Posts filed under ‘insects’

Armyworm and Black Cutworm Moths Arriving in Ohio

-The following article was written by Ron Hammond, Andy Michel and Bruce Eisley
Reports from neighboring states suggest that moths of the true armyworm and black cutworm are now flying in the Midwest. While the black cutworm is a concern in corn, both wheat and corn are often attacked by the true armyworm. Corn is especially at risk from true armyworms when planted into rye cover crops. Armyworm is of most concern on wheat when feeding on the flag leaf. A fact sheet on armyworms on wheat is available at . Black cutworms will begin cutting corn in May, especially when the corn is planted into weedy fields, with chickweed being a preferred weed species; a fact sheet on black cutworm is at . Because the larvae of both these pests potentially could become concerns over the next month or two, growers should remain vigilant with both pests. Presently, none of the neighboring states are seeing large numbers of either insect; however, we will keep Ohio growers up-to-date on future happenings and need to sample.


April 30, 2010 at 10:20 am

Prevent Lady Beetle Invasions to Your Home

Fall brings wonderful colors, the smell of harvest in the air, and the not so great annual invasion of multi-colored lady beetles. Generally in late-September through October the Multi-Colored Asian Lady Beetle begins to seek out shelter where they will spend the winter hibernating. They prefer cavities that stay cool dry and offer concealment. In there native range of Asia the adult beetle seeks out cavities in cliff faces. In Ohio, the multi-colored Asian Lady Beetle adults seeks overwintering sites oriented toward light colored conspicuous objects such as light colored buildings especially on south and southwest sides of walls warmed by the sun.

[picapp src=”f/e/1/e/Lady_Bug_Population_0d60.jpg?adImageId=6402537&imageId=3840079″ width=”500″ height=”330″ /]

Before we condemn this beetle as a complete nuisance, keep in mind that the Asian Lady Beetle is an important predator that consumes large numbers of aphids and scale insects on trees, shrubs and agriculture crops through out the spring and summer months. However, their choice of an overwintering location (generally people’s homes) leaves much to be desired. People often express concern and aggravation with these nuisance insects. The beetle will periodically invade living spaces in response to the warm interior temperatures. On warm sunny days they may move about and fly within the home.

When Asian lady beetles are disturbed they defend themselves by exuding a yellow-orange fluid. This fluid has a foul odor and can permanently stain walls, drapes, carpet and clothing. Refrain from crushing or swatting to minimize the release of this fluid. Asian Lady Beetles can bite but generally are not aggressive. Theses “nips” or “pinches” do not usually break the skin. They do not carry disease nor do they have any toxin associated with their mouthparts.

The best management recommendation is to prevent the beetles for entering the home or building. Outdoors check for and seal all obvious cracks and spaces where beetles can gain access. Check attic screens for holes, caulk wherever a utility pipe, telephone or cable enters the siding and make sure the weather seal on doors and windows is tight.

Chemical treatments can provide protection to help prevent pest entry. The pesticide typically is applied to outside walls and siding, as well as around eaves, attic vents, roof overhangs, and doors and windows. Pre-test a small area to ensure that the chemical treatment does not cause staining or discoloration. If using a pesticide, Ohio State University Extension researchers recommend using a pyrethroid insecticide product. Examples of pyrethroid active ingredients include: bifenthrin, cyfluthrin, cypermethrin, deltamethrin, etc.

Inside the home the use of a vacuum is the best defense. In small numbers, you may find the use or sticky tape helpful with capturing the flying beetle. Vacuuming is the most efficient and rapid technique. Be sure to empty the sweeper bag or receptacle immediately as the odor from the beetle can be quite unpleasant. Ohio State University’s official FactSheet on Multi-Colored Asian Lady Beetles is available at

October 23, 2009 at 8:15 am

Study: Pesticides Not Cause of Honey Bee Problems

An international team of scientists published a paper studying the possible causes of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) which as affected managed honey bee colonies in the U.S. The study was published on PLoS ONE, a journal published by the Public Library of Science. The article is available at:

The study compared the risk factors between hive populations afflicted by and not afflicted by CCD. The sutdy found that bees in CCD colonies had higher pathogen levels than control populations. The affected hives were also co-infected with a greater number of pathogens. The researchers suggest that an increased exposure to pathogens or a reduced resistance of bees toward pathogens could be a cause. The researchers, led by the Pennsylvania state apiarist Dennis vanEnglesdorp, suggest that CCD involved an interaction between pathogens and other stress factors.

