Imagine Biting Into A Pickle and Finding a Worm

Pickle Worms

Pickle Worms

Farmers in Florida, South Carolina and North Carolina grow 250 million pounds of cucumbers each year which are processed into pickles. The most troublesome insect pest on cucumbers in these states is the pickleworm. The pickleworm is a tropical pest and lives year-round in Florida and moves up the coast in the summer. Each female lays about 350 eggs on cucumber and related plants. The pickleworm larvae bore into the cucumbers where they eat out a large cavity which is contaminated with the worm’s excrement. Frequent insecticide sprays are needed to prevent the pickleworm from entering and contaminating pickles.

“A major insect problem, pickleworms follow spring north each year to lay eggs in the 50,000 acres of cucumbers in North and South Carolina. As summer progresses, the insect becomes a problem in states farther north.

The adult pickleworm moths lay eggs in the fields. Larvae hatch and eat their way into young cucumbers.

Growers start spraying their fields with potent pesticides almost every week for the moths’ 6- to 7-week season as soon as the nighttime temperature reaches 60°F—the temperature the moths follow north.

Why the worm witch hunt? It’s because pickle packers will refuse to accept a truckload of cucumbers if they notice even one with a pickleworm hole. (Understandably enough—imagine biting into a pickle and finding…)”

Author: Kaplan, K.
Affiliation: ARS.
Title: Less Pickleworm Pesticide.
Source: Agricultural Research. 1989. June.

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New Insecticides Greatly Improve Grape Insect Management

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The grape berry moth is an annual problem on about 50% of the grape acres around the Great Lakes in New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan. Females glue their eggs on the berries and larvae hatch out and feed in the berries. Insecticides have been used for 100 years to control the grape berry moth and reduce the infestation from 24-30% to less than 1%. Until recently, broad-spectrum insecticides with long residuals were used to manage grape berry moth. However, new insecticides have been registered and they provide tremendous opportunities to selectively manage insect pests in grape vineyards.

“The past 10 years has seen a dramatic change in the spectrum of insecticides available for grape producers, with new modes of action and pest spectra allowing an unparalleled opportunity for growers to target specific pests for control while also minimizing the risk to non-target organisms.

There is now increased potential for realizing integrated control, since many of the most effective new insecticides have been evaluated and shown to have relatively low impact on natural enemies. For example, registration of the insect growth regulator insecticides methoxyfenozide and diflubenzuron for use in vineyards and the recent availability of the diamide insecticdes rynaxapyr and flubendiamide allow more selective and long-lasting control of lepidopteran pests without high levels of natural enemy mortality.

Acaricides have also changed from broad-spectrum to more selective chemistries. The vineyard manager now has an array of different acaricide modes of action available, many of which can selectively kill pest mites without injuring predatory species. Some of these are also systemic, thereby providing a route of exposure that further protects predators from direct contact with the acaricide.”

Authors: Isaacs, R., et al.
Affiliation: Department of Entomology, Michigan State University
Title: Vineyard IPM in a changing world: adapting to new pests, tactics, and challenges.
Source: Anthropod Management in Vineyards: Pests, Approaches, and Future Directions. 2012. Springer. Pgs. 475-480.

Control of Cherry Maggots Has Become Very Difficult in the E.U.

Churry Maggots

Cherry Maggots

Adult cherry maggot flies deposit eggs under the skin of the fruit and the hatched maggots feed inside the berry. There is zero tolerance for maggot-infested cherries in the marketplace and insecticides have been used for over 100 years. However, in the E.U. with increased restrictions on insecticides and lack of newly-registered products, control of cherry maggots has become problematic.

“The European cherry fruit fly, Rhagoletis cerasi L. (Diptera: Tephritidae) is the major insect pest of sweet and tart cherries throughout Europe, infesting up to 90% of fruit in untreated sites. A great need has arisen for effective control techniques because of an almost zero tolerance of infested fruit in the fresh market, notwithstanding an agreed economic threshold of 2% infestation. Cherry fruit fly control in the European Union (EU) has recently become very difficult as a result of programmes to reduce the use of broad-spectrum insecticides, for reasons of environmental and human safety. Such withdrawals of insecticides have occurred in the absence of identified alternatives for R. cerasi. In Germany, its management is currently achieved by the application of systemic insecticides (e.g. acetamiprid, dimethoate), authorized by special permits and, for dimethoate, with many restrictions on use.”

