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Saturday, June 24, 2017

Bollworms and Bees

Howdy,

  This week we've been seeing bollworm egg lay on the rise. So far most of the worms have been very small, between newly hatched and a day or two old. The damage has been mostly to squares and smaller bolls. Caterpillars closer to the one in the photo are easier to find in the blooms. This caterpillar probably fed in the bloom tag and then chewed his way into the boll through the flower. The hole in the very end of the boll is fairly indicative of that behavior. The flowers have low expression of the Bt genes, and caterpillars that start feeding there have the opportunity to grow larger before chewing into the fruit. If you're finding more than 8 to 12 worms in 100 plants and 5% damaged bolls, consider treatment. Also, if you are seeing higher numbers of caterpillars older than 2 days, give me a call. I've got diet cups to collect caterpillars to send to A&M for resistance testing.

Bollworm
Photo: Kate Harrell
  I found a honey bee swarm south of El Campo this week. Honey bees swarm like this when moving to start a new hive. The queen is down in the middle of the swarm, and they cover her up like this to protect her. This swarm was probably stopping to rest before moving on to a more suitable location for a new hive. When honey bees are doing this, they are incredibly docile. If you've seen the photo of the "bee beard", this is how they get that to work. They placed the queen on the person's face, and the workers covered her up. It's best to leave them alone if you find a swarm like this. They'll move on once they've rested.
Honey Bee Swarm
Photo: Kate Harrell

Give me or our office a call if you have questions or concerns.

Sincerely,

Kate

Looking for more information? Check out:

Texas A&M Cotton Guide- Bollworms

Danielle Sekula's Pest Cast

Stephen Biles' Mid Coast IPM

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Bollworms

Howdy,

  This week we've been finding some stink bugs and some bollworms in cotton in all three counties. Currently we are mostly finding damage and newly hatched larvae. As the grain continues to dry down, expect to see more moths moving around. Bollworm eggs are small, round, generally singly laid, and have ridges meeting at the top of the egg. These insects are highly cannibalistic, and will eat each other if more than one larvae is on a leaf. The photo below has two eggs, but I would count this as one egg while scouting, since only one of those would live long enough to feed on the plant. The eggs can be found anywhere on the plant, generally on the tops of leaves. This week we have found more eggs in the mid canopy. Sometimes eggs are even laid on flowers and bloom tags. We're still finding stink bugs in cotton as well. This week we found a few nymphs in Jackson and Matagorda counties.
Bollworm Eggs
Photo: Kate Harrell
  Some of the cotton around has begun to get a little long in the internodes since the rain we got a couple weeks ago. The best time to use a plant growth regulator (PGR), mepiquat chloride (MC), is dependent on plant height and internode length. Plant height should be 30 to 35 inches in 30 inch rows, and in 40 inch rows should be no more than 40 to 45 inches. Optimum plant height should be predicted using row width multiplied by 1.1. MC suppresses stem elongation in newly formed internodes by up to 50% of normal growth. The minimum MC concentration in the plant necessary to provide a maximum level of reduction is 12- 15 ppm per acre, but internodes will not grow shorter than 50% of the normal length with higher rates. Before the plant has reached 15 to 20 days past first bloom, measure the top 5 internodes. If the internodes are 1.4" or less, no MC should be applied. If the internodes are between 1.4" and 1.6", treatment is optional. Treatment is optional in internodes measuring between 1.6" and 1.8", but if it has rained recently or you are planning to irrigate, treatment is recommended. If the internodes are longer than 1.8", MC should be applied. Check out this article for more information on PGRs.
  Headworms and stinkbugs are in sorghum right now. The best way to scout for damage from these insects is to use a bucket. Rattle a grain head around in a bucket to see what falls off of it. Adult stink bugs will fly, often very quickly after being knocked from the plant, so be aware of anything taking off when you go to look in the bucket. Folks in all three counties have been treating for stink bugs lately, but the earlier planted sorghum is hardening enough to be past the point of concern. Check out the rice stink bug calculator and the sorghum headworm calculator to check economic threshold levels.

