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Weekly Field Crops Pest Report 2011

July 8, 2011, Volume 10 Number 10

  1. View from the Field
  2. Weather Outlook
  3. Stable flies affecting animals on pasture
  4. Dairy Cattle Pest Management Resources
  5. Western Bean Cutworm Still Very Low
  6. Clipboard Checklist
  7. Mark Your Calendars
  8. Contact Information

View from the Field

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Potato leafhoppers (PLH) can be found readily on alfalfa throughout the state. If we continue to have a hot dry spell of weather PLH can increase in population very quickly. This will place a pest and drought stress on alfalfa.

Soybean aphids can be found in some soybean fields in central NY. The populations have remained low so far this year. Levels can increase in warm weather similar to what we have been having.

Beetles in Baled Hay?
Recently Kevin Ganoe sent in a sample of beetles collected from a load of hay that was rejected by a horse owner fearing the hay contained blister beetles, a type of insect known to be very toxic to horses. Preliminary identification by an insect taxonomist at Cornell, however, indicates the beetles were fortunately NOT blister beetles but rather are a non-toxic species of darkling beetle. Confirmation of the actual darkling beetle species will be made by Rick Hoebeke at Cornell. The scenario highlights the importance to having correct pest identification as the basis for beginning a successful Pest Management decision process.

Blister beetles in hay can pose a serious health risk to horses. These insects have defensive substance called cantharidin that is very toxic to horses. Darkling beetles, however, do not have this material and are not toxic to horses. The darkling beetles also tend to leave the hay when it is fed to the cattle. One difference that distinguishes a darkling from a blister beetle is the segment between the head and the abdomen. The blister beetle has a narrower segment than the darkling beetle. The darkling beetle's segment is equal to the width of the abdomen while the blister beetle is narrower the width of the abdomen.

I read it is not all that unusual to find darkling beetles in hay. They feed on decomposing and decaying organic matter. They normally live under the bales next to the soil surface. These beetles and their larvae (mealworm) also feed on broken seeds and fines in grass hay and grain. Infestations can build over time and sanitation is the best way to control them. Clean up spilled grains, feeds and hay. They can also be found in grain and feed storage areas. When the storage areas are empty make sure you clean up all the old feed and grain. This eliminates habitat for the darkling beetles.

Here is a article with comparative differences between blister and darkling beetles: Hay Beetles Cause Concern.

hay beetles

Weather Outlook

July 8, 2011

Jessica Rennells, Northeast Region Climate Center, Cornell University

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The temperatures have been within 3 degrees of normal. Most of the state had half an inch of rain or less, the Catskill and Lake Champlain regions had over an inch. The base 50 growing degree days have ranged from 100 to 150.

  • Today (7.8.11) will be cloudy with showers ending this morning, but more showers & thunderstorms possible throughout the day. Temperatures will be in the 70's and low 80's. The possibility of showers & thunderstorms will continue overnight with lows in the mid 50's to mid 60's.
  • Saturday will be sunny with highs in the 70's and mid 80's. Lows will be in the low 50's to low 60's.
  • Sunday we'll have continued sunshine with highs throughout the 80's. Overnight temperatures will be in the upper 50's to mid 60's.
  • Monday's highs will be in the mid 80's to near 90, continuing the warm trend with a possibility of showers and thunderstorms. Lows will be warm again in the mid to upper 60's.
  • Tuesday will be more seasonable in the upper 70's and low 80's. Lows will be in the low to mid 60's.
  • Wednesday's temperatures will be in upper 70's and low 80's. Overnight temperatures will be in the upper 50's to low 60's.
  • Thursday will again be in the upper 70's and low 80's. Lows will be in the mid to upper 50's.

The five day precipitation amounts will range from a tenth to half of an inch. The 8-14 day out look is showing above normal temperatures for the whole state and below normal precipitation just for the Hudson Valley region.

Stable flies affecting animals on pasture

Keith Waldron,

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Are your livestock animals stomping their legs to shake off flies on their lower legs or belly? Are you getting bit around your ankles by an aggressive fly? These biting flies are probably stable flies. The stable fly, Stomoxys calcitrans, is about the size of a house fly and is similar in appearance. However, stable flies have a very prominent "spear-like" biting mouth part that extends forward from under the head. Both male and female stable flies feed on blood several times each day, taking one or two drops at each meal. Stomping of feet is a good indication that stable flies are present, since they normally attack legs and bellies. Production performance declines in infested herds because of the flies' painful biting activity and animal fatigue from trying to dislodge flies. For more information see Integrated Management of Flies in and around Dairy and Livestock Barns.

