March 15, 2019
by Debra E. Marvin
Comments Off on We celebrate Agriculture more than once a year!
March 15, 2019
January 23, 2019
by Debra E. Marvin
Comments Off on NEWA “Survey Says…”
In late 2018, NEWA’s Coordinator, Dan Olmstead, and its creator, Dr. Juliet Carroll, concluded an assessment of a 2017 user survey. They, and the NEWA State Coordinators, reviewed user demographics, website content needs, and user experience before passing it on to Cornell’s Survey Research Institute.
The electronic survey included a subset of questions first asked in the 2007 survey. A summary of the 398 participants from 14 states provided a clear picture of NEWA’s impact. A more detailed summary has been shared in four posts at the NEWA Blog http://bitly12UatlMMW
Here’s the bottom line:
-NEWA is a reliable and trusted source of information among uses.
-All respondents said they would recommend NEW to other growers.
-NEWA provides reliable IPM information to support responsible management practices, enhance decision-making, and increase awareness of risks.
-96% of users say NEWA improves the timing of pesticide applications.
-NEWA has a positive impact on IPM practices.
When putting the above statements into dollar figures, consider this:
Growers are saving money on an annual basis—an average of $4329—by reducing use of pesticide spray.
Estimated savings from crop loss, again on average, was $33,048.
Who uses NEWA? 75% are growers and 60% of them manage diversified farm operations.
20% of respondents managed farms smaller than 10 acres.
57% of respondents managed farms between 11 and 1000 acres.
4% had farms greater than 1000 acres.
Most NEWA growers grew apples, but a majority produced two or more commodities such as other tree fruit, grapes, berries, and tomatoes. Existing fruit and vegetable forecast tools will soon be joined by additional tools for field crops and ornamentals.
NEWA also provides links to other tools such as NOAA radar maps, USDA drought maps and websites that target particular problems like late blight or cucumber downy mildew.
FOR A FULL RECAP:
January 2, 2019
by Mary M. Woodsen
Comments Off on IPM Celebrates the New Year With News for You
We decided on a new look for our IPM Year in Review—our first-ever calendar. Who doesn’t put calendars to good use? I’ve already noted a couple of dentist appointments in mine.
And for you, dear reader, we offer our calendar sampler—four months, four topics, four new things to learn.
It’s February and shivery cold—and time to pay careful attention to the nooks and crannies so inviting to the critters that call your home theirs. Do you hear varmints scurrying in the basement, the walls, the ceiling? Mice and kin (OK, rats) have taken up lodgings and are way overdue on the rent.
Block their access. Start with a look in the basement. For mice, the entryway need be no larger than a dime; for rats, a quarter. Take it from us: if their heads can fit through, their fat little tummies can squeeze through too. Found a hole? Found several? Get some sealant and fill ’em up. https://conservesenecacounty.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/mouse.jpg
Ah, March—when winter marches into spring. School kids are antsy to get outside. And us? We’ve got ticks on our mind. Here’s your blacklegged tick, up close and personal. Soon these ticks will be out and about; the health hazards can hardly be overstated.
So practice the drill—how to ID them, dress for the occasion, do tick checks. Planning a hike? Wear light-colored duds (the better to see you with, my dear), pull your socks over your cuffs—and as soon as you’re home, do tick checks. Got pets? Check them too.
Btw, though their common name is “deer tick,” many scientists prefer “blacklegged tick.” We’re speculating here—but could that be because otherwise people will get the mistaken notion they can catch Lyme from deer, which they cannot? Yes, deer are among the movers and shakers in the world of Lyme. But by the time they’ve donated their blood to the cause, mama tick will have dropped off and called it a day.
Regardless: these ticks have a lineage that goes way back. In fact, a fossilized tick was found in a chunk of amber where it dined on mammalian blood some 20 million years ago. It carried babesia—a disease that’s still in action today.
It’s May now; summer is nearly here and the weeds are growing like—well, like weeds. Unperturbed by spray, horseweed and waterhemp are gaining ground, dramatically reducing crop yields. Regaining control over these herbicide-resistant weeds is a major issue for New York’s farmers.
