Spotted Lanternfly national pest alert published

The spotted lanternfly is an invasive sap-feeding planthopper, first discovered in the United States in Berks County, Pennsylvania in 2014. Field observations indicate that the tree of heaven, Ailanthus altissima, is an important host plant; however the spotted lanternfly is known to feed on a wide range of hosts including wild and cultivated grapes, stone fruits, willow, and various hardwoods. This species is thought to be native to China, and has spread to other Asian countries. In 2004, it was first detected in Korea, where its populations expanded and it became an economically important pest of grapevines and fruit trees. In Korea, it damaged plants directly by phloem feeding, but also caused indirect damage due to mold that grew on honeydew excretions deposited on the leaves and fruits of host plants. It was recorded utilizing 67 host plant species in Korea, many of which also occur in the U.S. Given the wide range of hosts it feeds upon, the spotted lanternfly poses a serious economic threat to multiple U.S. industries, including viticulture, fruit trees, ornamentals and timber.

For the complete alert click on this link.

Early eastern tent caterpillar egg hatch anticipated for Central Kentucky

by Holly Weimers, University of Kentucky

It is likely eastern tent caterpillars will begin to hatch soon, according to Lee Townsend, University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment extension entomologist.

“Eastern tent caterpillars are among the first insects to appear in the spring. Consequently, they can cope with the erratic temperature swings that are common in Kentucky. This year’s unseasonable warmth points to abnormally early activity,” Townsend said. Continue reading

Spider mite control in corn aided by moisture

by Kay Ledbetter, Texas A&M AgriLife

The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service has a list of do’s and don’ts when it comes to spider mite treatment on corn, according to Dr. Ed Bynum, AgriLife Extension entomologist in Amarillo.

Spider mite damage can reduce corn silage yields about 17 percent and grain yield production by 23 percent or more when not controlled, Bynum said, speaking recently at the High Plains Irrigation Conference in Amarillo. Continue reading

Texas A&M institute helping find ‘key’ to preserving endangered Florida deer

by Paul Schattenberg and Steve Byrnes, Texas A&M AgriLife

For the past several months, a Texas A&M University System institute has been actively involved in efforts to quash a screwworm outbreak in Florida that has jeopardized an already endangered species, said the director for the Institute of Renewable Natural Resources.

“While there had been no screwworm outbreaks in the U.S. for the past 30 years, one began last July on Big Pine Key, which affected the Key deer population,” said Dr. Roel Lopez, institute director and co-principal investigator for the Key deer study, San Antonio. Continue reading

Experts expect insect problems to get worse

in Southeast Farm Press

From whiteflies in southern Georgia to bollworms in North Carolina to plant bugs in Virginia, 2016 was a challenging insect year for cotton growers across the Southeast. Dominic Reisig is urging farmers to be prepared for another challenging year.

Reisig, North Carolina State University Extension entomologist, addressed “Emerging Insect Issues in the Southeast” at the annual meeting of the Southern Cotton Growers and Southeastern Cotton Ginners in Charlotte, N.C., Jan. 20, where he provided an insect situation, outlook report and control recommendations. Continue reading

Social media saves on insecticides

by Katie Pratt, University of Kentucky

A University of Kentucky entomologist is using a social media platform to help producers cut down on unnecessary insecticide applications.

Ric Bessin started the Facebook page Swdinky to help growers monitor and potentially treat for the spotted wing drosophila, a fruit fly that can destroy soft-skinned, small fruit including grapes, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and strawberries. The invasive insect first appeared in Kentucky in 2012. It overwinters in the state, but when it becomes active varies by year. Continue reading

Georgia researchers find soybeans resistant to kudzu bug

In Southeast Farm Press

by Merritt Melancon, Southeast Farm Press

Kudzu bugs are not native to Georgia, but in the past seven years, they’ve made their homes in soybean fields across the southeastern U.S.

While they don’t cause damage every soybean season, they can cause yield losses of between 20 and 60 percent. That can create a big loss for farmers who tend the approximately 80 million acres of soybeans grown in the U.S. each year. Continue reading