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VEPART PEST AND SCOUTING REPORT

Scott Lewins in a field

 

Welcome to the Vermont Entomology and Participatory Action Research Team (VEPART) scouting report. Over the course of the growing season we will be reporting out on the major insect pests and diseases found at UVM’s Horticultural Research and Education Center and in collaboration with farm partners throughout the region. This year’s farm partners include: Last Resort Farm,  Intervale Community Farm, and Bone Mountain Farm. This scouting program is also a collaboration between UVM Extension, UVM Insititute for Agroecology, and the Vermont Vegetable and Berry Growers Association (VVBGA). Funding for the program is generously provided by VVBGA and UVM College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Reports can be found below.

For detailed management information about these pests, as well as a comprehensive guide to current production and pest management techniques for commercial vegetable crops, check out the new and improved New England Vegetable Management Guide. And, as always feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions. (vizzo@uvm.edu & slewins@uvm.edu)

VVBGA Scouting Report 7/1/24

Hi all,

After visiting a bunch of farms the last week or so, it seems that the season has been very productive and seemingly going well for growing lots of different crops. That said, there are quite a few pests that have arrived earlier than expected and some populations are starting their second generations in the region.

One of the more discussed pests this year has been leek moth, and for good reason, as we have seen very high pressure early in the seasons in allium crops (e.g. garlic, scallions, etc.). For those paying attention, we are currently at “peak” flight in the region with very high counts in most traps.  Eggs are currently being laid on onions and other alliums, and we expect them to hatch within the next week, leading to larval feeding. Look for signs of leek moth caterpillar feeding, often recognized by “window-paning” in onion crops. For effective chemical controls, it’s best to apply treatments about 7 days after the peak, which should align near the end of this week for growers in the Champlain Valley.

In cucurbits, we are beginning to catch squash viner borers in our traps and seeing them out in the field landing on leaves.  Reports from neighboring states indicate high trap counts, so it’s crucial to watch for larval entry holes at the base of squash plants. Individual plants can recover if larvae are removed from the vine and the wound is buried with soil. Additionally, cucumber beetles have caused some plant losses, primarily due to bacterial wilt, a disease spread by the beetles. If you notice sudden squash plant death, inspect them to determine if it’s due to squash vine borers or bacterial wilt.

Mexican bean beetle adults are being found in all of the bean crops that we are monitoring, and we have reports from other growers that they are seeing eggs and adults as well.  Be sure to scout your crops over the next week, especially if you are already seeing eggs being laid on the underside of leaves. Once bean beetle larvae begin to pop out of their eggs, damage can build very quickly.  Luckily, for those growers interested in using biological control tactics, there is a rather effective option. The parasitoid wasp species, Pediobius foveolatus is commercially available within the region. The wasp is currently reared and sold by the New Jersey Dept of Agriculture and can be purchased from other biocontrol suppliers. For more information on the wasp and ordering directly from suppliers, you can check out the informative UMass website dedicated to the wasp.

Finally, for berry growers, we still are yet to catch any spotted wing drosophila (SWD) in any of our traps this season. We’ve switched to the Scentry brand traps this season as opposed to the homemade grape juice “dunking” liquid traps. We have been pleasantly surprised with the efficiency and ease of using the Scentry SWD traps. They seem to be highly selective for fruit flies. If SWD are present, we anticipate they will be captured by these traps. Additionally, we’ve received reports of a positive trapping of blueberry maggot in the Champlain Valley, marking the earliest detection that we can remember. We’ll continue to monitor this situation and provide updates as it develops.

Some notes from outside Vermont:

  • Spring emergence of swede midge continues in Northern New York. Damage symptoms now visible (blind plants, twisted leaves, etc)
  • The first western bean cutworm and corn earworms found in southern NH.
  • Downy mildew in cucurbits detected in NJ

As always, our website for the scouting reports can be found here. In addition to the pests reported here, our website also has a more comprehensive list of pests. The list also documents the progression of many common pests as they emerge throughout the season. 

 

For detailed management information about these pests, as well as a comprehensive guide to current  production and pest management techniques for commercial vegetable crops, check out the  New England Vegetable Management Guide. And, as always feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions. 

Cheers, 

Vic, Julian, Maya, Zack, and the rest of the VEPART team 

 

Pest  Crop  Observations 
Colorado Potato Beetle  Potatoes, Solanums  Finding mostly eggs and larvae of all stages, mostly 2nd and 3rd instars (medium sized). Larvae will begin pupating in the soil soon.
Squash Bug  Cucurbits  Eggs masses are numerous, and a few nymphs are emerging.  
Striped Cucumber Beetle  Squash, Cucumbers  Quite variable from plant to plant and farm to farm, but where there are outbreaks they seem to be rather concerning. Seeing the first incidence of bacterial wilt in the region.
Flea Beetle  Kale, Collards, Cabbage  Not much of a problem at this stage.  
Cabbage worms  Kale   We are seeing some diamondback moth outbreaks on some farms and surprised with how many we are seeing. Other cabbage moth caterpillars are present but not yet cause much damage.
Potato Leafhoppers  Potatoes, Beans  High pressure of adult leafhoppers in potato fields. Leaf burn is really picking up.
Tarnished plant bug  Strawberries, potatoes  Tarnished plant bugs are being found in relatively high numbers in strawberries and potatoes 
Three-lined potato bug.  Tomatillos  Pressure is waning a bit.
Leek Moth  Onions/Garlic  The second flight is peaking and eggs are being laid. We saw our first small caterpillar this week
Squash vine borer  Winter and Summer Squash  Trap numbers are increasing and high in some regions
Mexican Bean Beetle Beans Seeing a relatively high number of adults
Onion Thrips Onions Pressure is building as we are spotting most stages of the insect. Damage is also beginning to crop up in many onion plantings.

