have on agricultural production, water quality, habitat and native species,” said Josh Helcel, AgriLife Extension associate at Gatesville. “This workshop is unique because we’ve gathered some of the best wildlife professionals in Texas to share their tips and demonstrate emerging technologies to help us control wild pigs.”

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