Vegetable Crop Insect Scouting

Scout transplants coming out of the greenhouse for spider mite stippling and injury. When planting these, pay careful attention to the field to make sure spider mites do not quickly increase in numbers. Under the leaf in the photo are 3 mites; this was the only plant in the flat with easily identifiable mite injury. Early fall sanitation will help reduce mite overwintering.

stippling on melon leaf from spider mite feeding

General Vegetable Pests
Be sure to scout recently planted tomatoes and brassicas for flea beetle injury. Flea beetles are very small, dark beetles with enlarged hind legs for hopping. They leave a shot hole type feeding injury and in cool conditions, plants might not outgrow them before damage is severe. Recent work performed by Dr. Tom Kuhar at Virginia Tech demonstrates that cabbage yields decrease when defoliated somewhere between 10 and 20%. Tomato thresholds are 2 flea beetles on small transplants, 4 on 3-6” plants, and 8 on plants over 6 inches.