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Extension Entomology

Tag: soybeans

Soybean Update – Green cloverworms and Stink bugs

–by Dr. Jeff Whitworth and Dr. Holly Schwarting

Green cloverworm adults are quite numerous and are laying eggs in alfalfa and soybeans.  So, there are, or will soon be, small larvae present.  Feeding by green cloverworms will probably not impact alfalfa or most soybean fields unless there are significant larval populations in really late planted fields.

 

 

Stink bug populations seem to be increasing in north central Kansas but most beans should be far enough along in their development that stink bugs should be of little concern.

 

For management decisions for all soybean pests, please refer to the 2017 Soybean Insect Management Guide: https://www.bookstore.ksre.ksu.edu/pubs/MF743.pdf

Sugarcane aphid in Kansas sorghum, 2017

by –J.P. Michaud, Brian McCornack, Wendy Johnson and Sarah Zukoff

 

As we reach the midpoint of September, it is becoming clear that the impact of sugarcane aphid (SCA) in Kansas will be only a fraction of what it was in 2015 or 2016.  Multi-state monitoring efforts using myfields.info to track SCA have reported SCA in 138 different counties in 8 states in 2017; the first record in Kansas was on August 1 in Sumner Co. You can track county movement by visiting the myFields distribution map, or sign up for an account to receive an email alert when SCA has been detected in your area. Only southwestern Kansas has had some fields with infestations heavy enough to warrant treatment, and many others have remained below threshold (see our Scouting Card for more information).  A large proportion of the earlier planted fields are now mature enough to be safe from yield losses, even though SCA may be able to survive on these plants for some time.  At this point, only the latest planted fields that have not yet filled grain remain at risk, and lower overnight temperatures are slowing aphid activity.  Remember, SCA can survive overnight freezes and continue to feed on plants as long as they have any green tissue remaining, although without any further impact on yield if grain fill is complete.

 

Decreased acreage

 

A substantial decrease in sorghum acreage this year, especially in the regions of central Kansas that were most affected in 2016, has likely impeded northerly movement of the aphid this year.  Reduced sorghum acreage, much of it converted to soybeans and dryland corn, has meant the aphid must traverse longer distances to reach suitable plants on which it can establish populations capable of producing the winged migrants that enable further spread.  But several other factors have likely been even more important.

 

Improved management

 

There has been a much higher level of awareness among sorghum growers, and much better preventive and remedial management of the aphid in the southern regions that are the source of aphids for Kansas infestations.  The widespread adoption of seed treatments in south Texas effectively prevents the infestation of young plants for up to a month or longer.  An increase in the acreage planted to the many hybrid varieties expressing resistance to the aphid has greatly impeded its ability to produce large populations so quickly.  Timely scouting and identification by concerned growers has resulted in the early discovery and effective treatment of fields that did exceed economic thresholds, which in turn reduced the number and size of alate swarms that dispersed northward in 2017. Look for more help on scouting and determining treatable infestation levels here: KSU Scout Card

 

Evolving natural enemies

 

Just as pest species can evolve new behaviors (for example, attacking a new host plant), so beneficial species can quickly evolve new pest/host plant associations.  An example of this is provided by the Asian multicolored lady beetle, Harmonia axyridis, which last summer produced very large populations in Kansas sorghum for the first time, feeding primarily on SCA.  This lady beetle was not found in sorghum previously, but was drawn into fields by abundant SCA, and is now responding to sorghum as a habitat containing many types of suitable prey.  This year we have found it regularly feeding on corn leaf aphids and greenbugs, in the absence of SCA, something we had not previously observed.  Similarly, H. axyridis did not frequent soybeans until the arrival of soybean aphid in 2002, whereupon it quickly became a key source of mortality for this aphid, and has remained a regular resident of soybean fields ever since.  While the example of H. axyridis is quite obvious and visible, many changes in the responses of other aphid natural enemies in the sorghum agroecosystem are more subtle, but also important.  For example, the greenbug parasitoid, Lysiphlebus testaceipes, appears to be gradually overcoming SCA immunity to parasitism, and we are starting to find some successfully mummified SCA.  Aphid natural enemies are now colonizing sorghum faster, and in greater numbers, in response to SCA.  Surveys for SCA in central Kansas revealed many small colonies of greenbug, corn leaf aphids, yellow sugarcane aphids, and English grain aphids, all approaching extinction due to heavy predation and parasitism.  Lacewings and hoverflies were especially abundant, with adults flying everywhere and several lacewing eggs on almost every lower leaf, independent of the presence of any aphids.