Lady Beetle Eggs
  This week's bug of the week is the lady beetle. Recently I have given a few presentations on differentiating between good and bad bugs, and was surprised at the number of folks that had not seen lady beetle eggs before. Lady beetles lay brightly colored, yellow, oval eggs, in little groups or rows. The photo above shows typically laid lady beetle eggs.

  Give me a call if you have questions or concerns.

Sincerely,

Kate


For more information check out:

Danielle Sekula's Pest Cast

Stephen Biles' IPM Update

Robert Bowling's Rolling with Bowling

Texas Sugarcane Aphid News

Texas Row Crops Newsletter

Using Mepiquat Chloride on the Texas Coast to Reduce Cotton Plant Height

Friday, June 9, 2017

Stinkbugs and Headworms

Howdy,

  This week most of the cotton I looked at is in full bloom. I've been seeing green and brown stink bugs and some bollworms. All three counties have had a few of these insects popping up. They are moving out of corn and sorghum as these crops finish out and the grain gets hard to feed on. I've also caught a few verde plant bugs in Jackson and Matagorda counties.
Spotted Lady Beetle in a Cotton Flower
Photo: Kate Harrell
  There is bollworm egg lay present in all three counties. The bollworms I've seen have been very small, and more often than not, we found damage, but no live insects. I'd recommend keeping an eye out for bollworms, and monitoring populations closely if you do find live insects in fields. If you are finding live worms and damage, look for 5% damaged bolls, and 8-12 out of 100 plants with worms. I haven't seen any fields at threshold yet, but after last year I'm staying on my toes.
  Later planted cotton in Wharton county is still experiencing fleahopper pressure as well. Check out the previous blog entry for economic threshold information on stink bugs.
Small Bollworm Eating Square
Photo: Kate Harrell
Bollworm Eggs
Photo: Kate Harrell
  Sugarcane aphid populations in sorghum have crashed after the rainfall last week and early this week. Populations have plummeted from Corpus Christi and the Rio Grande Valley and on up to our area. There may be a few places with populations still hanging out, but generally numbers are down. Jackson and Matagorda county producers have had to treat for rice stink bug and headworms in sorghum as well. Calculators for sorghum midge, rice stink bug, and sorghum headworm economic thresholds can be found here.
Rice Stink Bug
Photo: Kate Harrell

  If you do still have sugarcane aphid populations, check out the economic threshold information below.


  If you want to receive text updates of the blog and when I post photos and information from the field to twitter, text "follow uppercoastipm" to 404-04, as shown in the photo below. If I post a photo, it will send you a link that you can follow to see the image. Text information will appear in the body of the text message.

  This weeks bug of the week is the ox beetle! The adult beetle feeds on decaying fruit and occasionally vegetation. They burrow to hide during the day, and fly at night. They live as adults for 4-6 months, but live as the larval form for about a year. The larvae look like giant June bug larvae, large, white, c-shaped grubs. Larvae feed on decaying organic matter (decaying wood and plant material) and help with the decomposition process. The beetle in the photo below flew into my garage door, attracted to the light on the garage. It sounded like somebody threw a golf ball at the door when he hit it. Check out more info on the ox beetle here!
Male Ox Beetle
Photo: Kate Harrell

Looking for more information? Check out the resources below:




Friday, June 2, 2017

Stink Bugs, Verdes and Bollworms

Howdy,

  This week has been a bit muddy, so I've been in and out of the field. The rain has perked up a lot of our cotton and corn, and we really needed it. This week I was picking up a few Verde plant bugs and some stink bugs (mostly green, a couple brown) in Jackson county. The damage I found was minimal, and I only found adult insects, no nymphs yet.
Verde Plant Bug
Photo: Kate Harrell





Green Stink Bug
Photo: Kate Harrell
Carpal warts caused by feeding damage
Photo: Kate Harrell

