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Week 7: Scouting 101


A large Colorado Potato Beetle

I am in the full swing of things at LIHREC and the pests/diseases are too.  This past week I have seen the worst infestations of all crops thus far so I deemed it appropriate to share some scouting techniques and some of the most frequent pests we encounter. For all types of crops we make it a point to check sites in a random pattern and cover the entirety of the field (this means very long walks for some potato fields). We scout a variety of crops each with their own pests and diseases. At each scouting site we look at numerous plants and attempt to identify signs of disease or pests. The number of plants varies based on the crop. If we are unsure of the identification of any potential hazard, we bag a sample and bring it back to the research lab where a resident entomologist and pathologist are always willing to help. Upon completion of scouting a field we fill out a form for the grower indicating what we found and if any levels of disease or pest are over previously established thresholds. Explained below are some of the most common pests we see: Potato: Colorado Potato Beetle. Long Island Colorado Potato Beetles are especially notorious for their resistance (we are often asked to send samples of our beetles to other extension centers for insecticide research)

A large larvae Colorado Potato Beetle. The black marks on the leaf are its frass.

A versatile bacterial disease, bacterial leaf spot is pictured below infecting a raspberry leaf. This bacterial plight can be found on essentially every crop and is found in high levels after wet weather.

A common disease of peppers and tomatoes is Blossom End Rot abbreviate BER for scouting purposes. This is pictured below
In addition to peppers, tomatoes, and potatoes we are also trained to scout crucifers, sweet corn, eggplant, strawberries, and cucurbits.

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