 

VVBGA Scouting Report 6/24/24

Hi all, 

First off, I want to extend my gratitude to all the growers who have been reaching directly out to our team via email. Your input is invaluable for compiling this weekly report and gaining a statewide perspective on current pest issues. Please continue to send in photos of any pests you’re unsure about or need to identify. 

With the recent precipitation, we anticipate a notable increase in disease incidence over the next few weeks. To prepare for this impending surge, it’s important to keep an eye out for any sick plants or signs of fungal diseases (e.g. mildews, etc.). 

This past week, we’ve received numerous reports from growers regarding high leek moth pressure in garlic, particularly noticeable in scapes. Many growers who are encountering leek moth for the first time on their farms are particularly concerned. Fortunately, while foliar damage typically does not lead to significant yield losses, the larvae can pose a threat when they are incidently brought into curing or storage areas. As previously mentioned, topping onions and garlic is an effective strategy to mitigate bulb damage. For those considering chemical applications, the optimal timing is usually about a week after the peak flight of adult moths. Currently, we’re observing an increase in adult moths in our traps across the region, though we are not yet at peak levels. We anticipate that the Champlain Valley will likely approach peak levels in about a week. 

Additionally, we’re noticing an increase in diamondback moth adults and pupae in brassica plantings on our monitored farms. These moths have likely arrived early this season due to some early spring weather systems. While they typically cause minimal damage at low population levels, occasional spikes can result in significant marketable damage, especially in leafy brassicas like kale and cabbage. Look out for their distinctive net-like cocoons on the undersides of leaves. 

 

Several growers have also shared some unusually early Japanese beetle outbreaks on some vegetable and berry farms. Although these beetles are primarily known as pests of ornamental plants and turf grass, they can severely impact important vegetable and fruit crops such as blueberries, basil, corn (silks), grapes, and asparagus. Some early pressure has even been noted on solanums this year. Organic growers may consider options like neem and pyrethrin products. Additionally, we’ve received images of other scarab beetle adults (e.g., Asiatic beetle) emerging on farms, which require similar control strategies. 

 

Lastly, there have been reports of squash vine borer in the southeastern part of the state, although we haven’t detected any in our traps in Chittenden and Addison County yet. Given the early emergence of other pests this year, we anticipate locating squash vine borers in our traps soon. 

As always, our website for the scouting reports can be found here. In addition to the pests reported here, our website also has a more comprehensive list of pests. The list also documents the progression of many common pests as they emerge throughout the season. 

 

For detailed management information about these pests, as well as a comprehensive guide to current  production and pest management techniques for commercial vegetable crops, check out the  New England Vegetable Management Guide. And, as always feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions. 

Cheers, 

Vic, Julian, Maya, Zack, and the rest of the VEPART team 

 

Pest  Crop  Observations 
Colorado Potato Beetle  Potatoes, Solanums  Still seeing mostly adults and eggs, but on some farms there are some smaller larvae. 
Squash Bug  Cucurbits  Definitely growing in numbers. Eggs masses are numerous, and a few nymphs are emerging.  
Striped Cucumber Beetle  Squash, Cucumbers  Though we have seen some outbreaks on farms, the populations are pretty consistent and in some fields stabilized and declining.  
Flea Beetle  Kale, Collards, Cabbage  Finding quite a few flea beetles, though most plants are tolerating the pressure and the high temps could push this first flight out.  
Cabbage worms  Kale   We are seeing some diamondback moth outbreaks on some farms. Cabbage white larvae are also increasing.  
Potato Leafhoppers  Potatoes, Beans  High pressure of adult leafhoppers in potato fields. Leaf burn has begun in some plots and nymphs are beginning to be seen. It seems like a particularly bad year.  
Tarnished plant bug  Strawberries, potatoes  Tarnished plant bugs are being found in relatively high numbers in strawberries and potatoes 
Three-lined potato bug.  Tomatillos  We are seeing some large outbreaks in tomatillos and ground cherries. 
Leek Moth  Onions/Garlic  The second flight is beging and adults are flying but the trap numbers have been relatively low. Lots of larval damage in garlic scapes 
Squash vine borer  Winter and Summer Squash  Trap numbers are increasing. Monitoring your squashes is advisable. 

 

 

VVBGA Scouting and Monitoring Report 6/18/24

Hi all,

With the solstice right around the corner, all of the resident pests that are able to overwinter here in Vermont are mostly all being seen. In addition, several pests that we often see later in the season have been found in fields and traps quite a bit earlier than in years past.

 

As mentioned last week, potato leafhoppers (PLH) are already around, and in some crops/fields, they seem to be quite abundant. We haven’t seen spotted wing drosophila (SWD) adults in our traps yet, but with reports from NY indicating some positive catches, it is only a matter of time till we see them in our traps. We will keep you posted.

 

Leek moth adults are just now beginning to emerge from allium crops, as we have caught a hand full of adults this past week across several farms. This second “flight” of moths is particularly concerning for onion growers, and with rising temperatures, we anticipate the peak flight arriving sooner rather than later. Next week’s trap counts will provide a clearer picture of what to expect.

