New York State IPM Program

July 12, 2019
by Debra E. Marvin
Comments Off on North Country Cutworm Crusader Mike Hunter receives an EXCELLENCE IN IPM Award

North Country Cutworm Crusader Mike Hunter receives an EXCELLENCE IN IPM Award

Press Release by Mariah Courtney Mottley. Media contact: Jaime Cummings

 

Fields Crop Specialist Mike Hunter is seen near a trap meant for pests entering this field corn plot.

Field crops specialist Mike Hunter works with the Cornell Cooperative Extension North Country Regional Ag Team.

Mike Hunter, a field crops specialist in the Cornell Cooperative Extension North Country Regional Ag Team, received an Excellence in Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Award from the New York State Integrated Pest Management Program (NYSIPM) at Cornell University’s Aurora Farm Field Day. Hunter was supposed to receive the in January at the crop congress meeting in Watertown but dangerous snowstorms delayed the presentation. NYSIPM develops sustainable ways to manage pests and helps people to use methods that minimize environmental, health and economic risks. The award honors individuals who encourage the adoption of IPM in their businesses, schools, communities, and farms, and who develop new tools and tactics for sharing these practices.

Photo shows a western bean cutworm larva in the tip of a corn cob.

Western Bean Cutworm is a destructive corn pest.

Hunter has served the farming communities of Jefferson and Lewis counties for over 17 years as a field crops specialist. His personal experience on his family’s farm and in the private sector of agricultural business has inspired his passion for practical crop production and pest management solutions. He is considered an expert on weed management and the Western Bean Cutworm (WBC), an insect that recently invaded the North Country, and has spent years monitoring the pest and giving talks about it here and in Canada.

In 2017, Hunter was one of the first people in New York to encounter a population of WBC that were resistant to the CryF1 toxin that is incorporated into genetically modified corn. The WBCs are the larvae of a Noctuid moth notorious for causing significant yield and quality losses to corn and dry beans – the cutworm made its debut here in the Empire State in 2009. Of Hunter’s on-farm efficacy trials, Kitty O’Neil, an extension specialist in Canton NY, said, “the results were so clear and important, and Mike’s expertise is valued so highly, he was invited to speak at nine different winter field crop meetings across NY and Ontario last winter.” She continues, “Mike’s generosity and willingness to teach others has massively multiplied his impact.”

Photo shows Dr. Jennifer Grant awarding a plaque to Mike Hunter for his Excellence in IPM Award.

NYSIPM Director, Dr. Jennifer Grant awards Mike Hunter his Excellence in IPM award during the recent annual Aurora Field day at Musgrave Farm.

Hunter has collected data from pheromone trapping and field scouting, and made IPM recommendations for farmers suffering with WBC. Stephen Eisel, of the Copenhagen, NY farm where Hunter first identified the resistant pest reported, “Mike Hunter has been a great help to my farm…. We treated the fields following Mike’s recommendations and the fields recovered perfectly. Thanks to Mike and his IPM expertise, I was able to avoid a big and costly problem for my farm.”

In his role helping farmers with their crops, Hunter has also been a champion of using native beneficial nematodes (EPN) as a biological control for the alfalfa snout beetle, an invasive pest that causes much concern for farmers in the north country. Nematodes are tiny worms that parasitize and eventually kill the beetles, and stay in the soil to infect future generations of the pest. Hunter has researched the feasibility of applying EPNs to the soil via liquid manure—an application method that many farmers are excited to embrace.

Michael Kiechle, a farmer in Philadelphia NY, noted, “Over 10 years ago, Mike diagnosed a problem with Alfalfa Snout Beetle over the phone, confirmed it through farm visits and introduced me to the nematodes for control. I now have a pretty decent alfalfa crop… Mike followed up his reasoning with relevant research, and made contact with other researchers and agronomists on my behalf… He is knowledgeable, he understands agriculture and can adapt solutions to the unique needs of the farm.”

Ken Wise extension educator with NYSIPM said, “Mike takes time for everyone and helps them in a respectful and informative way.”

Learn more about Integrated Pest Management at nysipm.cornell.edu.

Post by Mariah Courtney Mottley

 

March 28, 2019
by Joellen Lampman
Comments Off on Happy National Weed Appreciation Day!

Happy National Weed Appreciation Day!

It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one destiny, affects all indirectly. – Dr.  Martin Luther King, Jr.

Ahhh, the weed. Despised by many, almost to the point of violence. Once, while waiting for my older child to get out of preschool, I sat in the lawn and blew dandelion heads to the delight of my infant. I’ve never forgotten the sudden manifestation of a red-faced man screaming at me about terrorizing the neighborhood. (I like to think my son was unaffected.)

The first step in IPM is determining if you have a problem. All those years ago, a large, angry man was a problem, but I contend to this day that the dandelions were not. An unknown author penned that weeds are people’s idea, not nature’s. And many through the years have found inspiration from weeds. While researching this post, I had the option of strictly sticking to quotes about weeds (don’t worry, I didn’t), but I will add a few. There are quotes about their survivability:

You can’t help but admire a plant that has adapted to lawn mowers.

  • A weed is a plant that has mastered every survival skill except for learning how to grow in rows. – Doug Larson
  • A fresh and vigorous weed, always renewed and renewing, it will cut its wondrous way through rubbish and rubble. – William Jay Smith

Quotes about weeding:

  • Plant and your spouse plants with you; weed and you weed alone. – Jean-Jacques Rousseau

And many waxed poetic about their hidden value:

  • What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have never been discovered. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • When life is not coming up roses, Look to the weeds and find the beauty hidden within them. – F. Young

But beyond their value as a philosophical aid, can weeds be beneficial?

In fact, what weeds you find can tell you something about the soil. Is it wet or dry? Lean or fertile? Compacted? Acidic, alkaline, or neutral? Check out the short overview from the University of Vermont, What Weeds Can Tell You. Then act accordingly.

Often, weeds we find troublesome are plants we once valued. Dandelions, garlic mustard, plantain, and burdock are examples of plants brought over and cultivated by settlers to North America for food and medicine. And there are efforts to regain that value. One doesn’t need to spend too much time on the internet to find many resources on edible weeds. Take a look at this short video, Edible Weeds | From the Ground Up, developed by the University of Wyoming Extension (which includes some precautions you should take if you want to try eating your problems away). The Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education recently funded a project looking at bringing edible weeds from the farm to the market.

These trichogramma wasp parasitized European corn borer eggs aren’t going to hatch.

There is research looking at the ecosystem services provided by weeds in agricultural settings. In their project, Integrating Insect, Resistance, and Floral Resource Management in Weed Control Decision-Making, Cornell researchers make the argument that while weeds can compete with crops, they can also benefit the entire system. They use milkweed along a field of corn as a case study. There are aphids that feed on the milkweed and produce honeydew, which benefits beneficial insects such as wasps that lay their eggs in the eggs of insect pests such as European corn borer. And that’s before they discuss the benefit to monarch butterflies.

Early flowering weeds, such as this purple deadnettle, provide an early spring food source for pollinators.

And speaking of butterflies… and bees… and other pollinators, in the write-up of a study looking at the capacity of untreated home lawns to provide pollination opportunities, they reclassified weeds as “spontaneous lawn flowers”. So much friendlier! By the way, they found 63 plant species in those lawns. In a parallel study looking at mowing and pollinators, they found that lazy lawn mowing led to more spontaneous lawn flowers leading to more pollinators. So now I have also given you an excuse to mow less. You’re welcome.

So embrace your spontaneous flowers!

If, after today, you still want to manage those plants, you can always find a plethora of resources for different settings within our New York State Integrated Pest Management website.

March 6, 2019
by Debra E. Marvin
Comments Off on An #IPM Field Trip

An #IPM Field Trip

Recently, our Livestock & Field Crops IPM Extension Area Educator, Ken Wise did a guest lecture in the Cornell IPM class taught by Dr. Toni DiTomasso and Dr. John Losey.  But Ken didn’t only stand in front of the chalkboard (or white board); he did a hands-on lecture on fly pest management at the new teaching dairy facility near campus.

Forty or so student were present for the educational tour which happened to coincide with a very recent birth.

Livestock & Field Crops Coordinator Jaime Cummings was along: “Ken shared his 20 years of experience in livestock IPM education with Cornell undergrads on identifying and managing fly pests. Students showed their interest with many good questions and were excited at the opportunity to tour the teaching dairy facility, where the calves were a big hit in drumming up interest in NY dairy production!”

For more on Dairy fly management, the NYSIPM Program has a full list of video playlists including LIVESTOCK IPM.

January 23, 2019
by Debra E. Marvin
Comments Off on NEWA “Survey Says…”

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.

 

Dan Olmstead presents a NEWA Workshop at the recent Empire State Producer’s Expo

 

Fewer vegetable than fruit models are available on NEWA. Cabbage maggot and onion maggot models are popular among growers (Fig. 2). Use percentages were based on the number of respondents to disease and insect model questions, which were 35 and 20, respectively. NEWA vegetable tool development is an area for future growth. In addition, promotion and education on how to use existing vegetable tools would increase use.

Dr. Juliet Carroll, Fruit IPM Coordinator, NYS IPM Program, NEWA founder

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:

The 2017 NEWA user survey: understanding grower impact, needs, and priorities

The 2017 NEWA survey: current and potential users

The 2017 NEWA survey: IPM impact

The 2017 NEWA survey: use of models, tools, and resources

The 2017 NEWA survey: discussion and future directions

Using weather data is a primary part of IPM. Learn more about NEWA by following the YOUR NEWA BLOG and visit NEWA to see for yourself how this important resource.

January 2, 2019
by Mary M. Woodsen
Comments Off on IPM Celebrates the New Year With News for You

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.

February:

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

March:

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.

May:

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.

November:

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!

Resources:

December 26, 2018
by Joellen Lampman
Comments Off on 2018’s Best of NYS IPM

2018’s Best of NYS IPM

“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)

 

Are you safe now?

Ticks in February?

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:

The Spotted Wing Drosophila blog has an obvious focus, but the post Spotted lanternfly found in two counties in NY captured the most views.

 

Biocontrol Bytes was begun at the end of 2018 and many of you have been enjoying the updates on the Creating habitat for beneficial insects project.

 

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”.

 

Gypsy moths on Christmas trees? Check out the Tree Integrated Pest Management blog and see how it’s now a thing in the Gypsy Moth Caterpillars -Scout for them now post.

 

Facebook

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.

 

Twitter

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.

 

 

 

Annual Report

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.

Here’s a picture of the spotted lanternfly you have been hearing about.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

December 20, 2018
by Debra E. Marvin
Comments Off on Avipel Shield seed repellent reduces feeding by birds on newly planted corn

Avipel Shield seed repellent reduces feeding by birds on newly planted corn

NYSIPM’s Livestock & Field Crops IPM Extension Area Educator, Ken Wise, has news for field corn growers.

Crows, ravens, black birds, starlings, grackles, Canada geese, sea gulls and wild turkeys have been a pest problem annually for corn growers in New York. Damage to corn stands occurs when planted corn emerges and birds pull the seedling corn out of the soil to eat the seed. This damage dramatically reduces corn plant populations.

Avipel Shield is a seed treatment that is classified as a bio-pesticide designed to deter bird feeding on newly planted corn seed in a nontoxic manner. Avipel’s active ingredient is anthraquinone, an extract from the rhubarb plant.

Over the past two years, we have had field trials at 36 locations across the state to evaluate the Avipel seed treatment. Overall, the results of the trials showed a significant improvement in corn seedling populations in the Avipel treated plots, compared to the non-treated controls. Therefore, Avipel is a viable, and environmentally-sound integrated management option for NY corn growers to manage losses to bird predation in newly planted corn.

Figure 1: Avipel vs Control Plant Populations in 2017

Figure 2: Avipel vs Control Plant Populations in 2018

Avipel Shield is now registered to use on corn seed in New York State

Visit our website for more about NYSIPM’s Livestock and Field Crops team.

Ken’s long service with the NYSIPM program makes him known to many farmers across the state. He provides leadership in innovative educational and applied research programs relative to IPM in Field Crops and Livestock Producers in New York; assists Extension Educators in extension program development, assessing needs, implementation, and evaluation relative to IPM in Field Crops and Livestock Producers in New York; conducts applied research relative to IPM in Field Crops and Livestock in Eastern New York; and he’s the Acting/Interim NYS IPM Livestock and Field Crops Coordinator. Ken is located in the Hudson Valley. Field crop IPM assistance is also supported by Jaime Cummings in Eastern NY, and by vegetable educators Abby Seaman and Marion Zuefle.

November 23, 2018
by Debra E. Marvin
Comments Off on Training the Next Generation of Crop Scouts and Advisors

Training the Next Generation of Crop Scouts and Advisors

Today’s post is by  Jaime Cummings, NYS IPM Field Crops and Livestock Coordinator

Scouting for corn pests and diseases (photo by Ken Wise)

Each year, hundreds of prospective certified crop advisors (CCA’s) prepare for the certification exams across the country.  This certification is required by many reputable independent crop consultant firms for their scouts and consultants to ensure that they hire only the best and most well-informed applicants.  Each region of the country has its own certification exam, including the Northeast region.   Preparation for the Northeast region certification involves a three day intensive training in Syracuse in November, followed by self-study with online tutorial videos, and finally two exams in February.  One exam is to earn the International Certified Crop Advisor certification, and the other is more specific to each region.  It is required that all registrants pass both exams to earn their certification.  Once certified, CCA’s must also earn annual continuing education credits to retain their certification and to stay current on relevant issues.

It is a challenging process, and only those who are well-prepared will pass the certification exams.  The curriculum of the courses and exams covers four core competency areas:  crop management, soil fertility and nutrient management, soil and water management, and pest management.  Northeast regional CCA experts from the University of Vermont, Penn State University, Cornell University, SUNY Morrisville, SUNY ESF, NYS Department of Ag and Markets, USDA, DEC and other agribusiness industries, all come together to facilitate the annual basic and advanced trainings.

The steps of IPM are a key portion of the CCA training session.

The NYS IPM program has had a long history of involvement with these trainings in order to best prepare CCA’s for scouting for pests and diseases and for making sound management recommendations to their farmers, with the goal of reducing unnecessary pesticide applications through attention to thresholds and appropriate management guidelines.  This year is no exception.  The NYS IPM Field Crops and Livestock team members, Jaime Cummings and Ken Wise, who are both CCA’s, have been preparing to host sessions in the annual training next week.  Jaime developed a training video for the IPM portion of the pest management basic training and will be co-hosting the Q&A session on weeds, pest and diseases.  These sessions will provide the basic background information on the concepts and practices of integrated pest management.  Ken will be leading an advanced training session on the importance of crop scouting and the proper scouting methods for various pests.  Ken will also be co-hosting a session with another IPM specialist, Marion Zuefle, on bird management in cropping systems.  The topics for the advanced training session vary each year, and other members of NYS IPM have been involved with leading those sessions on topics such as IPM in vegetable production systems, and development and use of weather-based tools for predicting pest and disease occurrence in past years.

Scouting for insects in alfalfa. (photo by Keith Waldron)

Through our involvement in this process, NYS IPM ensures that the next generation of CCA’s understands the importance of implementing the best IPM practices throughout their careers.  Earning this certification means that a CCA understands that an integrated approach to pest and disease management is the best approach to minimize risk to individuals, the environment and the farmers’ bottom line through correct identification of pests, proper scouting and attention to action thresholds to minimize unnecessary pesticide applications.  As the CCA exams approach, we wish all prospective CCA’s the best of luck, and look forward to working with them on NY farms in the future!  If you’re interested in more information on the CCA program, check out this six minute video.

CCAs learn the basic concepts of IPM during the training.

Jaime Cummings is the Field Crops and Livestock IPM Coordinator of the NYS IPM Program. She is housed at  524 Bradfield Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca NY, 14853

Jaime Cummings

November 20, 2018
by Debra E. Marvin
Comments Off on New Posters Available from Don’t Get Ticked New York

New Posters Available from Don’t Get Ticked New York

Many of us have snow or slush on the ground. While this changes tick activity, it doesn’t mean tick and tick-borne disease risk is over.  We’re pleased to provide our newest Tick infographic posters for Farmers, Hunters and Children.  Members of the community IPM team continue to gather all the latest information on tick activity and tick-borne diseases regardless of the season. All thirteen posters are listed below, with direct links to printable PDFs.

Today, we’ll highlight our recommendations for HUNTERS!

This poster, featuring a hunter, shows how to check yourself for ticks, and safely remove a tick.

Part of that effort involves creating resources to help educate New Yorkers, as well as giving talks around the state and taking part in online webinars.

Don’t Get Ticked New York offers thirteen infographic posters.  Along the right side of our webpage https://nysipm.cornell.edu/whats-bugging-you/ticks/, look for TICK INFOGRAPHIC POSTERS which will link you to ECommons and the pdfs for all of our posters. Where? See below!

Here’s the full list as of November 2018, with direct links to the pdfs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

October 24, 2018
by Debra E. Marvin
Comments Off on Western Bean Cutworm Population Boom

Western Bean Cutworm Population Boom

This post is based on an article written for Cornell’s WHAT’S CROPPING UP blog by Ken Wise (NYS IPM) and Mike Hunter (CCE North Country Regional Ag Team) with editing by NYS IPM’s Jaime Cummings and Marion Zuefle.

Read the full article here

 

Western bean cutworm (Striacosta albicosta) aka WBC was first discovered in New York State in 2009. This insect pest of corn and dry beans can cause significant yield and quality losses to field corn grain.

The Western bean cutworm moth (Photo by: Adam Sisson, Iowa State University, Bugwood.org)

The adult moth lays eggs on the upper surface of leaf just before tasseling. White eggs turn tan, and then a purplish color before hatching (Fig. 2). Tiny and protected1st instar larvae feed on their own egg shell before moving on to leaves, pollen and silk. (Fig. 3). 4th instars bore into the corn ear to feed on kernels (Fig. 4), and here’s the big difference between WBC and other worm pests (European corn borer, corn ear worm): multiple worms in one ear. Matured larvae drop to the soil surface, then burrow down to overwinter in a pre-pupa stage (Fig. 5). They complete pupation in late spring and emerge from the soil from mid-July through mid-August. The adult moths fly and mate during late July to early August.

Figure 2: Eggs are white when first laid and then turn purplish before hatching (Photo by Mike Hunter, CCE)

Figure 3: First instar Western Bean Cutworm larvae (photo by Mike Hunter, CCE)

Figure 4: Mature Western Bean Cutworm Larvae (Photo by Ken Wise, NYS IPM)

Figure 5: Soil chambers created by Western bean cutworm larvae- (Photo by Keith Waldron, NYS IPM)

Figure 6: Western Bean Cutworm Lifecycle

In 2010, we developed a WBC pheromone trap monitoring network. Each year, from late June through August, this network of CCE Educators, crop consultants and agricultural professionals place out bucket pheromone traps. A female WBC pheromone lure attracts and catches only the males. Each week they are counted and reported (along with location of the trap) to determine when scouting should occur. This, however, doesn’t determine if or when a field should be sprayed with an insecticide.

Since 2010, the population of the WBC in New York has increase exponentially. Likewise, we started with 19 volunteers and 44 traps in 29 counties, and in 2018, we had 50 volunteers and 118 traps in 45 counties.

Table 1. New York Western Bean Cutworm 2010 – 2018 Collection Data Summary*

Includes traps in field corn, sweet corn and dry beans

Average captures by trap went from 15 in 2010 to 333 in 2018. Northern NY is the hot spot for WBC—some traps had almost 3000 in a single trap.

Figure 8: Average Western Bean Cutworm Moths Caught in Traps Weekly (Includes traps in field corn, sweet corn and dry beans)

A very important aspect of managing WBC is knowing when peak flight occurs. This generally ranges from the last week in July to the first week in August. Because females prefer to lay eggs in pre-tassel corn, growers can determine when to be vigilant about scouting for WBC egg masses and small larva.

Figure 9: Average Moth Counts/Trap without Northern NY (Includes traps in field corn, sweet corn and dry beans)

The data suggests the population is beginning to build up in previously low-count areas of the state. In time, management of WBC populations will likely be needed across the state. Widespread, high WBC populations in Northern NY have resulted in insecticide treatments.

While WBC damage to corn ears can be significant and may have detrimental effects on corn grain yield and quality, the economic impact on corn silage is less understood. For more on this read the full report.

No matter what 2019 brings, the NY WBC Pheromone Trap Monitoring Network will be watching!

 

 

Kenneth Wise

Ken Wise

Livestock & Field Crops IPM Extension Area Educator, housed at CCE Dutchess County, Millbrook, NY

2018 New York WBC Pheromone Trap Monitoring Network: Thanks to cooperating growers for allowing us to use their fields for sample sites. Special thanks to the following individuals for their enthusiasm, dedication, excellent data collection and maintenance of the WBC trap network:  Adam Abers, Brian Boerman, Chuck Bornt, Elizabeth Buck, Sara Bull, Paul Cerosaletti, Mike Davis, Janice Degni, Dale Dewing, Natasha Field, Cassidy Fletcher, Jennifer Fimbel, Aaron Gabriel, Kevin Ganoe, Jeffrey Gardner, Don Gasiewicz, John Gibbons, Ethan Grundberg, Mike Kiechle, Ariel Kirk, Jeff Kubeka, George Krul, Christy Hoepting, Mike Hunter, Amy Ivy, Joe Lawrence, Jodi Lynn Letham, Jen Masters, Laura McDermott, Carol MacNeil, Sam Meigs, Stephanie Melancher, Sandy Menasha, Jeff Miller, Anne Mills, Eric Nixon, Kitty O’Neil, Jessica Prospers,  Bruce Reed, Teresa Rusinek, Erik Kocho-Schellenberg, Jack Steele, Abby Seaman, Keith Slocum, Paul Stackowski, Mike Stanyard, Dan Steward, Crystal Stewart, Allie Strun, Linda Underwood, Katherine Vail, Ken Wise, Anastasia Yakaboski, Glenn Yousey, Marion Zuefle, WNYCMA.  The WBC Bt corn trials were made possible with support from both the New York Corn Growers Association and the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program.

 

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