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Department of Entomology

Department of Entomology
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1603 Old Claflin Place
Kansas State University
Manhattan KS 66506-4004

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Stories from 2007

New publication on the oak leaf itch mite - We have just published an Extension Fact Sheet dealing with the latest information on oak leaf itch mites. This is Facts Sheet MF-2806 which can be downloaded from http://www.ksre.k-state.edu/library/entml2/MF2806.pdf

New Wheat Variety Disease, Insect Rating Publication Available Online

Honey Bee Colony Collapse Disorder

You may have heard all of the recent hype about cell phones causing the death of honey bees. However, the story does not appear to be that simple. Currently there are many theories about why bee keepers across the county are reporting unusually high losses of honey bee colonies over the last several months. For more information check out the information on wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colony_Collapse_Disorder One of the sources cited on this web site is the Mid-Atlantic Apiculture Research and Extension Consortium http://maarec.cas.psu.edu/ -- which produced one of the first reports on this recent bee crisis: Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) and also made a recent report before the U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Agriculture, Subcommittee on Horticulture and Organic Agriculture, on Colony Collapse Disorder in Honey Bee Colonies in the United States, March 29, 2007

Cockroach Publication

Jeff Whitworth and Aqeel Ahmad recently completed a revision of our publication on Cockroaches. Cockroaches are one of the most common household insect pests. A major concern with cockroaches is that they are repulsive and objectionable to people simply by their presence. They are also capable of transmitting bacterial pathogens (Salmonellla spp., Shigella spp. Staphylococcus spp., Streptococcus spp.) that cause food poisoning, diarrhea, or typhoid. Recently, cockroaches have been recognized as being an important source of indoor allergens found in their body, saliva and fecal matter. Cockroaches can also damage household items, by eating glue in wallpaper, books, and furniture. This new publication is available on the web at: http://www.ksre.k-state.edu/library/entml2/MF2765.pdf

Protective gear is more than fashionable, it's life-saving

High Plains Journal Article Quoting Sharon Dobesh, Pesticide and Pest Management Coordinator for Kansas State Cooperative Extension, Manhattan, Kan. 1/11/07

Petition to cancel chlorpyrifos:

EPA has received a petition to cancel all uses of chlorpyrifos (Chlorpyrifos, Dursban, Lorsban, Eraser, Govern, Nufos, Pilot Warhawk, and Whirlwind). If you wish to comment on this action refer to the following web site for instructions on how to file comments:


The deadline for comments is December 11, 2007

1) They´re Marching, Crawling, Flying, Hopping to Visit ... You
GARDEN CITY, Kan. - Bugs, beetles, spiders and `pedes (both centi- and milli-).

All of fall´s insect-type home invaders are now on the move, looking for winter shelter.

"These invaders can make do with very small entry holes - any place from your foundation to the eaves," said Phil Sloderbeck, entomology program leader for Kansas State University Research and Extension.

"To get an idea of what this means in terms of your needing to caulk or seal, remember that for an insect, a quarter-inch opening is really quite large. In fact, it´s so big that house mice can use it."

Fall´s insect invaders can include: boxelder bugs, red-shouldered bugs, sowbugs, pillbugs, Asian lady beetles, spiders, crickets, millipedes and centipedes - most of which are no more than a nuisance.

But, Asian lady beetles can pinch - hard - and defend themselves by emitting stain-causing, foul-smelling yellow-orange blood. Centipedes are an occasional threat; they have poison glands and bite, although it´s usually not life-threatening. If desperate for food (which field dwellers are indoors), crickets will damage wall coverings, drapes or clothing - especially if it´s soiled or sweaty.

The entomologist recommends "mechanical" controls indoors, so long as invader numbers are low. This can be as "low-tech" as catching and delivering bugs to the backyard. It rarely needs to be more sophisticated than turning on a vacuum cleaner, sweeping them up and quickly disposing of the bag.

When potential invader numbers are high, however, preventive measures outdoors may be necessary. In many cases, the primary one is to form a chemical barrier around the house.