 

In summary, we are clearly advancing from the epidemic phase of the SCA invasion to the attenuation phase, and considerably faster than we might have expected.  Vigilance will be required for the next few years, and appropriate monitoring and management will need to be maintained, but it is quite possible that 2016 will mark the high point for SCA problems in Kansas and we will not see another year that bad again.

 

Photo caption:

 

A colony of sugarcane aphid showing evidence of substantial predation.  Note ‘bloodstains’ (aphid hemolymph) along leaf midrib and the fact that aphids are widely scattered rather than forming a compact colony.

Corn Earworms/Sorghum Headworms/ Soybean Podworms – Helicoverpa zea (Boddie)

— by Dr. Jeff Whitworth, Dr. Holly Schwarting and J.R. Ewing

There has been much activity this year by this particular insect, starting in whorl stage corn and moving to sorghum (both whorl and heading stages) and now in soybeans.

soybean podworm pod

Likewise, there has been some concern that all this activity and resultant insecticide applications have cause an increase in insecticide resistant Helicoverpa zea populations.  So, thanks to great effort on the part of Ethan Kepley, consultant in south east Kansas, who collected all the Helicoverpa zea larvae in one morning from an untreated soybean field, and Steve Freach, FMC, who was kind enough to transport all the larvae directly from the field to our lab, it was possible to conduct a bioassay.  The results of this insecticide bioassay are shown below.

 

Approximately 300 corn earworm/soybean podworm/sorghum headworm, Helicoverpa zea (Boddie), were collected from an untreated soybean field in south east Kansas.  Larvae (mixed sizes but predominantly relatively large instars, which are known to be more difficult to kill quickly) were equally divided into 6 treatments (Table 1).  Larvae were placed individually in small petri dishes that had been coated with the selected insecticide at the rate listed and set aside to dry for 4 hours prior to adding the larvae.  All treatments were individually evaluated 24 hours after the larvae were placed in the petri dishes.  Larvae were evaluated as live: no apparent effect; moribund: larvae very sluggish, little or no movement unless prodded and then only very slow, unnatural movement, and; dead: no movement even when prodded.  From this bioassay there does not appear to be any insecticide resistance to those insecticides and rates utilized (Table 1).

 

Treatment % of Larvae Live % of Larvae Moribund % of Larvae Dead
Hero @ 6 oz/a 0 3.4 96.6
Lorsban @ 2 pts/a 0 8.6 91.4
Mustang Maxx @ 4 oz/a 0 10.9 89.1
Baythroid @ 2.8 oz/a 0 15.5 84.5
Warrior II @ 1.6 oz/a 0 3.4 96.6
Untreated 87.5 9.4 3.1 (parasitized)

 

 

Soybean Pest Update

–by Dr. Jeff Whitworth and Dr. Holly Schwarting

What a difference a few days makes in the world of insects!  Two weeks ago, and prior, there were very few insect pests in soybeans throughout north central and south central Kansas.  Now, most soybean fields are loaded, with more coming all the time.  Some of the insects common to soybean fields throughout north central, south central, and south east Kansas right now are as follows:

Dectes stem borer adults. These have been actively depositing eggs in petioles for a few weeks although populations seem somewhat reduced compared to the past few years.  Larval tunneling within the petiole and resultant petiole death has not yet become very apparent.

Dectes

Bean leaf beetle adults. These feed on the leaves, usually causing mostly round or oblong holes, which are of little consequence.  However, these same adults can also feed on the pods which may damage the bean inside and thus cause significant yield reductions.

bean leaf beetle feeding

Bean leaf beetle

bean leaf beetle pod feeding

“Worms”. There are also significant numbers of a variety of “worms” or caterpillars in most soybean fields.  These include various stages of yellowstriped armyworms, which may feed on the leaves but not enough to impact plant health or yield.

yellowstriped armyworm

There are also numerous green cloverworms, which are also leaf feeders.  These are the “inchworms” that wiggle like crazy when disturbed.

green cloverworm_feeding

They are usually highly susceptible to a fungus that turn infected larvae white and decimates the population rapidly over large areas.  Green cloverworms may cause a great deal of concern because of the defoliation they cause, but rarely are they any real detriment to the plant.  However, make sure to properly identify the worms as there are also corn earworms, aka soybean podworms, which may be mistaken for green cloverworms.

Soybean podworm

Soybean podworms will feed on leaves but more worrisome is when they start feeding on the developing seeds within the pods.  Two or three pods fed on per plant may justify control if there are still larvae in the field.  Otherwise, they may have pupated and treatment should be delayed until sampling indicates the next generation of larvae is actively feeding on seeds within pods.

Alfalfa caterpillars are also feeding on leaves and adding to the worm variety but will not cause any detrimental impact on yield.

alfalfa caterpillar and green cloverworm

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