 

Onion thrips are being reported throughout the region. We are yet to see  significant pressure on the farms that we’ve been monitoring but thrips populations typically thrive in hot and dry conditions. So, be on the lookout for thrips in your onions. They are quite small, but they can be easily identified with a hand lens or even the naked eye. Early infestations can be monitored by looking between the leaves near the base of the plant.

 

Finally, there have been reports of high incidence of cabbage root maggot outbreaks in brassicas this season. Generally, cabbage root maggots will feed on the roots of a wide range of brassica plants. Reports of outbreaks have been common in broccoli and kale this year. That said, field research has shown that CRM does prefer turnip-like brassicas (B. rapa) and Chinese cabbage (B. rapa chinensis and B. rapa pekinensis) to most other brassicas. It is also notable that tuberous brassicas (e.g. radishes, turnips, etc.) better support maggot development and survival.

A few of the most important developments from other areas:

  • First squash vine borer caught in traps in southern NH. We haven’t seen any in our traps in VT yet.
  • One fall armyworm moth has been caught in southern NH.
  • Spring swede midge emergence ongoing in the region. There is yet to be any positive crop damage reported.

As always, our website for the scouting reports can be found here. In addition to the pests reported here, our website also has a more comprehensive list of pests. The list also documents the progression of many common pests as they emerge throughout the season.

 

For detailed management information about these pests, as well as a comprehensive guide to current  production and pest management techniques for commercial vegetable crops, check out the  New England Vegetable Management Guide. And, as always feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions.

Cheers,

Vic, Julian, Maya, Zack, and the rest of the VEPART team

 

Pest Crop Observations
Colorado Potato Beetle Potatoes, Solanums Seeing mostly adults and young (1st and 2nd instars) larvae. Though pressure is bulidng
Squash Bug Cucurbits Low pressure in most of the plantings that we have been monitoring.
Striped Cucumber Beetle Squash, Cucumbers Very high pressure and outbreaks on many farms.
Flea Beetle Kale, Collards, Cabbage Finding quite a few flea beetles, though most plants are tolerating the pressure and the high temps could push this first flight out.
Cabbage worms Kale Low pressure cabbage worm on dino kale only. A few cocoons found.
Potato Leafhoppers Potatoes High pressure of adult leafhoppers in potato fields. We are yet to see any leaf burn or significant nymph populations

 

VVBGA Pest Scouting and Monitoring Report (6/9/24)

Hi all,

After the warm temperatures and dry conditions that have typified the last couple of weeks, we are finally receiving some cooler and wetter conditions. Though the rains have provided us with much needed moisture, it comes with its own set of challenges, particularly related to pests and diseases.

One of the more important scouting notes this week is the arrival of potato leafhoppers (PLH) in the region. We’ve seen adult PLH on all of the farms that we’ve been currently monitoring in both Chittenden and Addison counties. This is the earliest that our team has identified PLH in Vermont (roughly 4 years). We are yet to see any nymphs, but some of the populations in potato have been pretty large, so we assume that they’ve been here for at least a week or more. We are also finding PLH adults in bean crops. So, it is a good time to start scouting for the adults and small green nymphs. Tapping or brushing plants is one way to check crops for adults (they’ll jump/fly when disturbed), but you’ll need to look on the underside of leaves to find the wingless nymphs, which tend to be the most damaging life stage. The sooner you can identify them, the better. Once you get “burned,” the damage is not reversible.

PLH can be a serious pest in a variety of crops including potato, beans, eggplant, alfalfa, strawberries, among many others. You will often see a spike in populations following hay-cuttings. Luckily, PLHs are not able to overwinter this far north. However, once they are found in the region, they are here to stay for the season. PLH populations will rapidly grow soon after colonizing a crop, so be on the lookout.

A few of the most important new developments:

Unfortunately, Spotted wing drosophila adults have been identified in traps in Eastern New York and Western Massachusetts. We are yet to find any in our traps, but it seems imminent given the proximity of those areas to our trapping sites. This would also be the earliest that we’ve seen SWD in our traps since we’ve begun our scouting and monitoring program. We’ll let you know as soon as we see SWD in our traps. If you are looking to set up SWD monitoring traps on your farm, there are two styles: baited sticky card traps and “drowning” traps. If you choose to use sticky card traps with lures, be sure to use red sticky cards, as they have been shown to be the most attractive. As far as drowning traps Scentry produces a commercial drowning trap or you can simply use diluted grape juice. Research out of UMass Extension has determined that a mixture of diluted grape juice (3 parts water: 1 part grape juice) with 2% (by weight) table salt, fermented for one week, is a cheap and effective bait mixture. You can hang a plastic container (4mm holes near the top) with some of the above concoction in your berry crop and check them weekly for easy monitoring.

Leek Moth traps are still clean of adult moths, so we are still between flights in the region. Larval damage is really picking up in garlic, as we’ve seen substantial damage in on garlic scapes. We have also spotted some leek moth cocoons at the tops of garlic leaves. The second flight is likely to begin in the next week or so. As it gets closer to harvest time for some alliums (e.g garlic), it is important to scout and see what stage (i.e. larvae, pupae, etc.) of moths you have in your crop. Unsuspectingly bringing eggs and/or larvae into curing and/or storage areas can be an issue. Our research has shown that topping alliums prior to curing can reduce the risk of damage from leek moth larvae occurring during storage and does not affect the long term quality of the crop.