Here’s one approach. With nearly 20 rubbery fingers on each hand and 20-plus hands, this cultivator earns its keep by dislodging, uprooting, and burying weeds while they’re still small. The boxy white contraption with two dark “eyes” and mounted at head height with a cable running toward the cab? That’s a camera, designed to move the cultivator left or right. It’s job? Keeping the cultivator aligned with the crop.
Bed bugs are back, the scourge of small and big towns alike. No, they don’t spread disease. Yes, on some of us they leave itchy red welts—while others have no symptoms at all. But you don’t need to throw all your belongings away, we promise. IPM now offers to ultimate in How To guides: How to Get Bed Bugs Out of Your Belongings.
Your hair dryer and vacuum cleaner will be your steadfast companions in your battle to regain control over your mattresses, shoes, clothes, and electronics. The hair dryer’s gentle heat will flush the little buggers out of hiding; the vacuum cleaner sucks them up. The guide also provides instructions on how to quarantine your belongings long enough to starve them into oblivion. Bed bugs, even during the holidays, are manageable.
Let IPM help you!
“None of us is as smart as all of us.” –Ken Blanchard
2018 has been quite the year and we have been busy blogging, tweeting, videoing, and Facebooking about it. Here’s a recap of some of our more popular 2018 offerings:
ThinkIPM – our catchall blog and a great way to keep a pulse on what’s happening in New York State IPM.
Our most popular blog post was actually a guest blog by Paul Hetzler, CCE St. Lawrence County, Move Over, Medusa: Pretty? Poisonous! in the Caterpillar Clan. We’re big fans of his writing and this post on a venomous caterpillar caught a lot of your attention as well. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Ticks in the cold was also a popular topic. And relevant to now! Check out these two blog posts, Ticks don’t care what month it is and Ticks and the freezing weather. Hopefully they both convince you to keep up your daily tick checks.
While visiting our blog, you have also been checking out older posts. Our second most popular post viewed in 2018 was a 2014 post, Identifying Your Pest – with Poop?. There are a lot of budding scatologists out there.
Other IPM Blogs – Besides ThinkIPM, we have more dedicated blogs, and you don’t need to be a specialist to subscribe to them. Here are some of the more popular posts:
We saw a number of news reports about bed bugs in schools, so we wrote Bed bugs in schools aren’t going away in The ABCs of School and Childcare Pest Management blog. And you read it. We just wish the news reporters and commenters did too.
The 2017 NEWA Survey: IPM impact includes such gems as “93% agreed or strongly agreed that NEWA pest forecast information enhances IPM decision-making for their crops”.
When it comes to Facebook, video rules. Our most popular Facebook post was our claymation video, Life Cycle of the Blacklegged Tick (and Lyme Disease Prevention!). And, by the way, this claymation was part of a large Don’t Get Ticked NY campaign launched in 2018!
Our new Spotted Lanternfly video, Have YOU Spotted Lanternfly Egg Masses was just posted, but it has already reached the number two spot. This invasive insect is getting a lot of attention and we need your help to keep track of it in New York.
We’re not surprised that our most popular Tweet of 2018 was about spotted lanternfly. Follow us on Twitter to keep up with the latest information.
This might be cheating, because it was just released and we have no data to show its popularity, but our 2017-2018 annual report is a 2019 calendar and everyone we have shown it to has been pretty excited.
So, as we raise our glasses to 2018 and look forward to 2019, include keeping up with NYS IPM Program amongst your resolutions.
Happy New Year!
October 2, 2018
by Debra E. Marvin
Comments Off on Did You Notice More Worms in Your Sweet Corn This Fall?
Marion Zuefle, Vegetable IPM Extension Area Educator, authors today’s post. She works out of the NYSIPM Program office at Cornell AgriTech in Geneva, NY.
Corn earworm, one of the major insect pests of sweet corn, had a banner year in 2018.
Every year sweet corn growers battle diseases, weeds, and insects that can make their crop unmarketable if they’re not controlled. This year is no exception. Considering everything a grower might face, producing a perfect ear of corn can be difficult. Fluctuations in weather, such as extreme droughts one year and excessive rain the next, directly impact corn and corn pest populations. In addition to increased pest pressure, growers also have to consider development of pest resistance to insecticides.
