Vegetable Crop Insects – July 25, 2014

Joanne Whalen, Extension IPM Specialist;

Lima Beans
Continue to sample for mites since we continue to find fields with economic levels, especially dry land fields. As soon as pin pods are present, be sure to watch carefully for plant bug and stink bug adults and nymphs. As a general guideline, treatment should be considered if you find 15 adults and/or nymphs per 50 sweeps. You should also begin scouting for corn earworm larvae in the earliest planted fields.

Continue to scout all melons for aphids, cucumber beetles, and spider mites. We are starting to see an increase in aphid populations. Early detection is critical since populations can quickly explode. In addition to cucumber beetle adults and larvae, we are also finding caterpillars feeding on rinds of watermelons including salt marsh caterpillars, beet armyworm, yellow striped armyworm, and cabbage looper. If beet armyworm is in the mix, it is important to select a material that is effective on this insect (refer to the Commercial Vegetable Recommendations) – the pyrethroids have not provided effective control of beet armyworm.

Depending on local trap catches, sprays should be applied on a 7-10 day schedule once pepper fruit is ¼ – ½ inch in diameter. Be sure to check local moth catches in your area by calling the Crop Pest Hotline (302-831-8851) or visit our website at At this time, you will also need to consider a treatment for pepper maggot. Be sure to also watch carefully for beet armyworm larvae since they can quickly defoliate plants. In addition, be sure to use a material that provides beet armyworm control — the pyrethroids have not provided control of this insect in past years.

Snap Beans
As corn borer and corn earworm populations start to increase again, you will need to consider treatments for both insect pests. Sprays are needed at the bud and pin stages on processing beans for corn borer control. As earworm trap catches increase, an earworm spray may also be needed at the pin stage. You will need to check our website for the most recent trap catches to help decide on the spray interval between the pin stage and harvest for processing snap beans. Once pin pods are present on fresh market snap beans, a 7 to 10-day schedule should be maintained for corn borer and corn earworm control.

Sweet Corn
Continue to sample all fields through pre-tassel stage for whorl feeders (corn borer, corn earworm and fall armyworm). A treatment should be applied if 12-15% of the plants are infested with larvae (regardless of the species). The predominant whorl feeder continues to be the fall armyworm. Since fall armyworm (FAW) feed deep in the whorls, sprays should be directed into the whorls and multiple applications are often needed to achieve control. FAW can also be a problem in silk stage sweet corn, especially in outbreak years. The first silk sprays will be needed as soon as ear shanks are visible. Be sure to check both blacklight and pheromone trap catches since the spray schedules can quickly change. Trap catches are generally updated on Tuesday and Friday mornings on our website ( and the Crop Pest Hotline (302-831-8851). Information on scouting sweet corn and how to use the trap catch information can be found at

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