  With stink bugs and other plant bugs, it is important to look for feeding damage. The decision aid charts above have photos of feeding damage. The photo above shows the carpal warts on the inner wall of a boll. The lint and seed on this boll was also discolored. This is typical stink bug feeding damage. Adults can move around a great deal, they are strong fliers and may move out of a field quickly. Once nymphs start hatching out, we will need to monitor more closely for damage. They can't fly away, and can cause more damage over time without being able to leave. Check a minimum of 25 bolls for feeding damage, and at least 1 per acre of field. If 20% of the bolls are damaged and stink bugs are present, consider treatment.



Bollworm Eggs
Photo: Kate Harrell
   I have been hearing about bollworm damage starting to crop up in terminals and squares in Matagorda county. So far I haven't seen any live larvae, only empty damage. We need to start keeping an eye out for egg lay in fields and watching for larvae. Remember not to treat for egg lay, and if you are counting eggs, only count one per leaf. Bollworms are highly cannibalistic, and double egg lay like in the photo above will likely only result in a single larva.

Polyphemus Moth
Photo: Kate Harrell
  My polyphemus moth eclosed last week as well, above is the adult moth from the caterpillar and cocoon in some of my previous posts. It's a beautiful insect!
  Also, for those of you keeping up with the new world screwworm moving back into Florida, it has once again been eradicated. Check out the news release here.


Two-striped Walkingstick
Photo: Kate Harrell


  Last week I got a text asking about the insect in the photo above. This time of year two-striped walking sticks are mating, and they can be found in large numbers on sidewalks and walls. Normally they hang out in trees, but come down to find mates. 

For more information:


Robert Bowling's Rolling with Bowling- http://betteryield.agrilife.org/2017/05/28/2-6/

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Plant Bugs and Aphids

Howdy,

  There are still cotton fleahoppers around this week. Treatments have been made for them in all three counties, and I was picking up more nymphs this week than I was last week. Threshold is 15 - 20% plants with fleahoppers. Cotton is beginning to bloom in all three counties. Fleahoppers will no longer be a pest of concern once a field reaches the first week of blooming. Once a field is blooming, we need to start watching out for other plant bug pests, like the verde plant bug, lygus bugs, and stink bugs. In the Rio Grande Valley, Dani has reported a few verde plant bugs moving into cotton as well as a few bollworms. I found a couple of lygus bug nymphs in a Matagorda county field this week.
  Prior to peak bloom it's recommended that a sweep net be used for sampling for lygus. Using a standard 15 inch sweep net, make 15 - 25 sweeps at a time, concentrating on a single row. The number of sweeps you will be able to make is dependent on the amount of foliage that accumulates in the net. Avoid letting the net accumulate too much debris, since it will prevent you from getting an accurate sample. Try to take at least 100 total sweeps from 4 - 6 locations in the field.
http://cottonbugs.tamu.edu/fruit-feeding-pests/lygus-bugs/

  We did receive approval for a section 18 for use of Transform in cotton for control of plant bugs. This section 18 expires October 31, 2017. When using Transform to control plant bugs the rate per application allows for 1.5-2.25 oz/acre, with no more than a total of 8.5 oz/acre per year. Remember not to apply within 14 days of harvest, make applications less than 5 days apart, or make more than two consecutive treatments per field. The full section 18 label can be found here.

