Tag Archives: scouting

Preventing Yield Loss from Flea Beetles

Flea beetles are a common crop pest of crucifers in Ontario and overwinter as adults near the soil surface in debris and stubble from the previous crop. They typically become active with the first extended period of warm weather in the early spring as the leaf litter begins to thaw. The beetles feed on weeds throughout the field and have the ability to fly on calm days and will attack brassica seedlings as they emerge or transplants as they are planted.

Females will begin laying eggs in soil for about 30 days. Flea beetle larvae will hatch from eggs 12 days later and feed on the root hairs and taproots of seedlings. Left unchecked, adults will feed on leaves of transplants and the larvae will burrowing into the plant near the juncture of the root and stem. Continue reading Preventing Yield Loss from Flea Beetles

Pepper weevil in field peppers

Pepper weevil adult on pepper budPepper weevil is not usually given much thought in field peppers in Ontario, but from time to time it might be found in a localized area. It is a pest to be aware of, because there are very few external signs that indicate there is larvae present inside the pepper fruit.

Pepper weevil is unlikely to survive typical winter conditions in Ontario unless in a protected area, so risk factors for the pest include proximity to pepper greenhouses/packing sheds or culls/waste plant material from these operations or from areas with warm winters, like the southern US. If you are in a risk area, consider field scouting and pheromone traps. Continue reading Pepper weevil in field peppers

Which worms are which?

I’m just terrible at recognizing people that I don’t know very well — coming up with their name or even where I know them from (as I think many in the vegetable industry have noticed). So embarrassing — I’m definitely in the wrong line of work. And then I also have to try to be able to identify all kinds of crop pests, too, although that’s usually not as hard for me. But I do find it challenging to remember which worm is which sometimes, so here’s a cheat sheet I use. Maybe it will help you, too. They are listed in approximate order of appearance.

Black Cutworm
Figure 1: Black cutworm

Black cutworm (Agrotis ipsilon)

Distinguishing features:

  • Colour ranges from gray to almost black
  • Indistinct narrow stripe along the centre of the back
  • Granular skin texture (see closeup in Purdue Pest & Crop article)
  • Dark-coloured head
  • Four pairs of abdominal prolegs, plus one pair at back end

Time of the year:

  • early May – mid-June

Continue reading Which worms are which?

Get out and Scout for Asparagus Rust Symptoms

We have had reports of asparagus rust in new plantings. Now is the time to get out and scout; especially in the two-year old fields and any volunteer asparagus near the production fields.  These plants often act as source of inoculum for the commercial crop later in the season.

Severe rust infections cause the plants to die prematurely in the fall, impacting both the vigour of the crown and the following year’s harvest.

The early infections are slightly raised, light green lesions 10 to 20 mm in length.  As they mature, the lesions turn cream-to-light orange (figure 1, asparagus rust aeciospores). Initial infections generally appear at the base of the stalks. Look for these lesions early in the season on volunteer asparagus or two-year old fields. As harvest concludes, scout all fields regularly during the fern development stage. Continue reading Get out and Scout for Asparagus Rust Symptoms