UGA CAES team researching whiteflies statewide

By Clint Thompson, University of Georgia

Silverleaf whiteflies devastated Georgia’s cotton and fall vegetable crops last year. In response to this crisis, a team of University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences research and UGA Cooperative Extension specialists is studying the pests statewide to help cotton and vegetable farmers avoid another year of disappointing crops.

“Teams are an important part of UGA. Many of the issues agriculturists face today require a collection of scientists from differing disciplines with differing expertise to address complex issues. The silverleaf whitefly fits the bill here,” said Phillip Roberts, UGA Extension cotton and soybean entomologist and Whitefly Team member. “Not only are whiteflies a direct pest of plants as a result of feeding, but they also transmit several viruses to vegetables that can have a devastating effect on virus-susceptible crops.” Continue reading

New biopesticide available for bollworms and budworms

A host-specific virus is being used to control bollworms and budworms in Arkansas crops.

Helicoverpa nucleopolyhedrovirus, or just NPV, does not affect humans, plants or other insects, including those that are beneficial. Continue reading

Whiteflies are a top priority being discussed at county production meetings

By Clint Thompson, University of Georgia

University of Georgia entomologists advise farmers to kill crops capable of hosting whiteflies after the crop is harvested a final time. Crops left in the field could continue to serve as hosts.

“The very best thing we can do right now is to minimize the amount of host material out there and starve these whiteflies to death during the winter,” UGA Cooperative Extension vegetable entomologist Stormy Sparks said. Continue reading

UGA entomologist encourages the use of cultural practices in managing spotted wing drosophila (SWD)

by Clint Thompson, University of Georgia

University of Georgia entomologist Ashfaq Sial advises Georgia blueberry farmers to manage the spotted wing drosophila (SWD), the crop’s most destructive pest, by incorporating cultural practices into farming.

Practices likes heavy pruning, controlled burns of the wooded areas surrounding blueberry fields, and the use of weed mat as a ground cover are effective management tools. These practices ensure the success of SWD management programs implemented during harvest, the time when blueberries are most vulnerable to SWD infestations. Continue reading

Experts estimate future sweetgum losses

Researchers at the University of Florida have estimated that sweetgum plantation owners could face $4.6 million in losses annually if a new pest of sweetgum from China arrives in the U.S. Read the story in Entomology Today.

Webinar: Pest Management from an Ecological Framework

What will you learn?

This webinar will focus on ecological management of agricultural pests (insects and slugs); and, it will emphasize the importance of pairing soil health practices with Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to ensure that gains in soil health are not degraded by unnecessary pesticide use. Learn more… Continue reading

Texas workshop focuses on pest control and water quality

by Kathleen Phillips, Texas A&M AgriLife

A five-hour continuing education event will be offered Dec. 8 at the Jackson County Services Building auditorium, 411 N. Wells, Edna.

The event, from 9 a.m.-3 p.m., is hosted by the Field Crops and Beef committees of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service’s Jackson County office, according to Michael Hiller, AgriLife Extension agent. Continue reading

AgriLife Extension asking South Central Texas residents to watch for pecan weevil

by Paul Schattenberg, Texas A&M AgriLife

The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service is seeking assistance in locating possible pecan weevil infestations in Bexar, Hays, Comal and Travis counties, said Dr. Larry Stein, AgriLife Extension horticulturist in Uvalde.

“The pecan weevil is a serious pest of pecan,” Stein said. “Previously, pecan weevil distribution was unknown in Texas until last year when they were found near the Wimberley area in Hays County. Most recently, we had a new pecan weevil identification in Comal County near the Guadalupe River. And there’s strong possibility of additional infestations within these and other nearby counties.” Continue reading

USDA Calls for Residents to Check Trees in August, Help Find and Eradicate the Asian Longhorned Beetle

NOTE: This pest so far is not in any states in the southern region, but several states in the Southeast have a suitable habitat for it.

August is Tree Check Month, the peak time of year when the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) can be found, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is asking residents to help eradicate this invasive pest by looking for signs in their trees. APHIS and local agricultural departments need to be made aware of any infested trees and new outbreaks so they can be quickly contained to keep the beetle from spreading.

The Asian longhorned beetle has the potential to destroy millions of acres of America’s treasured hardwoods, including maple, birch, elm, willow, ash and poplar trees, and others. The beetle is slow to spread on its own during the early stages of an infestation, so early detection and reporting is critical to containing it. People can also help by not moving firewood, which can transport the beetle hidden inside to new areas. Continue reading

Annual Wheatheart Wheat Conference set for Aug. 11 in Perryton

by Kay Ledbetter, Texas A&M AgriLife

The 18th annual Wheatheart Wheat Conference will be Aug. 11 at the Ochiltree County Expo Center, 402 Expo Drive, Perryton.

The event is hosted by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service offices in Hansford, Hemphill, Hutchinson, Lipscomb, Roberts and Ochiltree counties. Continue reading