Stable fly populations have been on the increase in many areas across the state. Considered a key fly pest of animals in confinement areas, these flies are becoming more of a pest for animals on pasture as well. Stable flies can breed locally in moist organic material such as spilled animal feed, the moist soil with round bale interface, spilled feed around feed bunks, poorly managed compost areas and water weeds washed to lake shorelines. Stable flies can also be transported long distances on weather fronts.

Stable flies are monitored by counting flies on all four legs of about 15 animals in the herd. Treatment is warranted when counts reach an average of 10 flies per animal.

Management requires removal of local conditions that favor fly breeding i.e. reduce situations that favor accumulation of undisturbed moist organic matter. This option is, of course, not always doable or practical. Efforts are underway to evaluate various fly catching traps to help manage this pest by knocking down populations of locally breeding flies. One trap that has shown to have promise is constructed of clear alsynite (a fiberglass-like material) cylinder. Alsynite is attractive to these biting flies. When outfitted with a clear sticky surface, alsynite (biting fly) traps have been quite effective at capturing stable flies. At least two stable fly traps are available commercially. Two possible sources among others are Olson Products Biting Fly Trap (alsynite) and Farnam's Equine Products (non-alsynite but attracts via another method).

For more information on traps for biting flies affecting dairy and beef cattle see: Integrated Pest Management Guide for Organic Dairies.

Dairy Cattle Pest Management Resources

Keith Waldron,

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Summer is here and warmer temperatures have been favorable for potential increases in fly pests affecting dairy animals and other livestock.

A quick source of factsheets, management recommendations and other resources on Livestock (dairy cattle, poultry, sheep, goats, swine, and horses) Integrated Pest Management can be found at the IPM Program Livestock page, and the Cornell Veterinary Entomology website.

For those with a specific interest in dairy barn fly management an archive of a 2 hour Web stream broadcast is available for viewing or download at the Integrated Pest Management for Confined Dairy Animal Fly Pests IPM Teleconference webpage.

Western Bean Cutworm Still Very Low

Keith Waldron,

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As mentioned in last week's WPR, we have a statewide effort on the lookout for western bean cutworm moths. Western bean cutworm (WBC) is an emerging pest in NY, with the potential to cause substantial damage to corn, Zea mays and beans, Phaseolus vulgaris.

So far, our Western Bean Cutworm WBC traps have only caught a very few WBC moths this season. This week only 1 WBC moth was collected in the over 55 traps distributed statewide. This week the lone moth was collected in the Burdette (near Watkins Glen NY) location, last week a WBC moth was collected in our Ithaca trap. Researchers in Ontario Canada and Indiana continue to report WBC moths are being caught in a few of their monitoring stations. This week WBC moths were captured in Burdette, near Watkins Glen NY. More captures are anticipated in the weeks ahead.

Our NY trapping program will continue through August. Results of the regional trapping network will soon be posted at the Sweet Corn Pheromone Trap Network Report (ECB, CEW, FAW, WBC), and Pennsylvania State University's Pest Watch website. Stay tuned for more information.

Clipboard Checklist

Keith Waldron

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*Emergency contact information ("911", local hospital, Chem. Spill emergency contact, other?) posted in central posting area
*Maintain crop records by field, including variety, planting date, pesticides used, nutrient inputs including manure, etc.
*Walk fields to check crop condition, growth, and emergence. Look for signs of vertebrate pests (birds, ground hogs, deer, etc.).
*Mow around farm buildings to minimize rodent and other pest habitat
*Begin grain bin and auger clean up and preparations for storage.

Alfalfa and Grass Hay:
*Monitor alfalfa for crop condition, watch re-growth for potato leafhopper and diseases.
*Evaluate alfalfa seedings for weeds, potato leafhopper & diseases.