Authors: Bockmann, E., et al.
Affiliation: Institute for Plant Protection in Fruit Crops and Viticulture, Germany.
Title: Bait spray for control of European cherry fruit fly: an appraisal based on semi-field and field studies.
Source: Pest Management Science. 2014. 70:502-509.

They’re Back: Cabbage Maggots Reappear Following Insecticide Restrictions

Cabbage maggots

Cabbage maggots

Damage from Cabbage Maggot

Damage from Cabbage Maggot

Cabbage maggots feed on the roots of cole crops (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, brussels sprouts). The maggots destroy the roots and the plants wilt. Cabbage maggots were effectively controlled for several decades by applications of organophosphate insecticides. However, recent restrictions on the use of organophosphates have resulted in less effective control and reappearance of cabbage maggots as a severe pest of California cole crops.

“Cabbage maggot is one of the most destructive pests of cruciferous crops in North America and Europe and has become the major persistent pest of cruciferous crops in the central coast of California. The value of cruciferous crops is estimated at 1 billion USD in California. In the Salinas Valley of California, cruciferous crops are grown in more than 34,398 ha and are valued at >$485.5 million USD. The majority of this acreage has been affected by cabbage maggot. Important crops that are at-risk from cabbage maggot include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli raab, and Brussels sprouts.

Cabbage maggot flies lay eggs in the soil around the base of the plant. A single female can lay about 300 eggs under laboratory conditions. Legless, 8-mm long white-maggots feed on the taproot and affect normal plant development. The most common above-ground feeding symptoms of cabbage maggot are yellowing, stunting and slow growth.

Since 2008, regulatory agencies in the state have enforced stringent restrictions to curb the use of organophosphate insecticides in commercial Brassica crop production, leaving growers with limited options to combat cabbage maggot infestation. Because of the fewer effective IPM options, widespread crop losses to cabbage maggot have been reported from 2008 to the present.”

Authors: Joseph, S. V., and J. Martinez.
Affiliation: University of California Cooperative Extension.
Title: Incidence of cabbage maggot (Diptera: Anthomyiidae) infestation and plant damage in seeded Brassica fields in California’s central coast.
Source: Crop Protection. 2014. 62:72-78.

Increased Insecticide Use Protects Onions from Viral Infections

weeds

Onions infected with iris yellow spot virus

Iris Yellow Spot Virus (IYSV) was first discovered in the U.S.in 1989 infecting onions in the Treasure Valley of Idaho and Oregon. IYSV typically does not kill plants; however the virus reduces plant vigor and bulb size. Once plants are infected with IYSV, there is no cure. The virus is transmitted to onions by the feeding of an insect: onion thrips. The disease spreads rapidly in fields with large numbers of thrips. Losses up to 100% have been reported. Onion thrips populations are reduced by the application of insecticides in onion fields thus preventing transmission of the disease to onion plants.

Iris yellow spot virus pressure in this region has not been nearly as bad as it was last year, when it wiped out some onion fields. “The virus seems to have been held off well this year,” said Paul Skeen, who farms near Nyssa, Ore. Farmers in the Treasure Valley area of southwestern Idaho and eastern Oregon produce about 25 percent of the nation’s bulb onions and the virus is one of their main production challenges. It weakens the plant and reduces onion production. It can substantially reduce onion bulb size, which is important because larger onions fetch a higher price. The disease is spread to onions by thrips, and Skeen said many growers in the area started spraying for thrips earlier this season and they sprayed more often. Skeen started spraying 10 days earlier and sprayed every seven to 10 days as opposed to every 14-20 as he has done in past seasons. “I’ve got a good crop coming because I stayed on top of it. I think everybody’s been doing that,” he said.

