Mature fields of grain crops moving in the wind is a lovely sight. Having admired the beauty of ‘cereal rye’ in a field, I asked NYSIPM Integrated Weed Management Specialist Dr. Bryan Brown if rye has been part of successful weed suppression efforts.
The answer is yes, but even better, there’s anti-fungal benefits too.
Few of us are weed scientists, but we value successes that reduce pesticide use and labor costs. In layman’s terms, planting soybeans after a crop of cereal rye means growers have a mulch in place (easier than bringing in straw). Decomposing rye steals nitrogen from the soil. Bad news for hungry weeds, but soybeans, like other legumes, fix their own nitrogen from the air. But there’s more.
Four key Cornell researchers, Sarah Pethybridge, Bryan Brown, Julie Kikkert, and Matthew Ryan, ran a no-till soybean trial during the 2016-2017 field seasons. Winter annual cover crops (crops that grow robustly enough to reduce weed sprouting and success) are knocked down in springtime with a mechanical ‘roller-crimper’. Crimping kills the stalks.
In this case, soybeans and dry beans were then planted directly—without soil cultivation—into the crimped and rolled cereal rye cover crop field
Why ‘no-till’? According to Cornell’s Organic program, “Overreliance on soil tillage and cultivation in soybean production can degrade soil health. Although often effective at reducing weed competition and associated yield losses, moldboard plowing and interrow cultivation are also very time consuming. Such practices can also leave soil vulnerable to soil erosion from heavy rain events, which have increased in frequency in New York.”
No till is often seen as a way to reduce germination of weed seeds. In the case, reduced germination of White Mold’s sclerotia occured because they aren’t brought up to the surface through cultivation.
White Mold Life Cycle – try to keep up… It’s an endless cycle so we’ll start in the winter when things are slow. White mold disease, Sclerotinia sclerotiorum, survives the winter as sclerotia, a hardened fungal pellet. Sclerotia are long lived and survive in the soil. In spring, sclerotia wake up and, where they’re near the soil surface, germinate via little cup-like growths that form and spew ascopores (microscopic spores) into the air. Ascopores land on blossoms and infect the plants. If conditions are right, sclerotia may also skip spore production and germinate directly in the soil with mycelium infecting nearby plant stems. Either way the fungal disease spreads through the plant and neighboring plants, showing up as lesions and wilting. White mold gets its name from that white fluffy mycelia that may be seen on stems in the crop canopy. Later in the season, mycelia harden off into sclerotia to prepare for another cycle through the winter.
In these research trials, overall biomass of soybean crop was lowered (the dry bean biomass was greater in the rye), but the actual amount of harvested beans was higher due to reduced loss from white mold.
White mold infected soybean stem. (Photo by J. Cummings, NYS IPM)
Traditionally, the only real ‘tool’ against white mold was fungicides. But timing, rates, density of crop canopy, and fungicide-resistance meant results could vary. And, for organic farmers, the options were very limited.
Why did this cover crop reduce this disease? The crimped rye cover crop reduced germination of sclerotia and therefore reduced spores. Researchers also felt this could exhaust inoculum in the soil therefore reducing disease in subsequent crops. But disease pressure on crops is always a combination of what’s surviving in the soil or on plant material, agricultural methods used by the grower and weather. Only some of that can be controlled.
As a weed fighter, rolled-crimped cereal rye seems to reduce or manage populations of herbicide-resistant weeds in trials by other researchers. More steps forward for reduced pesticide use! Its use as a cover crop works the way other mulches work–as a barrier for weeds to have to push through. Mulch shades the ground, reducing the number of weeds that germinate, since many have a germination response based on sunlight.
No till cover crops are not the answer for everything, but in this case, researchers found it gave a one-two punch against weeds and diseases!
Thanks for sharing this success with us, Bryan.
September 11, 2020
by Debra E. Marvin Comments Off on Ticks and Their Pathogens in New York State– New Findings Released
Why? The goal of this study was to highlight the importance of active surveillance for tick-borne pathogens, by describing their prevalence in ticks collected from school yards and suburban parks, and to guide the use of integrated pest management in these settings.