Small Grains:
*Monitor winter wheat for foliar & grain head diseases, Fusarium Head Blight incidence
*Monitor winter grain fields for crop growth stage, signs and symptoms of diseases, weed pressure, insects (cereal leaf beetle)

Field Corn:
* Monitor for crop growth stage and condition
* Monitor for weeds, noting presence of "who", "how many" and "where"
*Mid season corn pests: European corn borer, armyworm, birds, other vertebrates
*Adjust post-emergence weed control actions

* Monitor for crop growth stage and condition
* Monitor for weed escapes, soybean aphid, foliar and systemic diseases

*Check and mend fences as needed.
*Check crop growth
*Check for presence of undesirable plant species harmful to livestock.
*Review/Plan rotation system

Cattle on Pasture:
*Monitor animals for presence of face flies, horn flies and stable flies. Action guidelines: face flies (average 10 per animal face), horn flies (average 50 / dairy, 200 / beef cattle per animal side), stable flies average 10 per animal (all four legs)
*Check feed bunk / water source locations for signs of stable fly breeding (moist undisturbed organic matter spilled feed, round bales, etc.), minimize source of moist organic matter i.e. fly breeding areas in barn and in adjacent animal loafing yard
*Check paddocks for forage quality / quantity, rotate as appropriate
*Check paddocks for vegetation poisonous to livestock
*Consider use of fly traps to help reduce deer, horse and stable fly populations

Dairy Cattle Barn Fly Management:
*Monitor animals and barn area for house fly, stable fly and other pest management needs including presence of rodents and birds.

*Check facilities for favorable fly breeding conditions: (organic matter + moisture): leaks in watering systems, roof gutters for leaks and potential overspill, drainage,

*Sanitation, sanitation, sanitation - clean animal resting areas, feed troughs, minimize source of moist organic matter i.e. fly breeding areas in barn and in adjacent animal loafing yard
* Continue fly monitoring: install "3X5" index card fly speck monitoring cards throughout barn

*Use, replenish, replace fly management materials: sticky fly tapes/ribbons, insecticide baits, natural enemies (parasitoids), fly population monitoring (3 x 5) spot cards

*Consider purchase and release of Muscidifurax raptor and/or M. raptorellus natural enemies of house and stable fly pupae.


Emergency responder information on pesticide spills and accidents CHEMTREC:  800-424-9300

For pesticide information:

National Pesticide Information Center: 800-858-7378

To Report Oil and Hazardous Material Spills in New York State: NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Spill Response: 800-457-7362 (in NYS); 518-457-7362 (outside NYS)

Poison Control Centers: Poison Control Centers nationwide: 800-222-1222

If you are unable to reach a Poison Control Center or obtain the information your doctor needs, the office of the NYS Pesticide Coordinator at Cornell University, 607-255-1866, may be able to assist you in obtaining such information.

Mark Your Calendars

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July 13-- Weed Science Field Day, Thompson Research Farm, Freeville, NY (morning program)

July 13-- Weed Science Field Day, Musgrave Research Farm, 1256 Poplar Ridge Rd., Aurora, NY (2:00pm - 5:00pm)

July 14-- Aurora Farm Field Day, Musgrave Research Farm, 1256 Poplar Ridge Rd., Aurora, NY (9:00am-3:00pm)

Dates of Pasture Fly IPM Meetings

July 11: Sam Dwyer Farm, 227 Duquette Rd in West Chazy, 1:00 pm. Clinton County Cornell Cooperative Extension: Peter Hagar (518)561-7450 and Extension: Anita Deming,, (518) 9624810

July 12: Grassland Dairy, Brent Tillotson & family, 6350 Sparks Rd, Pavilion, NY 12:00pm to 3:00pm. NW Dairy, Livestock and Field Crops Team: Cathy Wallace, (585) 343-3040 x138

July 12: Fred Pereau's Farm in Port Henry, 1:00 pm. Essex County Cornell Cooperative Extension: Anita Deming,, (518) 962 4810

Aug 16: Kinderhook Farm, 1958 Columbia County Road 21, Valatie, NY 4:00 pm. Columbia County Cornell Cooperative Extension: Mick Bessire,, (518)828-3346

Aug. 17: Location to be Announced, 6:00 pm. Dutchess County Cornell Cooperative Extension: Jennifer Fimbel,, (845) 677-8223

Aug, 29: Golden Acres Charolais Farm, 756 State Route 143 in Westerlo, NY, 6:00pm. Albany County Cornell Cooperative Extension: Tom Gallagher,, 518-765-3500

Contact Information

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Keith Waldron: NYS Livestock and Field Crops IPM Coordinator
Phone: (315) 787 - 2432
Fax: (315) 787-2360

Ken Wise: Eastern NYS IPM Area Educator: Field Crops and Livestock
Phone: (518) 434-1690
Fax: (518) 426-3316