While onion growers in the Treasure Valley area typically start their thrip spraying programs around Memorial Day, many started in early May this year, said Stuart Reitz, an OSU cropping systems extension agent in Malheur County. While onion growers in this area normally make about six applications for thrips in a season, many have made eight or nine already this year and a few are up to 10, he said. “That helped keep the thrips population down,” Reitz said.

Author: Ellis, S.
Affiliation: Reporter.
Title: Onion virus pressure not as severe as last year.
Source: Capital Press. August 8, 2014.

No Kiwifruit Exports from New Zealand Without Insecticide Sprays

Leafroller Damage to Kiwifruit

Leafroller Damage to Kiwifruit

New Zealand accounts for 33% of the world’s trade in kiwifruit, exporting about US$450 million annually. Kiwifruit production in New Zealand is entirely oriented toward the export market. The domestic market is small and is flooded with fruit that do not meet export standards. In the early days when it was only a minor crop , no sprays were applied. Today, presence of insects, scales, or insect damage can cause rejection of an orchard’s entire crop.

“In the early days of growing kiwifruit in New Zealand it was considered a crop that didn’t need spraying. The very small amount of fruit produced was sold on the New Zealand market without any major problems due to pests or diseases. Predictably as the area planted increased, and more fruit was submitted to the scrutiny of export inspection, more pest and disease problems were encountered and more sophisticated methods of control were required… Kiwifruit are readily attacked by leaf roller caterpillars, and as plantings developed it became apparent control measures were necessary, especially for export fruit.

There are still a few small growers who never spray at all, but their fruit is seriously damaged by leaf roller caterpillars, and there is no chance of such growers being able to export kiwifruit as fresh fruit.

As exports developed in the late 1960s greedy scale was noticed in significant numbers on the fruit and became a problem in meeting international quarantine standards. Greedy scale was not a debilitating pest to the crop, nor was it a problem to local market fruit, but for export fruit it had to be controlled along with the ever present leaf roller.”

 

Author: Sale, P.R.
Affiliation: Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Tauranga.
Title: The history of pest and disease control in kiwifruit.
Source: Proc. 33rd N.Z. Weed and Pest Control Conf. 1980. Pgs. 110-113.

Artichokes (California’s Official Vegetable) Would be Heavily Damaged Without Insecticides

Artichoke Plume Moth Damage

Artichoke Plume Moth Damage

Artichoke Plume Moth Larvae

Artichoke Plume Moth Larvae

In 2013, artichokes were proclaimed to be California’s official vegetable.99.99% of all commercially-grown artichokes are grown in California. The artichoke is a member of the thistle family and was introduced into California in the mid-1800s where it was met by a native insect that had been feeding on wild thistle plants. The insect quickly adapted and began feeding on artichokes and has become known as the artichoke plume moth. Losses result when they feed on artichoke buds and make them unmarketable due to tunneling in the leaves, borings inside the heads, and a blackening of the heads resulting from feeding and frass exudation. Before the introduction of chemical insecticides in the early 1950s, 50-70% of California’s artichokes were unmarketable because of the moth damage.

“Artichoke plume moth (APM), Platyptilia carduidactyla (riley) (Lepidoptera: Pterophoridae) is the most serious and persistent pest of artichokes in California. If unchecked, 70% of the artichoke buds are rendered unmarketable from worm damage. Insecticides are the most important and sole means currently used for the management of this pest.”

Author: Bari, M. A.
Affiliation: Artichoke Research Association.
Title: A potential alternative in the control of artichoke plume moth.
Source: CAPCA Advisor. 2007. October. Pgs. 58-60.

Desert Locust Plagues Managed with Insecticides

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Spraying for locusts

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Locust swarm

Since prehistoric times, plagues of desert locusts (a large grasshopper that swarms) have threatened food production in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. The swarms may cover several hundred square kilometers and contain 50 million locusts per square kilometer. A square kilometer of locusts can consume about 100 tons of crops per day. Regular monitoring of locust breeding areas and targeted insecticide sprays as populations increase prevent plagues most years. However, monitoring locust breeding areas can be difficult as many are located in remote areas or are in areas inaccessible due to border disputes and lack of security. When major outbreaks occur, widespread insecticide spraying is necessary.

“When locust upsurges and plagues develop, large scale control campaigns must be mounted on an emergency basis. These campaigns are expensive, use large quantities of insecticide and involve external assistance. During the last plague of 1986-89, some 40 countries were affected and more than 14 million hectares were treated. The total amount of assistance provide by the international community during the plague was about US$ 250 million. The total amount of assistance provided by the international community  during the last major upsurge from 2003-2005 was about 400 million US Dollars where about 13 million litres of pesticides were used to treat 13 million hectare in 11 countries.

Ground and aerial application of chemical pesticides is the only viable method of locust control at present.”

Authors: FAO
Title: Workshop on Spray Equipment Used in Desert Locust Control, 10-14, May. 2009.

Organic Berry Production in Europe is at a Dead End

Damage from Raspberry Beetle

Damage from Raspberry Beetle

The growing of organic strawberries and raspberries in Europe has not expanded in the past decade. There is organic production in most countries, but it is on a very small scale. Organic berry production in Europe is likely to remain a niche market largely due to lack of control of very damaging insect pests.

“Many European growers of organic strawberry and raspberry have large losses in yield (sometimes >80%) and reduced quality of their products because of insect damage. Among the major threats are the strawberry blossom weevil, the European tarnished plant bug and the raspberry beetle. In organic soft fruit production there are no effective control measures for these pest insects.”

Authors: Wibe, A., et al.
Affiliations: Bioforsk Organic Food and Farming, Norway.
Title: Management of strawberry blossom weevil and European tarnished plant bug in organic strawberry and raspberry using semiochemical traps – “Softpest Multitrap”
Source: NJF Report. 2013. 9[8]:31.

Without Insecticide Sprays, European Olive Oil Would Smell and Taste Really Bad

Decay and feeding damage from olive fly

Decay and feeding damage from olive fly

More than 95% of the world’s production of olive oil (about 870 million gallons) comes from the Mediterranean region. The olive fly is an ancient pest mentioned in Greek and Roman writings dating back to the 3rd Century B.C. In heavily infested orchards more than 90% of the olives may be attacked. The larvae consume pulp which results in a reduction of oil quantity by 20-25%; the quality of the oil is also lowered. Oil obtained from olives infested with the olive fruit fly has 50-60% higher acidity. Exit holes made by larvae allow for the development of bacteria and fungi. Acidity is increased by fermentation through the action of bacteria and fungi and oxygen exposure. The larval gut contents may have an effect on the flavor of the oil and lead to a so-called “wormy smell”. In the 1960s, the availability of inexpensive chemical insecticides made it possible to protect the olive crop efficiently from the olive fly. Several countries such as Spain and Greece have government-sponsored programs that provide area-wide spray programs.

“The olive fruit fly, is considered to be the key pest of the Mediterranean Basin olive orchards. Females lay their eggs in both green and ripening olive fruit, and larvae feed upon the pulp of the fruit. They finally pupate inside the olive or exit to pupate on the ground. This pest causes a reduction in yield owing to a premature fruit drop or a loss of weight of the fruit caused by feeding larvae. Furthermore, microorganism growth inside the fruit increases the acidity of olive oils, which decreases their quality and commercial value. In table olives, B. oleae’s damage totally reduces their commercial value. Control methods against this pest include bait sprays, cover sprays and mass trapping. Traditional insecticides, such as organophosphates, and other more recently developed compounds, such as spinosad, are commonly applied as bait sprays.” 

Authors: Bengochea, P., et al.
Affiliation: Universidad Politecnica de Madrid, Spain.
Title: Insect growth regulators as potential insecticides to control olive fruit fly (Bactrocera oleae Rossi): insect toxicity bioassays and molecular docking approach.
Source: Pest Management Science. 2013. 69:27-34.