Such was the case for this year’s top sweet corn pest, the corn earworm (CEW for short). Here at NYS IPM we have monitored CEW flights along with three other common sweet corn pests (European corn borer, fall armyworm, and western bean cutworm) since 1994. Every year traps are placed at locations throughout NY to determine when the adult moths of these pests begin to fly. A rise in captures prompt growers to begin scouting their crops to see if pest levels are high enough to warrant control. This monitoring and trap network is a critical component of practicing good IPM.
This year we saw one of the highest flights of CEW since we began monitoring back in 1994. Only 2007 and 2010 have been higher. And this year boasted the single highest trap catch ever recorded for one site since we began: 341 CEW moths caught in a single week at one location om
CEW’s wide host range includes many other vegetable crops, field crops, fruit, ornamentals, and weeds. Its preferred host, of course, is corn. Adults lay single eggs on the silks of the corn ear. When the larvae emerge, they feed on the silks and then enter the ear to feed on kernels. Because eggs are deposited singly and are the size of a pinhead, it is very difficult to scout for corn earworm. Once hatched from these tiny eggs, larvae immediately enter the ear leaving almost no visible external damage until the husk is pulled back.
CEW are difficult to control with insecticides, because it takes precise timing to target larvae before they enter the corn ear and become protected from sprays. For this reason, growers rely heavily on trap catch data informing them when flight starts and how heavy the pest pressure is in a given year.
This year’s significant CEW flight likely resulted from several factors. They include weather patterns and storm fronts that bring moths north from their overwintering sites. There has also been an increase in the overwintering potential of this pest in NY. We have at least two known locations—one in Erie county and on in Onondaga county—that have earlier than usual CEW catches, an indication of successful overwintering populations. In addition to increased population pressure, CEW has developed resistance to some insecticides (pyrethroids) as well as field-evolved resistance to some types of Bt corn (corn that expresses Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) proteins with insecticidal properties).
What can you do?
As a consumer, reconsider your expectations for perfect produce. For the most part, CEW damage is limited to the tip of the ear. Rather than refuse to purchase anything resembling pest damage, simply cut off the tip of the cob.
As a grower, now is the time to sign up to follow our SWEET CORN Pheromone Trap Network Blog where pest information and trap counts are posted weekly during the season. You’ll receive emails when a new post appears.
Learn more about vegetable production at our NYSIPM Program Vegetable Page
September 27, 2018
by Debra E. Marvin
Comments Off on Spotted Lanternfly: A Foe You Should Know
Ryan Parker, NYSIPM Program/Extension Aide II, has spent plenty of hours facing Spotted Wing Drosophila. Today he’s discussing the newest spotted pest.
Adult spotted lanternfly. Photo by Emelie Swackhamer, Penn State University, Bugwood.org
Tree of heaven. Photo by Chuck Bargeron, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org
Tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima) is just heavenly to a spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula). This invasive planthopper is sadly all but exclusive to that invasive tree, but has been found on stone fruit, blueberries, grapevine, and a smorgasbord of 70+ species as hosts. Its ability to use favorites such as hop vines and black walnut as preferential hosts for its life cycle will continue to be studied.
Perhaps it would be more accurate to call the spotted lanternfly (SLF) by its alternate name, Chinese blistering cicada. Acting to blister, fester, spread out its cute little wings and become personified as new breed of supervillain. Black widow please step away, Hollywood + spotted lanternfly = horror-able. All puns aside, everybody loves facts.
The insect has been found in 2014 in PA (now at infestation levels), DE (2018), NJ (2018), VA (2018), and NY (2018). In New York, only one insect was found at both locations (Albany and Penn Yan). NYS citizens who were knowledgeable in the identification of the insect reported the finding, proving that awareness of this pest will play a crucial role in limiting its spread.
SLF is aesthetically pleasing. Case in point:
Photo by Lawrence Barringer, PA Dept. of Agriculture, Bugwood.org.
Looks aside, its true colors show when its presence leads to crop loss, increased maintenance, and management costs. Don’t forget the reduction of a person’s quality of life and hazardous working conditions.