Study sites included 32 parks and the grounds of 19 schools on Long Island, in the lower Hudson Valley, and in the NY’s Capital Region. Ticks were collected from the environment using white flannel tick drag cloths, either using a transect protocol for school grounds or a presence-absence scheme in parks.
Collected ticks were primarily Ixodes scapularis (blacklegged tick), plus: the newly invasive Haemaphysalis longincornis (Asian longhorned tick), Ixodes dentatus, and Dermacentor variabilis (dog tick).
Blacklegged ticks are the smallest ticks that feed on people. The poppy seed sized nymph is considered the most dangerous.
Ticks were then sent on to the Cornell Animal Health Diagnostic Center for analysis of pathogen presence, with details such as collection site, time of day and weather conditions, life stage.
Experts tested all I. scapularis for the presence of 17 different pathogens. Diseases found in the ticks collectedin 2017-2018 included: Borrelia burgdorferi (Lyme disease), Anaplasma phagocytophilum (anaplasmosis), Babesia microti (Babesiosis), Borrelia miyamotoi, Powassan virus, Heartland virus, Rickettsia, and SFTSV. In some cases, a tick carried two or three pathogens.
What does this mean for you?
-Ticks are commonly found where athletic fields border woodlots. Schools should monitor their grounds for ticks and consult with extension services to understand the risks.
-Encourage school officials to contact the New York State Integrated Pest Management Program for help developing a plan to manage tick risks while minimizing impact on the health of people and the environment.
-Understand that social distancing while hiking may push you towards the edges of even wide, flat trails, so you may brush up against vegetation with ticks–It’s important for park and wildlife preserve visitors take protective measures.
-Help increase awareness across all residential areas, public spaces, and rural areas of the Northeast.
-The distribution of Powassan virus on Long Island is broader than previously documented. Powassan virus can be transmitted after just minutes of attachment.
-Preventative measures including frequent tick checks and permethrin-treated clothing are important year-round to prevent tick bites.
-Dogs, cats, and horses are susceptible to tick-borne diseases and should be monitored and treated in consultation with your veterinarian.
Note: This surveillance study captured the first sample of the invasive Asian longhorned tick species, Haemaphysalis longicornis, in NY.
Qin Yuan, Sebastian G. Llanos‐Soto, Jody L. Gangloff‐Kaufmann, Joellen M. Lampman, Matthew J. Frye, Meghan C. Benedict, Rebecca L. Tallmadge, Patrick K. Mitchell, Renee R. Anderson, Brittany D. Cronk, Bryce J. Stanhope, Ava R. Jarvis, Manigandan Lejeune, Randall W. Renshaw, Melissa Laverack, Elizabeth M. Lamb, Laura B. Goodman.
Development of the tick‐borne disease nanoscale PCR panel was supported by the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians (AAVLD) Innovation Award to LBG and sponsored by Thermo Fisher Scientific. Research carried out by SGL‐S was supported by the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine through a Graduate Research Award.
Thank you to project funders: This work was supported by a grant from the New York State Senate Task Force on Lyme and Tick‐Borne Disease to the New York State Integrated Pest Management Program; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Cornell University/Northeast Regional Center for Excellence in Vector‐Borne Diseases.
September 4, 2020
by Debra E. Marvin Comments Off on Blue Spruce: Threats and Remedies
Failing branches and needle drop is a sad sign of problems on this once-beautiful blue spruce.
There’s a blue spruce tree right outside my bedroom window. It is one of the first things I look at every morning (along with my husband, of course). I can see if it is sunny, rainy, or snowing. This tree was a very dense, full tree that has harbored several bird nests over the years.
This spring, however, I noticed that I could see right through the tree where I never could before. I think it lost maybe half its needles over the winter. Many branches are completely bare. When I went looking at other blue spruces in my yard, I noticed a similar pattern.
