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

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

Scouting for insects is still important in a home vegetable garden

By Becky Griffin, University of Georgia

Whether you work on a large family farm, in a home vegetable garden, or in a small, community garden vegetable plot, routinely scouting for insects should be an important part of your vegetable-growing plan.

Insect pests can be a costly problem in vegetables. The life cycles of some insect pests are so short that missing just one week of scouting can lead to an increase in pests and damaged crops. Continue reading

UGA research aimed at stopping gummy stem blight in the greenhouse

By Clint Thompson, University of Georgia

Georgia watermelon growers who have a targeted, informed disease management plan for gummy stem blight disease could save money and lessen the environmental impact of producing this favorite summertime fruit.

University of Georgia horticulturist Cecilia McGregor, along with fellow UGA scientists Marin Brewer and Bhabesh Dutta, studies the impact of reduced fungicide use through early detection of gummy stem blight in watermelons. 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

UGA Extension fruit pathologist says use lime sulfur on blueberries to manage Exobasidium disease

By Clint Thompson, University of Georgia

The key to managing Exobasidium leaf and fruit spot disease in blueberries, which makes the fruit unmarketable, is one application of lime sulfur approximately two weeks prior to bud break, according to Jonathan Oliver, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension fruit pathologist.

Exobasidium disease causes spots on the leaves and fruit, decreases the fruit’s size and, because of the fruit’s immaturity, gives it a bitter taste. The leaf spots eventually turn velvety and white and lead to early defoliation, and the spotted fruit is not fit for sale. Continue reading

National Pesticide Safety Education Month launched to promote safe pesticide use

By Christina Conner, University of Georgia

Hundreds of people get sick each year from inappropriate pesticide use, but those who don’t deal with pesticides daily may not think about it very often.

Pesticides are used in homes, workplaces, apartments, farms and other places where humans need to control pests such as weeds, insects, fungi, rodents and even viruses. Of the 11 states participating in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) pesticide safety program, workers reported 853 serious injuries from pesticides in 2011, according to the CDC. Continue reading