Cotton Flower
Photo: Kate Harrell
  This week sugarcane aphid populations are on the rise. If you need the scouting guide, it can be found here. Threshold for these insects begins at 50 aphids per leaf if field conditions are warm and dry. The two products available to spray for the sugarcane aphids are Sivanto and Transform. Use Sivanto at 4-5 oz/acre, do not go lower than 4 oz for good residual. When applying with a ground rig use at least 10 gal per acre to get the chemical into the lower canopy. If the canopy cover is pretty dense, you may need to go to 15 gal. For Transform use at 1-1.5oz/ acre, and do not go lower than 1 oz for good residual.
Full Reference Material
   In the Rio Grande valley, Dani has been finding rice stink bugs and sorghum midge. We need to be watching for those pests as well. Midge is a problem in sorghum during bloom, the female midge lays eggs in the florets, where the maggots consume the developing fruit. To check for midge, beat the flowering grain head around inside a bucket or jar. Any midge will wind up smeared on the side of the container. Check at least 20 heads per 20 acres of field. If the fields are smaller than 20 acres, check 40 heads. The threshold for midge can be calculated by this calculator or:

Number of midges                  (cost of control in $ per acre x 33256)

per flowering head = (Value of grain in $ per cwt x number of flowering heads)

  I saw a few rice stink bugs starting to show up in fields in Matagorda county this week. Use the same bucket technique used for midge to check for rice stink bugs, but check at least 30 plants or 1 sample per acre in larger fields. This calculator will help determine threshold for rice stink bug.

  Keep in mind that treatments for rice stink bug or midge can knock back predator populations and flare aphids. That doesn't mean that you shouldn't treat if you find stink bugs or midge at threshold, but it does mean that you should check aphid populations after treatment and be ready to treat with Transform or Sivanto afterward if populations do flare.

Wasp Mantidfly
Photo: Kate Harrell
  This week's insect is the wasp mantidfly. The adults are predatory, and will hang out near flowers. They grab and eat whatever flies by with their raptorial forelegs. Their color pattern and shape mimics that of a paper wasp, which keeps things that would be predators away, since they are mistaken for something that stings. The larvae of this insect species are parasitoids of spiders, and eat their host from the inside out before pupating and emerging as adults.

  On Wednesday I got a call about some interesting feeding activity near the edge of a field in the Crescent area. The damage was beside a house with a couple of trees around it. The photos below show some cotton plants that appear to be gnawed off at the base of the plant. Leave a comment with what you think happened!





Have a great weekend everyone!

Sincerely,


Kate


For more information check out:

Danielle Sekula's full Pest Cast


Texas Sugarcane Aphid News

Lygus bugs in the Cotton Insect Management Guide



Friday, May 12, 2017

Fleahoppers to Plant Bugs and Aphids to Midge

Howdy,

  This week the fleahopper numbers in cotton are mostly down. I know several folks have treated for them, and have had no trouble knocking populations back. The threshold for fleahoppers is 15-20% of plants with fleahoppers. Some of the cotton in Jackson and Matagorda county is starting to bloom. Cotton fleahoppers are no longer a concern after plants are blooming, but we will need to start looking out for stink bugs, lygus bugs, and verde plant bugs after bloom.

  Sugarcane aphids were reaching treatable levels in a few places in Jackson and Matagorda county this week. They tend to pop up on the edges of fields first, then move in to the rest of the field. This guide is a good tool to use when scouting for them. Keep in mind that sugarcane aphids have black cornicles (tailpipes), feet, and antennae ends. They tend to be pale yellow in color, and lack the opaque green stripe down the middle that greenbugs have. The aphid populations I've seen have been mixed with corn leaf aphids, greenbugs, and the sugarcane aphids.
Greenbugs
Photo: Kate Harrell
Sugarcane Aphids
Photo: Kate Harrell

  Some sorghum is starting to boot or head out in all three counties. Once it begins to bloom, we need to keep and eye out for sorghum midge, and then for rice stink bug. The threshold calculator for sorghum midge can be found here, and the threshold calculator for rice stink bug can be found here.

  This week's bug is one a vegetable grower I get veggies from brought me last week. The photo below unfortunately doesn't show the full color of the insect. The body was black when looked at straight on, but iridescent blue from any other angle. This is an anchor bug nymph, and it is a type of predatory stink bug. It was a good challenge to identify, I had wrongly assumed it was a plant feeder (since it's a stink bug), and spent time looking over pest species. It's a predator! The adults of several species have white, orange, or yellow markings on the back that closely resemble the shape of an anchor, hence the name.