These insects, with all life stages present, mass on a given plant, sucking sap through their piercing-sucking mouth parts. Unlike the earlier instars, older SLF can pierce through thicker tissue. They do not feed directly on fruit, but may affect fruit quality.
Mass of lanternflies on tree. Photo by Lawrence Barringer, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, Bugwood.org
While feeding, spotted lanternflies’ honeydew excrement encourages the growth of sooty mold that builds up on leaves, fruit, and around the bases of trees–especially if infestation levels are high. The presence of a fermenting odor caused by SLF feeding damage, and the sweetness of excreted honeydew also attracts nuisance insects, including wasps and flies. And sooty mold can become slippery. There is great concern about the sheer numbers of insects, because SLF abundance can be problematic for agricultural machinery and harvested products.
Spotted lanternfly lays eggs on virtually any smooth and strong surface, including plant material, stones, bricks, metal, and plastic. Thus, egg masses can be spread easily and unknowingly, and their dispersal can occur through practically any mode of transportation.
Spotted lanternfly egg mass. Photo credit: Emelie Swackhamer, Penn State University.
One generation occurs per year: adults develop in July, lay eggs from September-November. Overwintering egg masses—each containing 30-50 eggs—are usually covered in a waxy brown substance resembling mud. First instar nymphs emerge between May-June. First three instars are black and white; the fourth acquiring red pigments.
There is no current lure for SLF. Sentinel trees of tree of heaven are used to monitor, trap, and kill insects with systemic insecticides. Wrapping trees trunks with sticky bands, or scraping off egg masses can help. Or simply squish the nymphs and adults.
DEC Press Release: Think You Found a Spotted Lanternfly in New York?
Anyone that suspects they have found SLF is encouraged to send a photo to email@example.com. Please note the location of where the insect was found, egg masses, and/or infestation signs. Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Dept. of Ag and Markets (DAM) also encourage the public to inspect outdoor items such as vehicles, furniture, and firewood for egg masses. Anyone that visits the Pennsylvania or New Jersey Quarantine Areas should thoroughly inspect their vehicle, luggage and gear for SLF and egg masses before leaving and scrape off all egg masses.
A Smartphone application is also available to help citizens and conservation professionals quickly and easily report new invasive species sightings directly to New York’s invasive species database from their phones. For more information, visit http://www.nyimapinvasives.org/
For More Information Please Visit:
Drum Roll: The Spotted Lanternfly (NYSIPM Blog Mary M. Woodsen, 2018)
Spotted Lanternfly DEC Factsheet (May, 2018)
Spotted Lanternfly Management Calendar (Penn State Extension, 2017)
September 7, 2018
by Mary M. Woodsen
Comments Off on The eat-local movement: IPM works for you…
… no matter who you are.
Eat local! For towns and cities small and large, the eat-local movement is a boon for farmers and consumers alike. You (the consumer) get your veggies fresh, while you (the farmer) can build a base of local buyers who know your products.
Tomatoes, cukes, and sweet peppers. Lettuce and spinach, arugula and swiss chard. For farmers who grow them, the season is always too short—and winter too long. Now some have adopted the high-tunnel approach to get ahead of the game.
And what is a high tunnel, exactly? Uh … well, I’ll grant you there’s no “exactly” to many a thing—high tunnels included. But whatever the specifics, they have much in common. For starters, this type of greenhouse is usually a plastic covered structure with less environmental control, relying on passive ventilation for cooling.
But like everything in agriculture, high-tunnel crops have can have insect pests. Plant pathogens. Weeds.
How do we help? Let us count the ways. Crafting a solid IPM plan is a great place to start. The plan lays out practices that help prevent pests, be they diseases, weeds or insects. Choosing pest-resistant varieties helps lessens the need for pesticides. Ditto with becoming familiar with a range of biocontrols while you’re still ahead of the game. Then there’s getting the ID’s right: learning the appearance or symptoms of pests that just happen to be checking out the premises. Once you’ve nailed the IDs, it’s time to scout early and often.
Diversifying and rotating crops plays a big role too. So does getting watering, ventilation, and fertilizing down to an art—a must-do, since too much or too little of any of these can encourage those pests you are trying to control.
Next time you are buying local – ask your local farmer how they include IPM in their production. You’ll find they are all doing their best to grow beautiful, delicious veggies for you.
July 12, 2018
by Mary M. Woodsen
Comments Off on It’s Invasive Species Week, and …
We’re smack-dab in the middle of Invasive Species Week, and we’ve got info for you.
Are you a gardener? Take a look at our Alternatives to Ornamental Invasive Plants. We’ve got garden flowers. Vines. Trees. Shrubs. Aquatics—plants that like wet feet but will do fine in many gardens.
Like to walk in the woods? Our Landscape and Forest Pest webpage alerts you to emerging pests.
Or you could go to NYIS.INFO … your gateway to science-based information, innovative tools, news and events—all for coping with biological invaders in New York.
Granted—it’s not the cheeriest of weeks, but it’s best we be aware. It is, after all, in our collective self-interest.
May 23, 2018
by Mary M. Woodsen
Comments Off on The Invasive of the Month Is … (Drum Roll)
Drum Roll: The Spotted Lanternfly
Southeastern Pennsylvania, the epicenter of spotted lanternfly’s arrival in 2014, might seem far enough away to give us in New York prep time for dealing with this new pest, a weak flyer that usually hops to get around. But with the spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula—and SLF for short), all bets are off. After all, it took over Korea, whose climate is surprisingly like our own, in no time flat. And now it’s in Maryland. Delaware. Virginia. New Jersey.
New York’s first find happened to be dead. Blind dumb luck.
How anything so pretty could be so nasty boggles the mind. But it’s the nature of nature. Since ID’ing SLF correctly is key to good IPM, let’s start with the nymphs—the young-uns. In this case they come in two snazzy colors. The early-stage nymphs are straight-on black or, once they’ve molted, black and white—handsome devils or trendy fashionistas; take your pick. For late-stage nymphs (late-stage means they molted—again—and outgrew the skin they had after they hatched), add blobs of blood-red, and that critter looks ready to conquer the world.
Which it might.
Does that bright, traffic-light red signal toxicity, as it does for many other potential prey? Right now all I know is that birds have been seen throwing up after grabbing one for a snack—and yes, they are toxic to us.
Meanwhile, adult SLFs look positively benign. Lovely, in fact. Don’t believe it for a minute. These classy lads and lassies resemble butterflies or moths, but don’t believe that either—they are, you’ll recall, planthoppers; the name refers to its mode of locomotion.
Whatever. Spotted lanternflies have a destiny. Their natural expertise in the pole-vault isn’t their only way to get around. How many roads (think interstates especially) wend their way from southeastern Pennsylvania to points north, south, east and west? Lots.
Consider your car or camper, for starters. Firewood? You’d be slack-jawed at the degree to which firewood fits into the equation. Just the eggs alone—not easy to see with a cursory look—can easily hitch rides to new areas, meaning that New York is a mere hop, skip and a jump away. Trains, tractor trailers, wheel wells, the cargo hold in a jet—this pest doesn’t need to lay its eggs on organic matter. Planning a long-distance road trip? California, here we come.
“I don’t want to scare people,” says Dr. Surendra Dara, an IPM and crop advisor at the University of California, “but it has the potential to spread, and we do not have a biological-control agent.”
Which is why you, dear reader, are our eyes on the ground.
But wait. Other than toxicity, I haven’t even told you why to be alarmed about this critter. Grapes, apples, hops—these and more high-value crops rank in the billions for New York. Apples alone ring the register at about $317 million.
New York’s forestry crops are vital, too. Here’s what forest crops provide:
- jobs for 49,200 people with payrolls of over $1.6 billion;
- manufacturing, recreation and tourism providing over $11.0 billion to our economy;
- removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, sequestering carbon, and producing oxygen critical for all life on earth;
- filtering and buffering clean drinking water for millions of New Yorkers.
As our eyes on the ground, here’s what you need to know. Signs that spotted lanternfly are at our collective doorstep include:
- sap oozing or weeping from tiny open wounds on tree trunks;
- a yeasty smell (been near a brewery lately? That’s it);
- inch-long, brownish-gray egg masses—like waxy mud when new, brown and scaly when old
- heaps of honeydew under trees and vines and covered, often as not, with black sooty mold.