Striped cucumber beetles are in full force in most squash and cucumber plantings. Thanks to all of the farmers that reached out to us last week indicating that SCB has been active for a couple of weeks. We are seeing lots of mating pairs and feeding damage, especially in winter squash of the maxima species (e.g. Blue Hubbard).  Though feeding damage can be worrisome for smaller plants and seedlings, SCB are also a vector of bacterial wilt which can be quite a challenge. Cucurbita maxima is known to be the preferred species of winter squash for cucumber beetles (and squash bugs) and is often utilized as a trap crop for other less preferred species (C. pepo and C. moschata). C. maxima has been well researched as a potential trap crop. Kaolin clay applications (e.g. flat dunks) are a popular and effective organic method for reducing pressure on smaller seedlings.

Finally, I want to acknowledge and extend gratitude to our newest summer research scouts, Julian Wise, Maya Lis and Zack Watson-Stevens. These burgeoning entomologists will be doing the bulk of the scouting work for the rest of the season. You may see them on a farm or at a farmer’s market, in which case give them a high five! These scouting reports wouldn’t be possible without their tireless effort.

As always, our website for the scouting reports can be found here. In addition to the pests reported here, our website also has a more comprehensive list of pests. The list also documents the progression of many common pests as they emerge throughout the season.

For detailed management information about these pests, as well as a comprehensive guide to current  production and pest management techniques for commercial vegetable crops, check out the  New England Vegetable Management Guide. And, as always feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions.

Cheers,

Vic, Julian, Maya, Zack, and the rest of the VEPART team

 

Pest Crop Observations
Colorado Potato Beetle Potatoes We are seeing CPB adults and eggs in eggplant and potato. Populations are predominantly adults and eggs
Spinach/Beet leaf miner Spinach, Swiss Chard, Beets Adult flies are flying and laying eggs. Larvae are making significant damage with their mining. It seems like a very bad season.
Striped Cucumber Beetle Squash/Cucumber Beetles are being seen and they are in high numbers
Flea Beetle Broccoli/ Kale Pressure seems relatively modest in most areas
Imported cabbage worms Brassica crops (Kale, Broccoli, Cabbage, etc.) Cabbage whites are flying and laying eggs. We have not seen larvae yet, but that should only be a matter of time.
Tarnished plant bug Strawberries Tarnished plant bugs are being found in strawberries in the region. Cat-facing and other types of strawberry deformation from the “sting” of the bug has been seen.
Potato Leafhoppers Potato and Beans We are seeing PLH adults in both potato and beans. We haven’t seen any nymphs yet, but adult numbers have been high in some areas.
Three-lined potato bug. Tomatillos We are seeing some large outbreaks in tomatillos
Leek Moth Onions/Garlic We are primarily seeing pupae and late instar larvae. Though our traps are still clear, so the second flight is still yet to begin

 

VVBGA Pest and Scouting Report (6/1/24)

Hi all,

With the dry conditions persisting and new plantings sprouting across the region, we’re seeing a surge in pest activity on most farms. This is the time of year when vigilance in scouting is key to reducing pest pressure. We’ll keep you informed about the latest developments!

Some highlights from the past week at our locations are:

Several growers in Chittenden County, including here in Burlington, have reported Spinach leaf miner  eggs and larval damage. Their small, bright white eggs are easily spotted on the underside of leaves. Spinach leaf miner infestations can worsen with the presence of lamb’s quarters and wild amaranth, which serve as alternative host plants. Effective weed management can significantly reduce their impact. For organic growers, it is recommended to use spinosad based products (i.e. Entrust) with an added spreader-sticker to increase the potential of contact or feeding from larvae after hatching. Of course, insect exclusion netting can also help if applied prior to their arrival. If you are not seeing eggs yet, it might be a good time to cover your chard and spinach!

Instances of three-lined potato beetles are increasing in many fields, particularly in Chittenden County. Despite their name, these pests seldom feed on potatoes, preferring tomatillos and ground cherries instead. They are often mistaken for striped cucumber beetles due to their similar striped pattern, but can be distinguished by their orange/red head and legs. Also, the yellow larvae of the three-line potato beetle feed upon the leaves of their host plant (and cover themselves in their own feces as a predator repellent!), in contrast to cucumber beetle whose larvae feed on plant roots. Exclusion netting or row cover can effectively protect susceptible crops from these beetles. Once an outbreak occurs, recovery without chemical controls becomes challenging.

As mentioned last week, Colorado potato beetle adults are actively mating and laying eggs on eggplants and early-season potatoes. Eggplants are particularly vulnerable during this period when potatoes are less prevalent. Keep an eye out for the characteristic orange egg masses under leaves, as larvae will soon emerge. Larvae are the most damaging stage of the beetle, but are also most susceptible to chemical treatments. Furthermore, research has shown that, for potatoes, the most important plant life stage for controlling CPB is during the flowering stage when tubers are beginning to form.  Potato plants can tolerate quite a bit of foliar damage in the early and late stages of vegetative growth and still maintain yields.

Many of the root maggot pests, (e.g. seedcorn, cabbage, etc.), are actively feeding on plant roots in the soil.  Growers in the lower Champlain Valley and warmer regions of the state are likely to see reduced pressure from many of these maggots as temperatures increase in those regions.

Be on the lookout of the following pests:

Some pests that are being reported in more southernly and warmer regions are:

  • First swede midge trap catch of the season in Essex Co, NY last week.
  • First cucumber beetles have been found in Northern New York. We are yet to find them in Burlington, but we’ll likely find them very soon.
  • European Corn Borer has been found in traps in the Hudson Valley.