Anchor Bug
Photo: Kate Harrell
Let me know if you have any questions or concerns. Have a great weekend and happy mothers day!

Kate

Friday, May 5, 2017

Fleahoppers and Sugarcane Aphids

Howdy,

  The cotton in Wharton county ranges from cotyledon to half grown squares. In Jackson and Matagorda county all the cotton I have looked at is squaring nicely. Nearly everything has some wind damage. The nicest looking cotton I've looked at in Wharton county was near a tree line that blocked the wind. I'm hoping the wind will let up and we can catch a little rain soon. This week I saw more adult fleahoppers in cotton, but I've seen very few nymphs so far. There were a few fields at threshold this week in all three counties. Fleahopper feeding will cause squares to drop, and plants can recover for and compensate for some square loss. The threshold for fleahoppers is 15-20 per 100 plants.


Cotton Fleahopper
Photo: Kate Harrell
  I'd also like to note that Texas received approval for a Section 18 for use of Transform in cotton to control plant bugs. This label is good until the end of October. The rate for plant bug control with Transform is 1.5 - 2.5 oz/acre, with no more than a total of 8.5 oz/acre per year used, and no more than 2 consecutive applications per crop. Don't apply within 14 days of harvest, and don't make applications less than 5 days apart. The label can be found here.
  Dani Sekula, in the valley, reported seeing some tarnished plant bugs, and a few isolated fields with verde plant bugs and stinkbugs. She also had a few fields in her area treated for red spider mites. The aphid numbers have been crashing in the valley as the beneficials catch up with them.


Sugarcane Aphids
Photo: Kate Harrell
   Sugarcane aphid populations are present in sorghum fields in Wharton, Jackson and Matagorda counties. I heard of fields at threshold and being treated in Matagorda county. Populations in Wharton county seem to just be moving in to sorghum. The colonies I found were small, on the edges of the field, and contained a winged aphid. Check out techniques and timing recommendations for checking sugarcane aphids in the chart below. Transform and Sivanto are the two chemicals labelled for use on sugarcane aphids in sorghum.
  Stephen Biles has been seeing low numbers of sugarcane aphids in Calhoun, Refugio and Victoria counties. Everything so far has been along the edges of the fields, similar to what I have seen in Wharton county.



Lady Beetle Eggs
Photo: Kate Harrell


Sugarcane Aphids and Lacewing Larva
Photo: Kate Harrell
  I would like to mention that today I saw a few flags out marking the herbicide technologies. If you need flags to mark your herbicide tolerance, contact either your seed sales rep or your chemical retailer to get flags. It never hurts to double check a chemical label, either. It's always good to know the recommendations for any application. 

  The bug of the week this week was brought to me last week as a lovely caterpillar, and has now moved on to the pupal stage. It's a polyphemus caterpillar, and is one of our very large native silk moths. They eat a variety of broad leaf trees and shrubs. They are commonly found on oak trees, but this particular caterpillar was on (what was left of) an azalea. For size reference, the pink thing in the photo of the caterpillar is a pencil, the caterpillar was larger than my thumb. The cocoon is in the corner of a reusable grocery bag. I'll keep you updated on its progress! 


Polyphemus caterpillar, left


Polyphemus cocoon, right

Photo: Kate Harrell
Let me know if you have any questions or concerns, and have a great weekend.

Kate


Looking for more information? Check out the resources below.

Dr. Gaylon Morgan and Dr. Josh McGinty's most recent Texas row crop newsletter on the Varying Tolerances to Liberty Applications in Cotton Varieties can be found at the link below:

Danielle Sekula, the IPM agent in the valley, posted her most recent Pest Cast Newsletter at the link below:

Stephen Biles, the IPM agent in Calhoun, Refugio and Victoria counties most recent newsletters for sorghum and cotton can be found at the following websites: