Dr. Bryan Brown examines a single WATERHEMP plant capable of producing thousands of seeds.
Summer annual weeds start flowering in early August, so it’s important to control them beforehand to prevent seed production. This is true for commercial growers and for homeowners. One of the most prolific is waterhemp, a bane to growers because it’s also resistant to herbicides. According to our INTEGRATED WEED MANAGEMENT SPECIALIST, DR. BRYAN BROWN, waterhemp is likely resistant to herbicide Groups 2, 5, and 9 in NY.
That’s why Bryan is collaborating with growers and researchers around the state to investigate other controls, including cultivation, cover cropping, and even a device that zaps weeds with electricity. Funding for this work was provided by the Farm Viability Institute.
“Here we’re removing waterhemp that survived some of our herbicide treatments in soybeans. Because this trial is done in a grower’s field and we don’t want it to spread, we’re removing it before it sets seed (up to 500,000).”
While other pigweed species have short hairs on their stems, waterhemp and Palmer amaranth have smooth stems. The best way to distinguish waterhemp and Palmer amaranth is to rip off one of the lower leaves. Another characteristic of waterhemp and Palmer amaranth is separate male (pollen producing) and female (seed producing) plants. Herbicide resistance traits can transfer by pollen, which has allowed these weeds to develop resistance faster.
To prevent these weeds from taking hold, growers are also recommended to start weed-free with tillage, followed by a 2-pass program of residual and post-emergence herbicides that utilizes several effective sites of action. Foliar applied herbicides should be used when these weeds are less than four inches tall. Since these weeds emerge over a broader timeframe than most weeds, mid-season residual herbicide applications should be considered, along with increased planting density or tighter row spacing to help close the canopy earlier.
Waterhemp weed showing growth pattern.
If you do find yourself with escapes of these weeds, it makes economic sense to go hand-rogue those weeds out of your fields rather than deal with 200,000 to one million seeds in your soil from each weed. If there are too many to bag up by hand, consider sacrificing that patch of your crop by mowing and tilling the area before the weeds produce seed. Avoid harvesting these areas. Combines are especially good at spreading weed seeds. If you must harvest these areas, know that combines can carry 150 pounds of plant material even you think it’s empty, so check out some of the great online videos on how to clean them out after going through weedy fields.
The weakness of waterhemp and Palmer amaranth is the short lifespan of their seeds in the soil. Of those that don’t germinate, very few will survive in the soil for more than four years. So, if you can keep it under control for four years, you won’t have much of it after that. But as one Pennsylvania grower put it, “the cheapest way to control Palmer amaranth is to never get it in the first place.” So, it’s important to make sure that your seed, feed, bedding, and equipment are clean from the start.
Dr. Bryan Brown works with growers, extension educators, industry leaders, and researchers to address knowledge gaps in weed IPM and develop programming to improve adoption of effective weed management practices. His work covers all agricultural crops throughout New York.
Thank you, NY Farm Viability Institute
July 31, 2019
by Debra E. Marvin Comments Off on Onion Growers Put Skin in the Game, Earn Excellence in IPM Award
Elba onion growers, Matt Mortellaro, Guy Smith, Chuck Barie, Emmaline Long, and Mark and Max Torrey received an Excellence in IPM Award from the New York State Integrated Pest Management Program. The six are muck onion farmers in Elba, NY who meet weekly during the growing season for what is known as Muck Donut Hour, to discuss crop protection tactics.
Elba muck onion growers received their awards for Excellence in Onion Integrated Pest Management from New York State IPM in a small roadside ceremony appropriately at Muck Donut Hour this week. Flanked by Brian Nault, Cornell Onion Entomologist on the left, and Christy Hoepting, Cornell Cooperative Extension Vegetable Program Onion Specialist on the right are award recipients, Chuck Barie (CY Farms), Peter Smith (filling in for award winner Guy Smith with Triple G Farms), Emmaline Long (CY Farms), Matt Mortellaro (G. Mortellaro & Sons), Jennifer Grant (Director of NYIPM) and Max Torrey, Torrey Farms. Missing from photo was Mark Torrey.
Onions grown in muck soil—organically rich former swampland where production practices are unique and intense—are one of the most valuable crops in New York, with an average value of $34.6 million. In the Elba muck and surrounding pockets in Orleans, Genesee, and Livingston counties, eight farms produce 40% of the New York onion acreage on 3,000 acres. Mortellaro, Triple G, CY, and Big O farms account for almost 75% of that production.
In 2005, onion thrips infestations were nearly uncontrollable in New York. Populations of the vegetable-loving insect were resistant to multiple insecticides, and the hot and dry conditions created a worst-case scenario, causing crop losses exceeding 30%. The Elba muck growers helped Cornell researchers conduct dozens of research trials and host large-scale demonstrations on their land, in an attempt to understand the biology, ecology, and management of thrips. “The result culminated in a practical thrips management program, which includes regular scouting of onion fields followed by sparing use of insecticides designed to minimize resistance”, said Brian Nault, Professor of Entomology at Cornell AgriTech.
The Elba growers are now able to successfully manage their thrips infestations. They average between 1- 4 fewer insecticide applications and have saved an average of $113/acre, which is approximately $6,000-$226,000 per farm per year. In addition to regular scouting, the other key tool in the IPM arsenal is information exchange and discussions at the Muck Donut Hour, which Christy Hoepting, Senior Extension Associate with the Cornell Vegetable Program, describes as a way she keeps her ‘finger on the pulse’ of the pest complex each year.
Muck Donut Hour is a long-standing tradition.
A CCE tradition for over twenty years, the Muck Donut Hour is held weekly during the growing season. There growers and researchers discuss the latest research findings, scouting and spray reports. Hoepting notes the willingness of the muck onion farmers to entrust their crops to Cornell’s research, and their transparency in sharing spray records. She continues: “the Elba growers are undeniably brave; to so wholeheartedly adopt IPM practices demonstrates the extent of their faith in Cornell’s research on their farms. The risk of a pest spiraling out of control in a high-value onion crop is frightening. Clearly, these growers believe in solid science and go above and beyond to support it.”
CCE Educator Christy Hoepting
Steven Beer, Professor Emeritus of Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology at Cornell University, says, “without the cooperation of the Elba onion growers, it is not likely that so many IPM-themed tactics would have been adequately tested under real grower conditions. They set the standard for other growers.”
The Elba muck onion farmers are: Matt Mortellaro, a third generation muck farmer and co-owner of G. Mortellaro & Sons, with his brother Paul. “Matt is a fearless leader in adopting IPM strategies. He is committed to sustainable onion production and environmental stewardship, and is a strong advocate of onion IPM,” adds Hoepting. Guy Smith, a fourth generation muck farmer, owns Triple G Farms with his brother Greg and nephew Peter. Guy represents the Elba growing region on the board of directors for the New York Onion Research and Development Program. Chuck Barie and Emmaline Long are Crop Production Managers for CY Farms LLC, which grows 120 acres in Batavia and Elba. Chuck has been responsible for planting, spraying, irrigating and harvesting the onions for over twenty years. Emmaline joined the farm in 2014, after graduating from Cornell; she scouts CY’s entire onion acreage weekly, including counting thrips, to implement IPM. Together, she and Chuck make pest management decisions. CY has the ability to micro manage every 5-20 acre onion field based on each area’s precise pest management needs. Mark and Max Torrey are a father and son onion growing duo, and 11th and 12th generation farmers with Torrey Farms Inc. Max serves as the General Manager for Torrey’s onion operation, Big O Farms. As the largest grower in Elba, the Torrey’s pest management practices affect everyone, Hoepting adds, “Their commitment to implementing resistance management strategies and following IPM spray thresholds has been instrumental in preserving the longevity of insecticides remaining effective against thrips.”
The award will be presented to the pioneering growers during their Muck Donut Hour on July 30.
NYSIPM develops sustainable ways to manage pests and helps people 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. Learn more about Integrated Pest Management atnysipm.cornell.edu.
Press Release by Mariah Courtney Mottley. Media contact: Jaime Cummings
Elson Shields, a Cornell entomology professor, 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 on the Musgrave Research Farm. 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.
Elson Shields, right, and Charles Bornt, left, Extension Vegetable Specialist with the Cornell Cooperative Extension Eastern New York Commercial Horticulture team. Elson is explaining the process of EPN application for a biocontrol project to suppress wireworms in the field. Photo: T. Rusinek.
The alfalfa snout beetle, an invasive pest, is a perennial threat to north country alfalfa. In the absence of any registered insecticides for this pest, growers are forced to only use cultural and biological controls. Shields found success protecting alfalfa from the snout beetle with the use of native entomopathogenic nematodes (EPNs). Nematodes are tiny worms that parasitize and eventually kill the beetle larvae, and stay in the soil to infect future generations of the pest. Shields pioneered the use of nematodes that persist in the soil, and has been able to control snout beetles as long as six years after a single application of EPNs.
Shields has taught growers to rear the EPNs and to apply them to their own crops. Dr. Shields is also exploring ways to use these beneficial nematodes to protect specialty crops. He works with agribusiness consultants in the private sector and other researchers in the public sector. His effective strategy with persistent EPNs has been featured in trade journals such as Growing Produce, Good Fruit Grower and Dairy Herd Management. He received an Entomological Foundation Award for Excellence in IPM in 2013, and his promotion of persistent EPNs is being widely adopted.
Dr. Elson Shields speaks with farmers about his Northern New York Agricultural Development Program alfalfa snout beetle research at a field day in Belleville, NY. Photo courtesy of the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program.
By studying the persistence of nematodes applied to alfalfa through a crop rotation that included several years of corn, Shields observed that EPNs were also helping to control the corn rootworm, on their vacation time from alfalfa. Through collaborations with horticultural researchers, Shields is working on applying persistent EPNs as biological controls in crops such as strawberry, cranberry, sweet potato and turf. He is also studying the potential for using these techniques on greenhouse ornamentals.
Margaret Smith, Professor of Plant Breeding and Genetics at Cornell University, commends Shields’ willingness to question standard pest management orthodoxy and to follow research results wherever they might lead. She continues, “Elson’s snout beetle IPM effort is an exemplar of an outstanding public sector pest management program. Shields has done pioneering, innovating, and broadly effective research on an array of crops. His record of success will be hard to match.”
Laura McDermott, Regional Extension Specialist, says: “Dr. Shields’ work with native entomopathogenic nematodes is some of the most exciting applied research I’ve been involved with in my 30-year extension career. This integration of a biological control method as a way to manage difficult soil-borne insect pests is inexpensive, effective, and truly sustainable. Elson ALWAYS has the growers in the forefront of his mind. His efforts to teach farmers how to raise and apply these nematodes is testimony to his understanding of their abilities.”
“New York Agriculture, including the dairy, vegetable and fruit industries, have benefitted greatly from Elson’s vision and willingness to go above and beyond what is expected,” says Teresa Rusinek, Extension Associate for Vegetable Production in Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County. She continues, “I’ve observed at our field meetings and farm demo work that growers easily understand the system and readily adopt the biocontrol strategies Elson’s developed.”
March 28, 2019
by Joellen Lampman Comments Off on 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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
Corn earworm egg on silk
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).
Marion Zuefle checks a trap used in the Sweet Corn Pheromone Trap Network.
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.
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.
Anyone that suspects they have found SLF is encouraged to send a photo to firstname.lastname@example.org. 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/