Blue spruce has been widely planted as an ornamental tree far beyond its native range.
It turns out that several issues are known to affect Colorado blue spruce (Picea pungens).
Range and Climate Factors
Blue spruce’s native range spans from northern New Mexico through Colorado, and Utah to Wyoming, and into Alberta and British Columbia–areas with a much cooler and drier climate. However, it has been widely planted as an ornamental tree far beyond that range.
In the wetter, more humid areas of the country, blue spruce is more susceptible to fungal pathogens and insects. The tree also tends to have a much shorter lifespan outside of its native range.
Pests and Pathogens: Signs and Possible Treatments
The symptom you will notice most—as I did—is significant branch die-back starting at the bottom and working its way up the tree. This is exacerbated by environmental stressors such as drought and heat, or our cool, rainy springs here in the Northeast.
One of the fungal diseases that affect spruces is Cytospora canker, which causes the development of small cankers that let sap flow out of the branches or trunk. Another is Rhizosphaera needlecast, which causes yellowing and then browning of needles before the fall-off.
In the wetter, more humid areas of the country, blue spruce is more susceptible to fungal pathogens and insects.
Currently the only chemical treatment for Cytospora canker on blue spruce in the landscape is an injected fungicide that must be applied by a certified applicator. Yearly fungicide treatments can help with needlecast but appropriate timing and good coverage are essential to reduce needle loss. Accurate identification is necessary for any disease to make sure that the correct treatments are used.
Here are a couple good fact sheets on blue spruce:
A recent EPA nationwide webinar, What Schools Need to Know: Practices and Principles for Healthy IAQ and Reducing the Spread of Viruses, focused on indoor air quality in school settings. Air quality was important before the current pandemic but is now central to the back-to-school issue. For today’s post we’d like to share some EPA and NYS Department of Environmental Conservation resources. Some highlights: airborne disease is not the only issue. Proper surface cleaning and air filtering must be addressed. Products used to kill virus organisms are not just ‘disinfectants’, but pesticides, so their labeled directions must be followed. School buildings across the country vary widely in age, size, and management budget, making indoor air quality an important subject long before SARS Covid-19.
The Label is the Law. Read the label on very common containers of disinfectant wipes!
The major takeaway from this webinar’s experts? Using a combination of tactics is crucial to success.
Social distancing helps because aerosol spread (coughing, sneezing) travels farther than you’d expect. Not only in the air, but particles linger on clothing and items.
Masks reduce the exhalation of virus, therefore reducing what’s in the air.
Surface cleaning of high-touch areas. Under optimum conditions, SARS CoV-2 virus can last up to three days on plastic surfaces. There are plenty of surfaces in public buildings. These FOMITES (inanimate, contaminated objects capable of transfer microbes to new hosts) are high-touch areas such as desktops, door handles, faucets, and electronic devices. Always consult a trusted list of disinfecting products and read the label. How the product is applied is just as important. Foggers generally do not leave surfaces wet long enough (20 mins is optimum) to kill virus. CLEANING cloths should not be reused from site to site. Use clean, sterile cloths for cleaning so you are not moving microbes from place to place instead of destroying them. NOTE: while the CDC has a list of effective disinfectants, we recommend that you PLEASE CHOOSE from this list compiled specifically for use in New York State: https://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/materials_minerals_pdf/covid19.pdf
Hand washing- often and done with care. Emphasize this after toilet use. (This virus also spreads through feces.)
Air movement. This is not just the use of a fan. Fans recycle the same air around the room. Air movement must include dilution of indoor air with outdoor air as much as possible before, during, and after rooms are occupied. The addition of air filters (properly maintained) such as HEPA filters is highly suggested. HEPA means ‘high efficiency particulate air’ filters. Filtration reduces but can not eliminate airborne particulates.
Air quality depends on more than circulation and filtration, but on proper use of disinfectants. Improper use often induces asthma, and causes health problems. Always read the label.
We remind you that care should be taken with cleaning products used in homes and businesses, as well as schools. Fraudulent claims and risky products are out there. Visit the ABCS of School IPM blog post for more information.