Source: EPA Office of Pesticide Programs

September 16, 2009 at 1:05 pm 2 comments

Soybean Aphid Update

In this week’s CORN Newsletter, OSU Entomologists Hammond, Michel and Eisley give a soybean aphid update. There is a general lack of sobyean aphids in Ohio. Further, I have yet to find any soybean aphids in Van Wert County. From the CORN Newsletter:

Last week we had the opportunity to check or get reports from numerous fields throughout Ohio on the situation with soybean aphids, and in general, the reports were about the relative lack of soybean aphids. However, late in the week, we got a report from Geauga County in northeast Ohio about fields having higher populations. A visit to that area this weekend supported those findings. We found numerous soybean fields that are nearly 100% infested. Numbers of soybean aphids per plant were not yet high, but nearly all plants had aphids, ranging from a few to 10-15 per plant. It was difficult to find a plant without aphids. Many of the soybeans in that area were later planted and are just now in growth stage R2. The Extension Educator from Geauga County, Les Ober, said that he is aware of one field that while not yet at threshold, will probably be within a week if the aphid population continues to grow. Thus, we would remind growers that we are not out of the woods yet when it comes to aphids. This is especially true for growers in north central and northeast OH, who should make an extra effort to sample their soybeans. If, and it is a big if, aphid populations starting doubling, these fields could be reaching threshold within next 1-2 weeks.

Full podcast here:

August 5, 2009 at 8:15 am

Potato Leafhopper Management in Alfalfa

Purdue University Extension Entomologists are reporting that populations of potato leafhopper in alfalfa are booming in Indiana. There have been observations of high numbers of leafhoppers coming to lights at night. They attribute this explosion in potato leafhopper population to recent hot temperatures.

I expect that we may also experience high numbers of potato leafhoppers.  Soon after cutting alfalfa, producers need to begin scouting for potato leafhopper. Purdue Entomologists Christian Krupke and John Obermeyer warn that once yellowing is seen on alfalfa, the damage is already done and it is likely too late for an insecticide treatment. (Read full story in Purdue Pest and Crop Newsletter:

To determine potato leafhopper numbers, take at least five sets of 20 sweeps with an insect sweep net, each set from a different area of the field. Open the net and count the number of potato leafhoppers, both adults and nymphs. After taking each set of sweeps, measure the height of a few stems in each area. After all sweeps and height measurements have been taken, determine the number of potato leafhoppers per sweep and the average stem height for the field. See the Purdue table for treatment guidelines:

Full podcast: 

July 1, 2009 at 8:00 am

Winter Wheat Pest: Wheat Stem Maggot

My colleague and friend, Glen Arnold, stumbled across a pest of winter wheat that I was unfamiliar: wheat stem maggot. Thanks to Greg LaBarge for the correct identification.

Glen indicated that 5% of the wheat field had “bleached heads”.

Closeup of the white, bleached wheat heads.

Damage caused by maggots feeding in the upper portion of the stem cuts off nutrient flow and the heads turn a whitish color.

The farmer indicated the variety was bin-run wheat with no seed treatment planted about October 1st, 2008, following corn. The field was topdressed with urea but no fungicides or insecticides have been applied. The wheat field looked normal prior to heading. The bleached heads are dead but the plant looks healthy. No other fields in the area seem to have these symptoms.

The heads easily pull out from the top of the plant and look rotten where they attach to the plant. Wheat stem maggot larvae overwinter in grass species. The females lay one egg per stem near the flag leaf. The larvae burrow into the stem, killing the upper part of the stem and the head. This pest does not cause widespread damage to winter wheat in Ohio and chemical controls are not recommended at this stage.


June 18, 2009 at 7:30 am

Potato Leafhopper in Alfalfa

In both the Ohio State University Extension C.O.R.N. newsletter and the Purdue Pest & Crop newsletter mentions were made of potato leafhopper being a problem in alfalfa. In fact Christian Krupke, John Obermeyer, and Larry Bledsoe of Purdue are reporting large catches of potato leafhopper in their sweeps.  They predict that populations of potato leafhopper will increase as air temperatures rise. From the Purdue newsletter:

Potato leafhoppers are small, wedge-shaped, yellowish-green insects that remove plant sap with their piercing-sucking mouthparts. Leafhopper feeding will often cause the characteristic wedge-shaped yellow area at the leaf tip, which is referred to as “hopper burn.” Widespread feeding damage can cause a field to appear yellow throughout – if you see this visual evidence, the damage is already done and treatment will not help this cutting. Leafhopper damage reduces yield and forage quality through a loss of protein. If left uncontrolled for several cuttings, potato leafhoppers can also significantly reduce stands.

