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Eastern New York Field Crops Pest Report, 2003

For 5/20/03:

Alfalfa at the SUNY Cobleskill farm was 10 to 18 inches tall (May 15) and is in excellent condition. The alfalfa at the Cornell Research Farm in Valatie (May 14) was about 10 inches and mixed with other grasses.

Alfalfa Weevil Larvae Found
Jeff Miller (Oneida County) and Kevin Ganoe (Chenango, Otsego, Herkimer, Fulton & Montgomery Counties) (May 16) are finding 1st instar larvae and tip feeding at 0 to 12%. I found 1st instar larvae at both SUNY Cobleskill (May 15) and at the Cornell Research Farm in Valatie (May 14). Tip feeding was about 5 % or less in all fields scouted. These larvae are a 1/16 of an inch long and appear in fields at the accumulation of 315 degree days (Base Temp. 48). You can find them down in the tip of the alfalfa plant where the leaflets are starting to unfold. Alfalfa weevil larvae leave a little SHOT HOLE in the leaflets that is called tip feeding.

What is the action threshold for alfalfa weevil before the first cutting?
A. 20% tip feeding
B. 5 larvae per stem
C. 40% tip feeding
D. none of the above

Alfalfa Weevil Larvae

Check out our on-line publication, IPM for Alfalfa Weevil. 1.2 Mb pdf file

Do you know the number of growing degree-days in your region today?
(Base Temp. 50F)

Potato Leafhopper NOW???
Yes, I found one solo potato leafhopper (May 15) in my net at the SUNY Cobleskill farm. Do you know what potato leafhopper looks like? Remember adults are bright lime green, 1/8 inch long and can fly. Potato leafhopper nymphs are yellowish-green and look similar to the adult but do not have wings.

Damsel Bugs
I found several damsel bugs while looking for alfalfa weevil this week (June 20). Damsel Bugs eat small eggs of insects as well as aphids and mites in many crops. This insect uses a needle like mouth-part to insert into its prey and suck out the insides. They are slender, often yellowish-brown and about 3/8 to 1/2 inch long. The wings lie flat across the back, crossing at the tips. The abdomen is slightly swollen and the body tapers toward a narrow, elongated head. The adult female inserts white eggs into the stem of the plant and only the egg cap shows. Damsel Bug nymphs resemble wingless adults in shape and color. Be a little careful with damsel bugs because they are predators and can give a painful bite to big and small alike.

Field Corn

Larry Hulle reports that about 35% of the corn fields in Orange County have been planted (May 16).Corn fields at the SUNY Cobleskill farm are tilled but no planting has occurred May 15). Russ Hahn's corn herbicide research trials are already 2 tall at the Cornell Research Farm in Valatie (May 15).

Seed Corn Maggot
Remember to encourage field crop producers to use seed treatments for seed corn maggot. A little prevention will help ensure a good plant population.

Check out our on-line publication, Early Season Insect Pests in Field Corn, 1016k pdf fle.

True Armyworm
We did not catch any true armyworm moths this week (May 15). Lisa Fields traps are near the town of Carlisle, about a half mile north of Route 20. My trap is located on the SUNY Cobleskill farm in Cobleskill.

Birds in Corn
As corn is being planted sometimes we forget that BIRDS can damage corn fields early in the season. Crows, geese, blackbirds and turkeys like to feed on seed and newly emerging plants. There are just a few recommendations for bird control in field corn. Propane cannons may provide some relief by scaring them, however crows, geese, blackbirds and turkeys can adapt to the sound and one should consider community relations when installing a source of regular Ka-Booms. Other suggestions include paying close attention to planter settings for depth and seed slot closure, planting at a higher population on fields where bird feeding is anticipated, setting out alternative or decoy foods for birds such as moistened corn seed.

Have a good week!
Ken Wise