Here are a few diagnostic apps and online field guides that crop scouts may appreciate.
“This apps offer high-quality, peer-reviewed images, diagnostic keys, tools, tips, and recommendations for the identification and management of various tomato diseases.”
Good Bugs + is an app developed by a team of research and extension specialists with the Great Lakes Vegetable Working Group. “It’s a detailed reference and pictorial guide to help farmers, gardeners, and naturalists recognize and identify bee pollinators, insects and spiders (natural enemies) that can reduce pest populations, and select native plants that attract and provide a food source (nectar and pollen) to natural enemies and pollinators.”
Focussed on insect pests on trees and shrubs in Ontario, the BugFinder app is searchable by host or by pest. What really sets BugFinder apart from other IPM resources is that is also uses the concept of time (Growing Degree Days (GDD) and Plant Phenology Indicators (PPI)) in the database searches. And Android version is under development.
Smartphone Apps – Bugwood.org (iPhone + iPad, Android)
A variety of apps including Great Lakes Vegetables – Sweet Corn Pest Identification and Management Guide, VegDr for cucurbit vegetables, tomato, and pepper (Georgia-focussed), IPM ToolKit (Wisconsin-focussed), Stink Bug Scout.
Scroll down to their Bugfinder (orange box) to narrow down your mystery insect by colour, province/state, and type of insect (if you can tell a beetle from a true bug or a moth from a fly). With large colour photos, this is a good visual tool. A big downside is the limited number of insects included, especially those relevant to agriculture in Ontario. Colorado potato beetle, spotted cucumber beetle, western corn rootworm beetle aren’t there or common lepidopteran larval pests like European corn borer, black cutworm, corn earworm.
This is a 40-page pdf, so not quite as handy as an app. You can decide if you want to use it online or invest some colour printer ink in making yourself a copy. It covers both plant-feeding (pest) and insect-feeding (beneficial) species, but note that not all of them are found as far north as Ontario.
Natural Enemy Field Guide, Dr. Mary Gardiner, Ohio State University
This is a 2-page pdf that helps with identification of beneficial insect that are predators or parasites of crop pest insects. It includes photos of lady beetles, other beetles, predatory bugs and flies, spiders, and parasitoids. There are several other natural enemy guides at Dr. Gardiner’s website.
Ohio Bee Identification Guide, S. Prajzner and Dr. M. Gardiner, Ohio State University
This is another 2-page pdf from the OSU team. This one will help you to identify some of the pollinators that you may see while crop scouting. It includes a wide variety of bees and some bee mimics.
And one more on stink bugs. Remember to watch for brown marmorated stink bug and report any finds. This guide from OMAFRA will help you distinguish it from some of the look-alikes.
Do you have other favourite scouting resources or identification guides, online or otherwise? Add your suggestions below in the comments.
Updated March 2017, March 2016, April 2015, March 2014.