Kansas State University


Extension Entomology

Month: October 2019

Bug Jokes of the Week

— Dr. Jeff Whitworth

Q: I just won a Halloween contest dressed as a bee! It was so exciting that I am still “buzzed” about it!


Q: What is worse than a worm in your apple?

A: half a worm


Q: What do spiders order at a restaurant?

A: French flies

Q: What can be on the ground and a hundred feet in the air at the same time?

A: A centipede on its back



Wheat Update – armyworms, grasshoppers

–by Dr. Jeff Whitworth

Some fields have already established good stands of wheat this fall. However, there are also some pretty well established fields of volunteer wheat (see pic provided courtesy of Jay Wisby). There have been reports of armyworms and grasshoppers causing concern in some wheat fields that are struggling because of lack of moisture, but the recent cold weather should control both armyworm and grasshopper feeding.



Alfalfa Update – aphids, potato leafhoppers

–by Dr. Jeff Whitworth

Pea aphids (see pic) are and have been returning, or at least increasing in numbers, to many alfalfa fields throughout north central Kansas. These are primarily cool weather aphids and are usually the last ones still feeding in the fall on alfalfa and the 1st ones in the spring. However, with the advent of cool/cold weather this late fall feeding should be negligible. Potato leafhoppers (see pic), for the most part, have emigrated, or at least are not present in easily detectable numbers, so “hopper burn” (see pic) and its consequences, should not be problematic this fall/winter.


Pea aphids


Potato leafhopper


Hopper burn


Alfalfa and Soybeans

–by Dr. Jeff Whitworth

Green cloverworm adults (see pic) have been very common in soybean and alfalfa fields the last couple of weeks, and this has caused concern about potential green cloverworm infestations next year. However, green cloverworm adults are, or have been, migrating to the southern US for overwintering. Thus, since they do not overwinter in Kansas, infestations next year will depend on wherever the adults come back to, so predicting future infestations after overwintering adults return from the southern US are not possible.

Adult green cloverworm




Green June Beetle Larvae

–by Dr. Raymond Cloyd

We have received numerous inquiries regarding large grubs (larvae) crawling on their backs across pavements or other hard surfaces. Well, these are the larval stage of the green June beetle, Cotinis nitida. Larvae are 3/8 (early instars) to 1-1/2 (later instars) inches long, and exhibit a strange behavioral trait—they crawl on their back (Figures 1 and 2)—likely due to having a constant itch J. This behavior of crawling on their back is unique among turfgrass-infesting larvae.



Fig 1. Green June Beetle Larva (Grub) Crawling On Pavement Surface (Auth–Raymond Cloyd, KSU)

Photo for Fig. 2 not available


The larvae are abundant now due to the excessive moisture (rain) we have received. Young larvae are generally located at the interface between the soil and thatch layer feeding primarily on organic matter including thatch and grass-clippings; preferring material with a high moisture content. The larvae can be found in swimming pools, garages, and basements. Green June beetle larvae can tunnel 18 inches into the soil; and even deeper in sandy soils.