Pepper weevil is the new big threat to vegetables

In Southeast Farm Press

by Clint Thompson, University of Georgia

Pepper weevils are such a threat to Georgia’s pepper crop that University of Georgia vegetable entomologist David Riley says Georgia farmers and agricultural workers should immediately kill any weevils found on fruit, equipment or clothes.

This year’s cold winter temperatures helped to wipe out fall vegetable plants like peppers and eggplants that host the weevils. However, weevils can hitchhike on peppers that the U.S. imports from Mexico and infect Georgia’s pepper fields. Seventy percent of the winter peppers imported into the U.S. are grown in Mexico, where pepper weevils originate. Continue reading

EU to ban pesticides that harm bees

The European Union made a key breakthrough on Friday to completely ban pesticides that harm bees and their crop pollination.

The 28 member states got a large majority, representing some three-quarters of its population, backing the ban on the three prevalent neonicotinoid pesticides which will take effect at the end of the year. The decision builds on a limited ban which has been in effect since 2013. Continue reading

Don’t let fire ants ruin your summer, take steps this spring

by Adam Russell, Texas A&M AgriLife

Dealing with fire ants is no picnic, but getting rid of them can be as easy as Step 1, Step 2, according to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service experts.

Dr. Allen Knutson, AgriLife Extension entomologist, Dallas, said spring is a good time to control fire ants as this is when they search for food and build mounds, which makes them easier to locate.  Continue reading

Trying to tame fire ants? Consider whether you want to eliminate the mounds or the ants

By Sharon Dowdy, University of Georgia

Fire ant research is not a hot topic in the scientific community because effective control products are available, but fire ants can kill people, so management of this pest remains an ongoing issue, according to Will Hudson, University of Georgia entomology professor.

“It’s a measure of the state of entomology. We used to have a fair amount of fire ant research going on in the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences,” said Hudson, who has studied the control of turf insects for the past 30 years. “But fire ants are still important because other ants aren’t going to kill you. If you are allergic and you get stung by a whole lot of fire ants, you could die.” Continue reading

Identify pests before applying pesticides

by Amanda Tedrow, University of Georgia

Pesticides, which include insecticides, fungicides, herbicides and more, can contain organic or conventional ingredients. People use them in homes and workplaces, on farms and in gardens, and in other places where they want to control pests like weeds, insects, fungi, rodents and plant viruses.

University of Georgia Cooperative Extension urges all Georgians to learn more about the safe use, storage and disposal of pesticides. The UGA Extension Pesticide Safety Education Program promotes the safe, responsible use of pesticides by individuals and commercial groups by providing training programs, materials and educational resources that cover pest identification, personal safety, safe storage and safe disposal of pesticides. Continue reading

Georgia’s pecan producers need to scout for pests like the Asian ambrosia beetle

by Clint Thompson, University of Georgia

Pecan season may be over, but Georgia’s producers should continue to scout for pests, like the Asian ambrosia beetle, that could impact future crops.

The first 2018 sighting of the beetle in Georgia came from a Brooks County orchard last week, according to University of Georgia Cooperative Extension pecan specialist Lenny Wells, who wrote about it in his blog at blog.extension.uga.edu/pecan. Wells stresses that, with temperatures at or just above 80 degrees Fahrenheit in southern Georgia this week, ambrosia beetle activity will likely increase. Continue reading

New AgriLife Extension statewide cotton pest management guide is now available

by Steve Byrnes, Texas A&M AgriLife

Entomologists with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service have just released a new statewide guide on managing cotton insect pests, said one of its authors.

Dr. Suhas Vyavhare, AgriLife Extension cotton entomologist at Lubbock, said The Cotton Insect Management Guide can be accessed online at http://bit.ly/2GZi5sI or can be downloaded free from the AgriLife Extension bookstore at  http://bit.ly/2nToDAw . Continue reading

Cover crop choices must be well-planned

In Delta Farm Press

Producers who plant winter crops with no intention of harvesting them reap the benefits of soil conservation, weed control and nutrient retention.

On the flip side, however, the practice of almost constant production in a field creates issues with pest management. Farmers who “plant green” have to balance these challenges to best prepare the way for good crops each year. Continue reading

Planting a refuge necessary for preserving Bt technology

in Southwest Farm Press

Southern corn growers will pull their planters out of the shed and into the field in only a few short weeks. Bt corn will be planted on millions of acres across the South, protecting plants from damaging insects like corn borer and corn earworm. But to ensure that the technology remains effective, farmers in cotton-growing areas must plant a structured refuge alongside their Bt corn.

“Planting a refuge is the single most important thing we can do to keep Bt traits working for years to come,” said Chad Wetzel, a farmer from Tom Bean, Texas, and member of the National Corn Growers Association Freedom to Operate Action Team. “If we lose Bt technology as a defense against insects, growing corn will change dramatically.” Continue reading

Planting time for spring gardens is around the corner, so prep now

Spring gardens may not be as soon for the northern states in the southern region, but the recommendations in this article are applicable to all gardeners.

by Adam Russell, Texas AgriLife

The time is now for East Texas vegetable gardeners to make preparations for planting early varieties and spring garden staples, said a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service expert.

Gardeners have some cool-season vegetables planted already and are soon preparing to plant early vegetable varieties, such as onions, said Dr. Joe Masabni, AgriLife Extension small-acreage vegetable specialist, Overton.  Continue reading