For additional information, visit these resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website:
The NYSIPM program, along with the Department of Agriculture and Markets, and the Department of Environmental Conservation have been monitoring for Spotted Lanternfly since its first occurrence in PA in 2014. In preparation, we developed educational resources for New Yorkers. Partnering with affected states, we’ve maintained a map tracking its spread and quarantines across the mid-Atlantic and Northeast region.
Adult spotted lanternfly on tree trunk (photo, B. Eshenaur)
Now, as of August 14, 2020 has confirmed a living population of spotted lanternfly on Staten Island. Because pests don’t care about borders, experts anticipated this introduction into the state and put in place the groundwork needed to keep ahead of this invasive.
Knowledge and experience from Pennsylvania’s spotted lanternfly specialists continues to benefit Cornell extension and research staff. Pennsylvania agriculture experienced grapevine deaths in some vineyards, and their economists estimate a potential combined annual loss to their state of $324 million and 1,665 jobs. Because of SLF’s ability to be a significant agricultural pest, research is underway even now, as Cornell researches biological and other control options.
The spotted lanternfly is not a fly, but a large planthopper. Adults are about an inch long. They do not bite or sting, and are not a threat to people, pets or livestock. For most New Yorkers, it will be no more than a nuisance pest. Nymphal and adult spotted lanternflies have piercing-sucking mouthparts that drill into plant phloem. SLF’s excrement—a sappy liquid called honeydew—makes things sticky and becomes the breeding ground for sooty mold, an annoying black fungal growth that is not toxic and does not kill plants. If necessary, wash honeydew and sooty mold off of your outdoor belongings, and move them out from under trees that have hosted the SLF. Note: honeydew can also draw ants and yellow jacket wasps.
Spotted lanternfly’s favorite host is another invasive species, the Tree of Heaven, but they also feed on many other trees and plants (see our list). Unfortunately, this includes cultivated grapevine. With New York state’s important wine production and grape growing regions from Long Island to Western NY, we are particularly concerned about this pest’s impact.
To properly identify spotted lanternfly and understand its life cycle, host plants, and how to monitor and manage it, visit our resources here.
2) Educate yourself. It is likely that spotted lanternfly will continue to spread north through New York and New England. Check out the lanternfly life cycle here so you’ll know what to look for. From fall through spring, look for egg masses. (See: how to destroy egg masses). In late spring and early summer look for the nymph stages; in late summer through fall, look for adults.
4) Keep up with the latest news on the spread of Spotted Lanternfly and other pest management concerns by following this and other NYSIPM program blogs, Facebook page, Twitter account and Instagram.
For Immediate Release: August 14, 2020
State Agencies Encourage Public to Report Findings of Invasive Pest
The New York State Departments of Agriculture and Markets (AGM), Environmental Conservation (DEC), and Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) today confirmed that Spotted Lanternfly (SLF), an invasive pest from Asia, has been found on Staten Island. Several live, adult insects were discovered by OPRHP staff in Clay Pit Ponds State Park Preserve. SLF (see photo below) is a destructive pest that feeds on more than 70 plant species, including tree-of-heaven, and plants and crops that are critical to New York’s agricultural economy, such as maple trees, apple trees, grapevine, and hops.
State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “The Department is working closely with its partners at the Department of Environmental Conservation, the State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to mitigate the impacts of this destructive pest, which can weaken plants and have a devastating impact on agriculture. While this find on Staten Island is concerning, New York State has taken strong actions to combat the establishment of SLF since 2017. We will continue our work to survey and inspect high-risk areas and implement targeted management plans. We also urge the public to be vigilant and report any suspected sightings of SLF to help slow the spread of this invasive.”
DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “Since Spotted Lanternfly was first discovered in neighboring states, DEC has worked aggressively with the State Department of Agriculture and Markets, Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, USDA and other partners to educate New Yorkers and take steps to prevent this invasive species from establishing itself in New York State. This invasive pest has the potential to severely impact and stress New York’s forests, agricultural crops, and tourism industries. The first live find on Staten Island is concerning, but our goal remains to find Spotted Lanternfly early and prevent it from further entering New York State and limiting any serious threats to our natural resources.”
State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said, “Spotted Lanternfly poses a troubling threat to the environment and agriculture of New York State but also to the quality of recreational opportunities and experiences we offer in our State Parks and public lands. I applaud our Parks’ environmental stewardship staff for identifying this pest, so New York State can quickly begin taking steps to slow its spread. Park visitors across the state can help in identifying and reporting this destructive pest, and I urge them to familiarize themselves with its signs.”
Following the finding by OPRHP, AGM, working with DEC, OPRHP, and the USDA, immediately began extensive surveys throughout the area. Crews will continue to survey areas on Staten Island, develop management plans to slow SLF’s spread, and minimize the damage and impact from this invasive species.
SLF feedings can stress plants, making them vulnerable to disease and attacks from other insects. SLF also excretes large amounts of sticky “honeydew,” which attracts sooty molds that interfere with plant photosynthesis, negatively affecting the growth and fruit yield of plants, and impacting forest health. SLF also has the potential to significantly hinder quality of life and recreational activities due to the honeydew and the swarms of insects it attracts.
First discovered in Pennsylvania in 2014, SLF has since been found in New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia and Virginia. Given the proximity to the Pennsylvania and New Jersey infestations, New York State is at high risk for infestation.
Since 2017, AGM, DEC, and OPRHP have taken an aggressive approach to keeping SLF from establishing in New York State, conducting surveys of high-risk areas across the State; inspecting nursery stock, stone shipments, and commercial transports from quarantine areas; and launching a comprehensive education and outreach campaign to enlist the public’s help in reporting SLF.
While these insects can jump and fly short distances, they spread primarily through human activity. SLF can lay their eggs on any number of surfaces, such as vehicles, stone, rusty metal, outdoor furniture, and firewood. Adult SLF can hitch rides in vehicles, on any outdoor item, or cling to clothing or hats, and be easily transported into and throughout New York.
The public is encouraged to thoroughly inspect vehicles, luggage and gear, and all outdoor items for egg masses and adult SLF before leaving areas with SLF, particularly in the counties of states in the quarantine area—Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia and Virginia. If SLF adults are found, residents should remove them and scrape off all egg masses.
Residents can also help by allowing surveyors access to properties where SLF may be present. Surveyors will be uniformed and will always provide identification.
Adult SLF are active from July to December. They are approximately one-inch long and half an inch wide at rest, with eye-catching wings. Adults begin laying eggs in September. Signs of an SLF infestation may include:
Sap oozing or weeping from open wounds on tree trunks, which appear wet and give off fermented odors.
One-inch-long egg masses that are brownish-gray, waxy and mud-like when new. Old egg masses are brown and scaly.
Massive honeydew build-up under plants, sometimes with black sooty mold developing.
2020 is proving to be a…ahem…wild year. The unusual, big eyed creatures we know as the PERIODICAL CICADA or CYCLICAL CICADA–particularly those known as Brood IX by U.S. Entomologists–made their debut in the late spring of 2020. Male cicadas make a lot of noise to attract a mate and in big brood years, that can be a lot of noise. (NPR’s CICADA article may be of interest!)
While big cicada emergence years like this one and the one in 2013 are noteworthy, that doesn’t mean that cicadas can’t be found each year. Otherwise, the impressive CICADA KILLER WASP would have a long wait. Understanding the difference between three large insects of the hornet and wasps family has never been more important: 1) cicada killer wasp, 2) European hornet, and 3) Asian giant hornet.
Below: CICADA KILLER WASP: Earlier this year, ‘murder hornets’ became a big topic. To bring some wisdom to the discussion, we provided some facts (see blog post: Asian Giant Hornets). Now, with August being the prime time to see cicada killer wasps and European hornets in action, murder hornets are news again, and still not in NY!
