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Disclaimer: Insect pheromone traps are an excellent way to monitor moth activity in conjunction with actual crop scouting. Sticky wing pheromone traps are used in this monitoring program for simplicity and cost-effectiveness. Moth numbers in traps may not always correlate with caterpillar pressure in certain years.
For detailed trap catch data, see: Monitoring-report-6-23-14.pdf
Cold and wet spring has delayed activity of moths placed near commercial vegetable fields. Beet and fall armyworm moth numbers is rising slowly and we typically see peak activity of these moths in July and August (mid to late season pests). We have seen some early-instar beet armyworm caterpillars on tomatoes in Clanton, so producers should remain alert. Beet armyworm moths were more active in southeast Alabama as shown by the high numbers in Houston County.
Cotton entomologist Dr. Ron Smith has indicated a higher-than-normal tobacco budworm activity in southeast Alabama. Peanut producers should watch for mixed populations of corn earworm and tobacco budworms in July and thereafter. Corn earworm moth activity typically peaks in late July in peanut fields, depending on weather conditions. Control measures should be selected carefully after correct identification of tobacco budworms (they are harder to kill with pyrethroids insecticides). You will need a good magnifying lens to look at the hair patterns on these caterpillars to separate them. Stop using insecticides once populations subside in peanut fields. Overuse of synthetic pyrethroids early in the season as ‘maintenance sprays’ could result in heavy price later in the form of spider mite outbreaks.
If the weather remains hot and dry in peanut producing areas, then producers should stay alert for lesser cornstalk borers and burrower bugs (Pangaeus spp.). Dr. Ron Smith has observed high activity of white margined burrower bugs in cotton fields but that is not a pest in peanuts since it leaves peanut fields later in the season.
Squash vine borer traps have indicated downward trend over the past few weeks. Chances of finding larvae inside unprotected vines are high. Each female moth of the vine borer can lay up to 250 eggs and these are day flying insect pests. We have seen squash bugs active in planted crops but cucumber beetle activity appear to be lower than last year around this time (based on direct scouting of cucurbit vegetables). There could be pockets of high activity for cucumber beetles and squash bugs &ndaqsh; so keep scouting and use appropriate control measures on late planted crops.
Visit the Alabama Vegetable IPM (www.aces.edu/go/87) or the Peanut IPM (www.aces.edu/go/88) websites for insect control recommendations for those crops. Consult a Regional Extension Agent for more detailed knowledge about integrated pest management practices suitable for your farm. Make sure to attend any of the field training events to get more crop production and plant protection information. Don’t delay, scout your crops today!
Ayanava MajumdarExt. Entomologist/SARE Program Coordinator
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