Besides fruit and hops, what’s at risk? Everything from willows to walnuts—and smooth-barked trees especially. But keep in mind that many a mature tree which, once it has packed on the pounds around its waist and takes on a decidedly rough or furrowed look, looks svelte and clean-cut while still relatively young. Go outside and look at any gently-furrowed tree, and chances are you’re looking at a host. For those areas where tree-of-heaven runs rife, well—you’re looking at what might be its most favorite host of all.
Though it’s hard to wrap your mind around, it sups on some—maybe all—field crops. “We’ve seen it in some of the grain crops that are out there, soybean and what have you,” said Fred R. Strathmeyer Jr., Pennsylvania’s deputy secretary of agriculture. “It’s able to feed on many, many different things.”
Now think about honeydew. Not the drink, not the melon; rather the stuff bugs secrete as they feed. A case of in one end, out the other as they move down the chow line. Although native insects also secrete honeydew, the size of the SLF and staggering numbers that congregate from place to place makes for a remarkable amount of honeydew. Parked your car beneath an infested tree? Time to clean off those sticky windshield wipers.
For sure—this sticky mess and the swarms of insects it attracts gets in the way of outdoor fun. In Pennsylvania, where SLF populations are the densest, people near the heart of the problem can’t go outside without getting honeydew on their hair, clothes, and whatever they’re carrying. At which point “outdoor” and “fun” no longer have all that much in common.
So that’s it in a nutshell and, for spotted lanternfly, all the news that’s fit to print. For now.
Wait … now for the late breaking news:
April 6, 2018
by Mary M. Woodsen
Comments Off on The Craziest of Worms
They sound kind of cute, right? “Crazy worms” that could actually amuse you? Gyrating in a box of soil, say, sort of like disco dancers? (I’m showing my age here.)
Oh. And trust me; I’m not going off topic here: for many kinds of fish, fishing season started a few days ago. A date that synced, purely by chance, with April Fools Day. (We’ll leave Easter Sunday out of the equation.)
What’s the connection? The economic impact of fresh-water fishing for New York is about $2.26 billion. Watch them in action and crazy worms (aka jumping worms) would seem the ideal bait worm. But don’t even think about it. Illegally sold as bait in some places, this thing has already spread way too far. To have equipped yourself for April First with these critters would have been foolery, pure and simple.
Yet surely—aren’t earthworms good for composting; for your garden and lawn? Won’t they help aerate the soil? Feed the soil?
Alas, these worms make our everyday night crawlers (a mixed blessing in many ecologist’s books) look wondrously benign. Because unlike some other worms that help build soil, crazy worms destroy it, devouring everything that makes soil. Nor do they snub the roots of (for instance) your veggies, your posies, and yes, your lawn—these roots are solid fare for crazy worms. (Farmers aren’t happy campers either.)
And get a load of the crazy worms’ craziest attribute: their remarkable birthing abilities. Most of your standard-issue night crawlers are hermaphrodites—they possess both males and female organs—but at least they must date another of the same kind if they’re going to make babies. Crazy worms? All are female. No need for dates or mates. And their reproduction rate far exceeds that of other worms.
What about our cold winters? They encase their eggs in cocoons. And while crazy worms don’t survive severe northern winters, their cocoons do. All it takes is one to begin an infestation. And if that doesn’t give you pause….
BTW, our forests are as threatened as our fields. Where infestations are high, these worms strip all organic matter from the forest floor, exposing tree roots. Gone is the soil layer that seedlings and wildflowers rely on. When soil is stripped of organics it becomes clumpy, granular, and prone to compaction and erosion. Bad news all around.
Oh—and they’re accomplished hitch-hikers. You might find them in, say, that potted plant you bought from your local big box store. You could also find them in bagged mulch and compost. You might even find their cocoons—small and dark, resembling a clump of soil, on the soles of your boots.
Found some? Your next step: call your county’s Cooperative Extension office or regional NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. They need to know. For heaven’s sake, don’t give seedlings or plants from infested soil to your neighbor down the street or a plant exchange in your town. And if you’re an angler? Take the high road. Don’t buy crazy worms from out-of-state suppliers.
Resources: As you look through these resources, note the crazy worm’s other name: jumping worms.