 

As always you can find our weekly reports at go.uvm.edu/pests

Feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions.

vizzo@uvm.edu & slewins@uvm.edu

Pest Crop Observations
Colorado Potato Beetle Potatoes High numbers of CPB in eggplant and potato. Adults are mating and laying eggs at a precipitous rate.
Spinach leaf miner Spinach, Swiss Chard, Beets Adult flies are flying and laying eggs. Some larval tunneling is being reported in NY and a few growers in Vermont.
Striped Cucumber Beetle Squash/Cucumber We have yet to find adults yet, but as cucurbits begin to be planted in the region, we imagine this will change soon.
Flea Beetle Broccoli/ Kale We are in peak flea beetle season. Large populations are being reported throughout the state.
Three-lined cucumber beetle Tomatillos, ground cherries We are seeing large outbreaks right now in the region
Cutworms Various crops Cutworms are causing a lot of trouble in high tunnels and in the field. We’ve seen several large outbreaks in gardens around Burlington s

 

VVBGA Scouting and Monitoring Report (5/24/24)

Hi all,

With the unseasonably warm temperatures here in Vermont and limited rain over the last week, we are seeing some pests earlier this season than in years past. Once they emerge, the pest pressure tends to really pick up irrespective of weather.

Pest Week in review

Colorado potato beetle (CPB) adults are already being found in fields and gardens in Burlington. Seeing CPB searching for viable host plants at this point of the season highlights the potential of delayed potato planting as a strategy for reducing CPB damage. As mentioned last year, our research team is exploring the delayed planting strategy this upcoming season and are always looking for growers interested in participating in both the on-farm trials and the educational program. If you are interested in either, please reach out. At the very least, we can provide you with some resources and invite you to any workshops or field days relevant to the program. Similarly, some growers are using some interesting early season trap and burn strategies that are reportedly showing some success. If you would like more information on this technique you can check out Seth Bent’s short presentation from the 2023 winter VVBGA webinar series here. (25:30 minute mark)

A few other highlights from the past week:

Leek moth:  The first flight of leek moth is over and we are beginning to see limited leek moth caterpillar feeding damage in garlic. Window paning damage are the primary symptoms that are most recognizable. Generally, economic damage in garlic tends to be limited to scapes, as the larvae tend to feed on the tops of plants. So, if garlic scapes are important for your farm, I would monitor any garlic plantings for leek moth damage to gauge their potential future impact on those scapes.  We expect the next adult flight to begin sometime in mid/late June.

Cabbage root maggot: Cabbage root maggots are beginning to feed in various brassicas, including radishes. The overwintering generation have been laying eggs over the past couple of weeks and according to the NEWA pest models, the first generation of new adults are flying around in Burlington. Maggot pests (e.g. cabbage maggot, seed corn maggot, etc.) seem to be especially thriving this spring. The early season warmth can lead to early emergence, while the subsequent cooler temps can extend egg-laying and egg survival within the cooler soil profile. Eggs do not do well when laid on warm soil.

Flea Beetle: Flea beetles are thriving here in Burlington and the southern part of the state and it sounds like they are some large outbreaks in brassica plantings throughout the northeast. Row covers for small seedlings can be an effective strategy for dampening their impact on the sensitive plants.

Cutworms: Cutworms are being seen at our monitoring sites and being reported by various growers. Some growers are seeing them in tunnels and are experiencing significant pressure. Remember that the first generation of cutworm may initially begin to feed on available weeds, so keeping weeds at bay especially around tunnels can help to reduce their impact.

Be on the lookout of the following pests:

Some pests that are being reported in more southernly and warmer regions are:

  • First striped cucumber beetles in PA, Western NY, and mid-coast ME
  • Imported Cabbage Worms (aka cabbage whites) are being reported in MA.

As always, our website for the scouting reports can be found here. In addition to the pests reported here, our website also has a more comprehensive list of pests. The list also documents the progression of many common pests as they emerge throughout the season.

For detailed management information about these pests, as well as a comprehensive guide to current  production and pest management techniques for commercial vegetable crops, check out the  New England Vegetable Management Guide. And, as always feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions.

vizzo@uvm.edu

Pest Crop Observations
Cabbage root maggot: Brassicas We are seeing damage in various early season brassicas including radishes. We are fully in the first generation of cabbage maggot.
Leek Moth Onions/Garlic Larval damage is beginning to be seen in garlic. Typical window-paning and some frass is being documented
Flea Beetle Arugula, kale, broccoli Beetles are being found in high numbers in many brassica crops. Row covers can be an effective strategy for protecting vulnerable brassica seedlings.
Cutworms: Various crops Cutworms are causing a lot of trouble in high tunnels and in the field. We’ve seen several large outbreaks in gardens around Burlington s

 

 

VVBGA Scouting Report (8/12/23)

Hi all,

Over the past two weeks with continued onslaught of rain and stormy conditions, it seems that disease and insect pressure is peaking in many crops. We are especially seeing a lot of disease in field solanums (e.g. potatoes, tomatoes, etc.) and cucurbits. This is no surprise with the high humidity and consistent leaf wetness.

In addition to disease buildup in potatoes, we are also seeing a significant rise in potato leafhopper (PLH) populations on our monitoring farms. Hopper burn combined with CPB feeding damage can significantly stress plants leading to potential outbreaks of leaf-spot diseases, blights, and other fungal pathogens.  The fields that we are monitoring are exhibiting severe impacts from the insect and disease cocktail.

