Kansas State University


Extension Entomology

Month: June 2020

Celebrate National Pollinator Week

–by Frannie Miller


Did you know that June 22 – 28, 2020 is National Pollinator Week. Fun fact is beetles pollinated the first flowers more than 140 million years ago. It is estimated that more than 200,000 animal species serve as pollinators. Insects pollinate our crops and help provide one in every three bites of food. Without them we wouldn’t have chocolate or many other vegetables, fruit such as strawberries, apples or grapes, seeds, and nuts.

What can you do to help make sure the pollinators are around to do their job? Examples may include:

*Create a backyard pollinator garden

*Volunteer to help create a pollinator garden at a local school

*Reduce or eliminate the use of pesticides

*Don’t spray directly on flowers

*Plant pollinator friendly plants such as natives or milkweeds

*Support local bees and beekeepers

*Give bees a nesting place

*Provide a water source for pollinators.

ID to last week’s bug

–by Frannie Miller


Golden dung fly – The golden dung fly is one of the most abundant and familiar flies. These flies can be found on the feces of large mammals, such as cattle, horses, sheep, deer, and feral hogs. They are extremely important in the natural decomposition of feces. These insects have a short life-cycle and are susceptible to experimental variables making them important to science.


–by Dr. Jeff Whitworth

Adult bean leaf beetles are very active throughout north central Kansas at the present time. They typically chew round/oblong holes in leaves (note fig. 4 with bean leaf beetle at the tip of the arrow) and deposit eggs in the soil around the base of soybean plants. There are two color phases of adult bean leaf beetles (fig 5), a tan phase and a reddish phase, but both have six black spots surrounded by a black border on their backs. Both color types can be seen in fig 5.

Figure 4 Soybean leaf damage from beetles (Cody Wyckoff)

Figure 5 Bean leaf beetles (Cody Wyckoff)


–by Dr. Jeff Whitworth

Just FYI: This photo (fig. 3) is of a click beetle. Wireworms are the larval stage- and after they pupate in the soil, they emerge as an adult, which looks nothing like the wireworm. There are several species of wireworms (click beetles) in Kansas, and the one pictured is one of the more common species, all of which are usually well controlled by insecticide seed treatments. However, these seed treatments generally do not offer seed/seedling protection 21-28 days after the seeds were planted.

Figure 3 Click beetle (Cody Wyckoff)



–by Dr. Jeff Whitworth

Western corn rootworm (WCR) larvae are voraciously feeding on corn roots (see fig 1) and thus continuing to grow and develop as seen in fig 2.  The WCR larva on the right, in this photo, was collected on 3 June 2020, while the ones on the left were collected from the same field on 17 June 2020.

Figure 1: WCR emerging from root (Cody Wyckoff)

Figure 2: WCR larvae (Cody Wyckoff)


Woolly Aphids on Maple Trees

–Dr. Raymond Cloyd

We have received numerous inquiries regarding insects feeding on maple trees including sugar (Acer saccharum), Norway (Acer platanoides), and silver (Acer saccharinum). These insects are woolly aphids. Woolly aphids are a group of aphids that feed on different types of trees, such as; maple (Acer spp.), elm (Ulmus spp.), alder (Alnus spp.), and apple (Malus spp.). Woolly aphids cover themselves with white waxy threads or filaments (Figure 1), which provides protection from natural enemies (parasitoids and predators).

Fig 1. Woolly aphids feeding on maple tree. Note the white waxy threads or filaments (Auth–Jesse Gilmore, Wildcat District)

Woolly aphids are typically found in large numbers feeding on the branches of trees (Figures 2 and 3). In addition, some species of woolly aphids develop initially on roots (e.g. woolly apple aphid, Eriosoma lanigerum) and then later on migrate upward from the soil to feed on plant stems and branches. Woolly aphids feed on plant fluids within the phloem sieve tubes. They withdraw large quantities of plant fluids resulting in the production of honeydew, a clear sticky liquid that serves as a substrate for black sooty mold.

Fig 2. Woolly aphids feeding on maple tree (Auth–Jesse Gilmore, Wildcat District)

Fig 3. Woolly aphids feeding on maple tree branch (Auth–Raymond Cloyd, KSU)

Young woolly aphids are all females (stem mothers) and can reproduce asexually (without mating). Winged and non-winged forms may be present simultaneously. The cornicles or tubes that protrude from the end of the abdomen may be substantially reduced compared to other aphid species (Figure 4).

Woolly aphids feed on mature maple trees and are not likely to cause significant plant damage. However, one of the easiest and quickest ways to remove woolly aphids from maple trees is to dislodge them using a forceful water spray. If done whenever woolly aphids are present, a forceful water spray will prevent populations from building-up. Although there are predators that will feed on woolly aphids including green lacewings, ladybird beetles, and syrphid fly larvae, in most cases, the predators do not provide sufficient regulation of woolly aphid populations.

Fig 4. Close up of woolly aphids feeding on maple branch. Note the reduced cornicles on the end of the abdomen (Auth–Raymond Cloyd, KSU)