From the OSU Extension C.O.R.N. newsletter:

Sampling is done using a sweep net and taking 10 samples throughout the field. Each sample should consist of 10 sweeps with the net. Count all potato leafhopper adults and nymphs, though over the coming weeks, mostly adults will be seen. When the average number of leafhoppers in a single sample (10 sweeps) is equal to or greater than the average height of the alfalfa stand, insecticide treatment is warranted for varieties not resistant to the potato leafhopper.

Full podcast here:

June 3, 2009 at 7:30 am

Bean Leaf Beetle in Early Emerged Soybeans

Early (late-April to early-May) planted soybeans are now seeing feeding from bean leaf beetles. The bean leaf beetle can be one of the most damaging soybean pests in the United States. It is tied for second among all pest species attacking soybean foliage, pods and seeds.

The bean leaf beetle overwinters in adjacent areas to fields. Adults become active in the spring and seek available host plants, such as soybeans. Adult coloration varies widely from red, orange and tan; and markings can vary widely too with beetles having dots, strips, both, or neither. However, all adults possess a black triangle at the base of their forewings. A female beetle is capable of producing up to 200 eggs. The reddish, spindle-shaped eggs are laid adjacent to plant stems in the upper 5 inches of the soil.

Bean Leaf BeetleImage courtesy OSU Extension CORN Newsletter

Remember that it takes significant defoliation, well over 50%, before economic concerns, which is seldom seen. However, because of the scarcity of emerged soybean fields, fields that are already emerged, should be scouted for the possible presence of larger than normal numbers of bean leaf beetle. Without a lot of other soybean fields for the beetles to spread their numbers over, the few fields that are emerged might be getting more adult beetles than usual.

Typical Bean Leaf Beetle damage to soybeans. (photo credit A. Kleinschmidt)

Full podcast available here:

May 27, 2009 at 7:30 am

Farm Focus Research Results Available

The 2008 Farm Focus research results are now available. The results presented here are a culmination of one- and multi-year agronomic studies conducted primarily at the Marsh Foundation home farm in Van Wert, Ohio. Over the next several weeks, I will be focusing on selected trials and offering podcasts as well as in-depth analysis. All the trials referenced below are available as pdf files:

December 18, 2008 at 7:00 am

Difficult to Predict Soybean Aphid for 2009

Ron Hammond, OSU Extension Entomologist, recently discussed predictions for 2009 soybean aphid infestations. Spoiler alert: there is no prediction. Read on if you want the details.

The soybean aphid in 2008 held true with its trend of every other year infestations. Since we first found aphid in Ohio several years ago, soybean aphid has been predictable in a way that led us to classify it as a threat every other year. With the exception of a few areas in northern Indiana, the soybean aphid has behaved as predicted in Ohio for 2008 with very few infestations and not much justification to spray an insecticide.

The question is now what can we expect for soybean aphids in 2009? If the soybean aphid is true to its infestation pattern, then 2009 should be a year with heavy soybean aphid infestations and need for soybean insecticide applications. But OSU researchers such as Dr. Hammond are suggesting that the soybean aphid may not be a problem again in 2009. The data on predicting soybean aphid is contradictory right now.

On one hand, aphid numbers went up in the fall months as expected. These higher fall collections are the initial sign of something brewing for the following summer. However, there was almost a total lack of aphid colonies on buckthorn (the plant that aphids overwinter) in Ohio during September and October, and we have yet to find our first egg. In past years, OSU Entomologists have always found aphid colonies and eggs in the fall after a low-aphid summer, and preceding a high year. Thus, it is difficult to offer a prediction of what will happen in 2009.

At this time, I recommend reading the C.O.R.N. newsletter closely next spring and summer to see what is, or is not, happening. In fact, I recommend you subscribe to the C.O.R.N. newsletter so that you can receive weekly email updates. By following aphid development to our north, we hope to be able to give growers at least a few weeks notice if something might occur. This notice will be announced immediately through the C.O.R.N. newsletter. It is important to stay abreast of soybean aphid populations during the summer. During the summer, the soybean aphid can reportedly complete 15 generations a season, with populations doubling in just a few days. Subscribe to the C.O.R.N. newsletter here. If you prefer not to subscribe, you can visit the website weekly at

Full podcast available here:

November 26, 2008 at 7:00 am

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