It has been a strange year for leek moth populations, as the second flight of leek moth adults extended through the entire month of July at low levels.  This extended flight has led to a surprisingly large third flight, arriving right on the heels of the second flight. At the moment, our monitoring trap numbers are very high. We presume that adults are actively laying eggs on available allium foliage. The (poor) timing of the third flight may increase the risk of feeding damage occurring in onions currently being harvested and moved into curing/storage areas. As leaf tubes begin to dry down, newly hatched larvae tend to move closer to (or into) the bulb.

Topping onions prior to curing or storage can be an effective strategy for avoiding leek moth damage during curing/storage. The topic of onion topping has recently been explored on the VVBGA listserve. We would like to thank Stephen Chamberlain of Dutchess Farm for compiling feedback about the different approaches and outcomes from onion topping. It seems that the experience of most respondents supports our own research on the utility of onion topping as a leek moth avoidance strategy.

To reiterate for those who did not see some of the responses, here are a few select responses:

“We usually cut our onions at about the spot of the natural bend in the stem (2-3″ above the top of the onion) and also trim the roots.  Then we just dry them in the barn in crates or boxes.  They seem to last well into spring depending on the variety.”

“We fully clip all our onions leaving about a 2″ neck, in the field so we don’t spread leek moth from our off-site field to the home farm…They dry just fine for long-term storage, (until spring) so I imagine that short term storage would be fine.”

“I had good luck drying “Bridger” onions clipped.   These were overwintered hoop house onions.   The tops had fallen over and not yet dried.  They  stored excellently.”

Finally, we have begun to see high levels of spotted wing drosophila larvae in blueberries and raspberries.  Recent berry sampling (i.e. salt floats) from farms in northwestern Vermont are exhibiting extensive outbreaks.  Even berries that look healthy and taste great, are showing high levels of infestation.

As always, our website for the scouting reports can be found here. In addition to the pests reported here, our website also has a more comprehensive list of pests. The list also documents the progression of many common pests as they emerge throughout the season.

 

For detailed management information about these pests, as well as a comprehensive guide to current  production and pest management techniques for commercial vegetable crops, check out the  New England Vegetable Management Guide. And, as always feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions.

 

Cheers,

 

Vic, Scott, Ava, Katie, and the rest of the VEPART Team and Collaborators

 

Pest Crop Observations
Swede midge Brassicas Really beginning to pick up, especially in collards, broccoli, and red russian kale
Spotted Wing Drosophila Blueberries and Raspberries SWD is being seen at its highest levels in several years in Vermont.
Colorado Potato Beetle Potatoes CPB populations are very spotty this year. On some farms we are seeing high pressure, while others seemed be relatively untouched.
Spinach/Beet leaf miner Spinach, Swiss Chard, Beets We are seeing some leaf damage in beets
Imported cabbage worms Brassica crops ICW damage is extensive in almost all brassicas.
Potato Leafhoppers potato and beans We are seeing major outbreaks in potatoes this past week.
Leek Moth Onions/Garlic LM adults are being seen in very high numbers in our traps. The third flight is looking like it will be a formidable population.
Squash vine borer Winter and Summer Squash We are seeing significantly fewer numbers of SVB
Squash Bug Winter and Summer Squash Squash bugs are high in most areas and continue to be an issue in susceptible crops.

 

VVBGA Scouting Report 7/27/23

Hi all,

We are in the thick of the growing season, and so many plants have gotten to the point where they can tolerate quite a bit of insect pest pressure. Though, with the consistent precipitation, we are seeing a lot of leaf diseases. We also are expecting a change in weather with some cooler temps on the horizon. This may shift the distribution and types of pests/disease over the next week.

Leaf spot diseases are particularly prevalent right now in various crops. Alternaria is being seen quite extensively in melons and some other cucurbits in the region. A diagnostic characteristic of alternaria is brown lesions on the leaves that exhibit a “target-like” ring and a surrounding lighter halo.  Alternaria inoculum primarily comes from infected plant material and can be viable for a couple of years in soil-bound debris. So, it is important to destroy or deep-plow any infested plant material and do your best to rotate out of cucurbits in previously infected fields for at least two year for large outbreaks. To reduce leaf wetness, it is also advisable to avoid overhead watering if possible. Obviously, with these rains, leaf wetness is a unavoidable condition.

Some other important updates are:

It is shaping up to be a bad year for  spotted wing drosophila , especially in comparison to last year. The higher humidity and precipitation is providing ideal conditions for large outbreaks. As mentioned last week, we are trapping SWD on all of the farms that we are managing and we are seeing some berries with SWD damage.  Over the next couple of weeks we will be actively evaluating collected berries to determine actual pressure from larvae within berries. We’ll keep you posted on those data.

We are also receiving a lot of emails from growers with reports of high numbers of Oriental, Japanese, and Asiatic beetles. It seems to be a higher volume of emails than in previous years. Typically, scarab beetles are more of an issue in turfgrass and ornamentals, but sometimes can be an issue in herbs or waxy-leaf plants. Japanese beetles can be a bit of a pain in edamame too! Most issues from grubs of scarabs occur outside of veggie fields or fields that have recently been under grass cover crops or sod. There is limited evidence that entomopathogenic nematodes and/or fungi can be an effective control. We are currently testing a couple of entomopathogenic fungi in potato fields with scarab beetle pressure. We’ll keep you posted.

As always, our website for the scouting reports can be found here. In addition to the pests reported here, our website also has a more comprehensive list of pests. The list also documents the progression of many common pests as they emerge throughout the season.

For detailed management information about these pests, as well as a comprehensive guide to current  production and pest management techniques for commercial vegetable crops, check out the  New England Vegetable Management Guide. And, as always feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions.

Cheers,

Vic, Scott, Ava, Katie, and the rest of the VEPART Team and Collaborators

 

Pest Crop Observations
Swede midge Brassicas At our monitoring farm we are not seeing high levels of swede midge damage, but some recent farm visits have shown significant impacts.
Spotted Wing Drosophila Blueberries SWD is looking to be a significant
Colorado Potato Beetle Potatoes CPB populations are relatively manageable on the farms that we are monitoring. Most populations have adults emerging from pupation, and pressure is likely to build.
Spinach/Beet leaf miner Spinach, Swiss Chard, Beets The second generation of leaf miner is still increasing and we are seeing   eggs in  Vermont and other regions. Some leaf mines are being seen too.
Mexican Bean Beetle Beans MBB is continues to be relatively rare in the crops that we are monitoring!
Striped Cucumber Beetle Squash/Cucumber SCB populations have leveled out and pressure is less pronounced this last week.
Flea Beetle Brassicas Flea beetle pressure is returning, especially in recently planted brassicas. As the next week begins to cool a bit, we suspect that pressure from flea beetles will increase.
Imported cabbage worms Brassica crops ICW damage is extensive in almost all brassicas.
Tarnished plant bug Potatoes and various other crops Tarnished plant bug numbers were down this week
Potato Leafhoppers potato and beans Still no reports of PLH infestations
Leek Moth Onions/Garlic The second flight is over and larval damage can be quite extensive in some onion plantings.
Squash vine borer Winter and Summer Squash We are still seeing plants wilting from SVB in relatively high numbers
Squash Bug Winter and Summer Squash Squash bugs are high in most areas and continue to be an issue in susceptible crops.

 

 

 

VVBGA Scouting Report 7/20/23

Hi all,

With the consistent high humidity and continuous rains, we are seeing a lot of white mold and other diseases popping up in the region (e.g. cucurbit downy mildew, angular leaf spot, etc). This week we’ve received reports of basil downy mildew (BDM) showing up on a couple of farms in Vermont. BDM can severely affect basil plantings, and if left untended can lead to complete crop loss. The tell-tale sign of BDM is a gray coloring (from the developing spores) on the underside of basil leaves. It can sometimes look like soil has kicked up onto the bottom of the leaf.

A great resource for identifying, reporting, and managing BDM is the Ag Pest Monitoring Site for basil. In recent years, some resistant cultivars have been developed. These cultivars and information on them may be found on the monitoring site too.  For those dealing with a current outbreak, prompt removal of affected plants will help to reduce the inoculum from infecting other plants.

Some other important updates are:

We have recently caught our first spotted wing drosophila adults in our monitoring traps. Once adults are being found in traps that is typically an indicator that larvae are feeding in berries too. The arrival of SWD in traps in mid-July is on target with previous yeas (excluding last year’s low pressure).  For growers looking for a low-cost monitoring protocol, Jaime Piñero and his research team at UMass has shown that a simple diluted concord grape juice + salt mixture works better than most commercial traps.  The basic bait cocktail is: 1 part concord grape juice + 3 parts water + 2% salt by weight. We hang two traps per field (one on either side of a bed) to monitor SWD on our partner farms. Also, we are currently in our second year trialing the commercially available.

To our surprise we are still seeing Leek moth adults showing up in our traps, though the trap numbers are low when compared to previous years. That said, the second flight has been very long this season. With the unique climatic conditions and consistent low numbers of adult moths found in our traps, we are hypothesizing that we may be seeing some overlap of generations.

Swede midge damage continues to show up in some pockets within the region, but the outbreaks have been limited to certain beds and areas on farms. Reports out of New York have indicated that organic farms have been more susceptible to recent outbreaks.

As always, our website for the scouting reports can be found here. In addition to the pests reported here, our website also has a more comprehensive list of pests. The list also documents the progression of many common pests as they emerge throughout the season.

For detailed management information about these pests, as well as a comprehensive guide to current  production and pest management techniques for commercial vegetable crops, check out the  New England Vegetable Management Guide. And, as always feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions.

Cheers,

Vic, Scott, Ava, Katie, and the rest of the VEPART Team and Collaborators

 

Pest Crop Observations
Swede midge Brassicas In general swede midge pressure has been low, but we are seeing some increased damage in recent weeks in the region.
Spotted Wing Drosophila Blueberries We are beginning to see flies in our traps rather consistently. The trap counts are relatively low, but they are building
Colorado Potato Beetle Potatoes CPB populations are multigenerational at this point, but we are seeing a substantial number of late instars and we presume many individuals are currently pupating in the soil.
Spinach/Beet leaf miner Spinach, Swiss Chard, Beets The second generation of leaf miner is fully underway as eggs are being found consistently Vermont and other regions.
Mexican Bean Beetle Beans MBB is still relatively rare in the crops that we are monitoring! We are seeing essentially no pressure on the farms we are monitoring.
Striped Cucumber Beetle Squash/Cucumber SCB is spiking in pockets. There are reports out of MA that SCB is really taking hold. We have seen some outbreaks in maxima varieties, but the pressure seems less than previous years.
Flea Beetle solanums Flea beetle pressure in solanums are being seen but it has really slowed down
Imported cabbage worms Brassica crops ICW damage is beginning to really pick up. We are seeing many furry green larvae and feeding damage in most brassicas.
Tarnished plant bug Strawberries Tarnished plant bugs are being found in relatively high numbers potato and chard.
Potato Leafhoppers Alfalfa We are still keepin our fingers-crossed as no leafhopper outbreaks have been reported thus far. We’ll keep reporting.
Leek Moth Onions/Garlic The second flight is very persistent this year, and we may potentially have some overlapping generations with the strange weather this year.
Squash vine borer Winter and Summer Squash We are beginning to see some major dieback from vine borers in squash. Telltale signs are wilted plants with deep gouges and holes in stems
Squash Bug Winter and Summer Squash Squash bugs are high in most areas

