Agronomic Crop Insect Management

Joanne Whalen, Extension IPM Specialist;

Continue to sample for potato leafhoppers on a weekly basis. As temperatures increase you will see an increase in populations. Once plants are yellow, yield loss has already occurred. The treatment thresholds are 20 per 100 sweeps on alfalfa 3 inches or less in height, 50 per 100 sweeps in 4-6 inch tall alfalfa and 100 per 100 sweeps in 7-11 inch tall alfalfa.

Field Corn
We continue to find a few fields with cereal leaf beetle (CLB) adult feeding. Beetle adults can be found moving out of untreated small grains and feeding on the edge of corn fields. Although we do not have any firm thresholds for this insect on corn, as a general guideline controls may be needed if you find an average of 10 beetles per plant and 50% of the plants exhibit feeding damage. In the Midwest, it has been reported that the adult beetle is a vector of maize chlorotic mottle virus (MCMV) that causes corn lethal necrosis disease. Thresholds for beetle feeding would be much lower if this disease is an issue. We have not seen this virus in Delaware corn fields; however, please let us know if you suspect a problem.

As stink bugs move from weeds and wheat into corn, you will want to start sampling corn for this insect pest. Please see the most recent report on stink bug sampling and treatment timing in field corn form North Carolina

Be sure to sample the earliest planted fields for bean leaf beetles, potato leafhoppers, thrips, grasshoppers, green cloverworm and spider mites. Grasshoppers are present, especially in no-till fields. As barley and wheat are harvested and soybeans are planted, these fields will be susceptible to attack and grasshopper feeding can often cause stand loss. If stand reductions are occurring from plant emergence to the second trifoliate, a treatment should be applied. Although no precise thresholds are available, a treatment may be needed if you find one grasshopper per sweep and 30% defoliation from plant emergence through the pre-bloom stage. Numerous products are labeled for grasshopper control in soybeans. Be sure to check all labels carefully before combining insecticides and herbicides since there are a number of restrictions, including cautions on phytotoxicity.