Please don’t kill these large but very low risk cicada killer wasps.
CICADA KILLER WASP up to 1.5″ with a rusty red head and thorax, russet colored wings, and a mostly black pointy abdomen, marked with (generally) three yellowish stripes.
“We should have little trouble with vermin if builders would hear and understand the ‘language’ of vermin and do a better job in eliminating their entrances and hiding place.” – Hugo Hartnak, 1939
For Bobby Corrigan, pest management is a passion. Called upon for his expertise across the country, we are honored to include him in our conference.
Pests enter school buildings in one of two ways: they are transported in by students, staff, or delivery truck or they make their way in from the outside. The School IPM 2020: Where We’ve Been and What’s Next virtual conference will focus on the first mode, but we will also include information on the second with tips, and a tool, to help with exclusion – or keeping pests out of buildings. Dr. Bobby Corrigan, co-founder of the first Scientific Coalition on Pest Exclusion, will join us to discuss rodent vulnerable areas.
ADAPTED FROM A GREAT ONLINE RESOURCE!! THE FOREST PEST HANDBOOK is a publication of the NYSIPM Program and New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, authored by Elizabeth Lamb and Jennifer Stengle Lerner.
People around the state are noticing gypsy moths…
Specifically European Gypsy moth — Lymantria dispar dispar
(Note: The Asian gypsy moth is a concern in some parts of the United States but is NOT currently an invasive pest in New York.)
The European gypsy moth was accidentally introduced into Massachusetts in l869. By 1902 this pest was widespread in the New England states, eastern New York, and regions of New Jersey.
Generally from late July through early September, female moths will lay egg masses on bark, firewood, exterior of campers and outdoor equipment and be easily transported. The gypsy moth is an important insect pest of forest and shade trees in the eastern United States. Heavy defoliation by the larval stage of this pest causes stress to infested host plants. Adult male moths are dark buff and fly readily during the day. Females are white with black, wavy markings, have robust abdomens, wingspans up to 2 in ches (50 mm) but do not fly.
USDA APHIS PPQ , USDA APHIS PPQ, Bugwood.org , male(left) and female (right) Asian gypsy moths – shown for comparison
Female moth with egg mass. Photo: Brian Eshenaur
Egg masses may be found on trees, rocks and other surfaces from early April through mid May. They are light tan, and the eggs inside are black and pellet like. Each mass may contain 400-600 eggs.
The larval stage (caterpillar) is hairy, and a mature larva is 2-2.5 inches (50-65 mm) long with a yellow and black head. Behind the head on the thorax and abdomen are five pairs of blue spots (tubercles) followed by six pairs of brick red spots. Young larvae feed on foliage and remain on host plants night and day. Around mid April, larvae emerge from egg masses. In late May, when about half-grown, larvae change their behavior and usually feed in the trees at night, and move down to seek shelter in bark crevices or other protected sites during the day. Larvae molt numerous times until full grown at 2-2.5 inches. Larval feeding is THE STAGE WHEN TREE DAMAGE OCCURS. Feeding on leaves can last for up to six weeks. Look for defoliation of host trees. You may also hear frass dropping from trees (believe it or not…), though that may come from feeding by other species of caterpillars. Caterpillars may move down into bark crevices during daytime and return to canopy feed at night.
USDA Forest Service – Region 8 – Southern , USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
this caterpillar is making short work of this leaf! photo: Brian Eshenaur
The pupal stage is dark reddish-brown and is held in place to some object by small strands of silk. Pupation is generally in July or early August. This year, adults have been seen in July.
Larvae photo: (Bugwood) Karla Salp, Washington State Department of Agriculture, Bugwood.org
Photo: Brian Eshenaur
Borrowing from our friends over at University of Illinois Extension.
What to do? The time to act is/was when egg masses can be found and destroyed (fall, winter and spring), or when young larvae can be reduced in numbers. If you’ve seen a lot of adult moths, you might want to take a look for egg masses on your trees in the fall and winter.