 

 

 

VVBGA Scouting Report (7/13/23)

Hi all,

First off, our entire team is sending out lots of love and care to the farming community during this time. If there is any way that we can support your recovery efforts, please reach out. We have an energetic supply of people power that we can mobilize relatively quickly.

This week’s scouting report is an evolving situation, as the high humidity and stormy conditions are leading to a rather dynamic distribution of pests and disease.  One of the more concerning outbreaks in the last week are reports of  cucurbit downy mildew (CDM). There are confirmed reports throughout the state and region, primarily in cucumbers. CDM only affects plants from the cucurbit family. Typically, symptoms of CDM begin on older leaves and expands to younger leaves as the infection grows.  Lesions vary in their coloration but generally look like gray or purple spots on the upper sides of leaves and a “downy” appearance on the undersides of leaves.  We presume that the distribution of the disease is rather widespread at this point, given the weather conditions, but confirmed cases in Vermont have been found primarily in the northwest region of the state. You can check the current “confirmed” distribution here.

There are still no reports of basil downy mildew (BDM) thus far, but with CDM in the area and the onslaught of storms, we should all be on the lookout. If you see signs of BDM (e.g. gray/black spores on the underside of leaves, yellowing between veins on the upper-side of leaves, etc.) please contact the UVM Plant Diagnostic Clinic or email me directly.

Some other important updates are:

Leek moth adults are still flying, but the trap numbers have been consistently low throughout the season at all of our monitoring sites. Low pressure from the moth is also being reported out of eastern NY. It seems like we may be spared of any major LM outbreaks this season.  If you are beginning to see larval damage (i.e. window-paning on leaf tubes) in your onions, it is likely that the LM population has begun to transition out of the adult egg-laying phase. Window-paning from leek moth larvae generally does not affect yield very much, marketable damage tends to occur in storage as larvae move into bulbs.  We have found that topping onions in the event of a presumed outbreak can serve as an easy way keep larvae out of curing and storage areas.

Swede midge damage has picked up on many of the farms that we’ve been monitoring, especially in plants situated at the ends of beds. Red Russian kale and collards are consistently exhibiting the highest levels of swede midge damage. Our team is currently exploring host preference for swede midge among various brassica varieties and preliminary data seems to echo what we’ve heard from growers and have seen on commercial farms (i.e. collards and red Russian kale are preferred by swede midge!)

We are also seeing high pressure from Tarnished Plant Bug (TPB) in potatoes and chard. They can be a real pain in chard. The “stings” from feeding damage can cause discoloration on the white ribs of larger leaves.  We haven’t been scouting in ornamentals, but we presume that they are getting hit hard too. This year seems to be a relatively bad year for TPB in some pockets of Vermont.

As always, our website for the scouting reports can be found here. In addition to the pests reported here, our website also has a more comprehensive list of pests. The list also documents the progression of many common pests as they emerge throughout the season.

For detailed management information about these pests, as well as a comprehensive guide to current  production and pest management techniques for commercial vegetable crops, check out the  New England Vegetable Management Guide. And, as always feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions.

Cheers,

Vic, Scott, Ava, Katie, and the rest of the VEPART Team and Collaborators

 

Pest Crop Observations
Spotted Wing Drosophila Blueberries Our monitoring traps are currently clear.
Colorado Potato Beetle Potatoes CPB populations are in full swing. Most populations are in the larval stage and are getting ready to begin pupating.
Spinach/Beet leaf miner Spinach, Swiss Chard, Beets We are getting reports of a potential second generation of leaf miner occurring in Vermont and other regions.
Mexican Bean Beetle Beans MBB is still relatively rare in the crops that we are monitoring!
Striped Cucumber Beetle Squash/Cucumber SCB is spiking in pockets. There are reports out of MA that SCB is really taking hold. We have seen some outbreaks in maxima varieties, but the pressure seems less than previous years.
Flea Beetle solanums We have recently seen outbreaks of solanaceous flea beetles in potatoes, but most of the brassica flea beetles are minor in there pressure at this point in the season.
Imported cabbage worms Brassica crops ICW damage is beginning to really pick up. We are seeing many furry green larvae and feeding damage in most brassicas.
Tarnished plant bug Strawberries Tarnished plant bugs are being found in relatively high numbers potato and chard.
Potato Leafhoppers Alfalfa We are still keepin gour fingers-crossed as no leafhopper outbreaks have not been reported thus far. We’ll keep reporting.
Leek Moth Onions/Garlic The second flight is slowing down, but we are still trickling of adult moths intor traps.
Squash vine borer Winter and Summer Squash Trap numbers are increasing. Monitoring your squashes is advisable.
Squash Bug Winter and Summer Squash There are some major outbreaks of squash bugs going on in all of the susceptible crops!

 

 

 

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