Kansas State University


Extension Entomology

Month: April 2017

Alfalfa Update

— by Dr. Jeff Whitworth and Dr. Holly Schwarting

Alfalfa weevils are cool weather insects, thriving when temperatures are between 50-75°F and thus mostly affect alfalfa prior to the 1st cutting. That has been the case for about the last two weeks in north central KS. Temperatures have been on the cool side and the alfalfa has not been growing as well as most producers would like.  However, alfalfa weevils have been very active to the point where there are many pupae and even pupal webbing with holes indicating the adult weevils have already emerged and dispersed.  Infestations as of 6 April were composed of very small 1st instar larvae to larger, more mature 3rd instar larvae, as well as pupae, and newly developed adults.  Also, lady beetle larvae were quite common in most alfalfa fields, but no aphids were detected.

Alfalfa weevil feeding damage


Alfalfa weevil feeding damage – close


Ant and Termite Swarms

— by Dr. Jeff Whitworth and Dr. Holly Schwarting

It is that time of year again when termites and ant colonies start producing ‘swarmer’s’.  Swarms of flying ants have already been noted in the last week.  After all of the moisture, and as the temperatures warm into the 70s°F and above, both ant and termite swarming will become more apparent.  Only the adult reproductives of both ants and termites have wings and can fly.  These flights, or more rightly probably called flutters, are of short duration and usually start mid-to-late morning as temperatures warm into the 70’s.  These swarms can contain up to thousands of winged individuals and often attract the attention of birds and other predators that take advantage of these poor flyers for an easy meal.  It is important to distinguish between ants and termites because termites can be very destructive of just about anything made out of wood while ants are more of just a nuisance.  The following can help distinguish between ants and termites.


For more information regarding ant and termite biology and control please see these publications:

ANTS – https://www.bookstore.ksre.ksu.edu/pubs/MF2887.pdf

TERMITES – http://www.bookstore.ksre.ksu.edu/pubs/mf722.pdf