"You´ll probably need to start at your foundation and treat 5 to 10 feet out. Many products are labeled for this kind of perimeter application. You´ll just need to read labels or talk to your local retailer to find out which products will control the particular pests you have and work best in your situation."

Other measures that can help are: Use "bug" lights or limit the use of insect-attracting outdoor lighting until winter weather reduces insect activity. Also, remove hiding places that insects might find attractive around the home, including leaf litter, rocks, boards, garden debris and other clutter.

Entomologist: Control Volunteer Wheat Now to Control Pests Later

Released: August 29, 2007 MANHATTAN, Kan. -- As wheat growers once again prepare to plant wheat, a Kansas State University entomologist is reminding them it’s also time to control volunteer wheat.

“Volunteer wheat is an unintended consequence of producing wheat,” said Jeff Whitworth, a crop pest specialist with K-State Research and Extension. “We cannot avoid it, but we can manage it so that it will not help nurture many of our common wheat problems.”

Webworms Attacking Deciduous Trees on High Plains

Released: August 28, 2007 MANHATTAN, Kan. – The growing season’s second generation of fall webworms and mimosa webworms is creating eyesores in High Plains trees. The fall webworms start by spinning webs on or around branch tips. But, as they continue eating and growing, they also keep increasing the size of their web and the leaf loss going on inside. Except for the expanding ugliness factor, that’s not necessarily a problem, according to Bob Bauernfeind, entomologist with Kansas State University Research and Extension.

Stable Flies Becoming Pest for Pastured Cattle, Too Current Feeding Methods Are Part of the Reason

Released: August 09, 2007 -- MANHATTAN, Kan. – Stable flies, which used to be found only in confined animal areas such as feedlots and barns, are now being found on cattle in pastures, according to a Kansas State University Research and Extension livestock entomologist.

“The current methods of feeding hay in pastures are creating a new habitat for stable flies,” said Alberto Broce, K-State livestock entomologist who studies fly populations. “These methods are very wasteful. Cattle can waste up to 45 percent of the hay in round bale feeders, which then gets mixed with manure on the ground and creates a suitable habitat for stable flies.”

Soybean aphid populations remaining steady, but producers should watch for populations to increase if temperatures begin to cool.

July 27, 2007 -- Dimentions of a soybean aphid colony detected in Riley Co. on 18th of July had not changed on 25th of July. This means the number of aphids per plant and the number of infested plants had not changed. Ants feeding on the honey dew and lady beetles feeding on aphids were observed. Winged aphids were also present which means migration to other parts of the field or different fields is possible and thus monitoring for soybean aphids should be continued.

Potentially Damaging Soybean Aphids Again Found in Kansas

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Soybean aphids, which have the potential to wreak havoc in soybean fields, have again arrived in Kansas. June 20, 2007

Watch for Soybean Aphids -July 17, 2007

K-State crop entomologist Jeff Whitworth advises soybean growers to be on the watch for soybean aphids in their fields...this highly-damaging pest has been confirmed already in 2007 in east-central Kansas. For more information listen to the MP3 file on the web at: K-State Radio Network Agriculture Today to report soybean aphids in Kansas refer to our web page at: /extension/insect-information/crop-pests/soybeans/sba/07.html or send an e-mail to jwhitwor@ksu.edu or psloderb@ksu.edu

Not Too Late to Control Bagworms-

June 28, 2007

Bagworm Control ‘Window’ Opening

Protect Minimum-Till Fields From Pillbug Damage

June 14, 2007

Control Rising Mosquito Numbers Now
17-Year Cicadas Not Expected in Kansas This Year
Clean, Treat Grain Bins Now to Save Time, Trouble Later

June 7, 2007

Bagworm Caterpillars Emerging for Their Annual Attack

May 31, 2007

Wet Spring in Kansas Raises Concerns About Mosquito Numbers

Stories by: The Associated Press May 12 2007 (Quoting Ludek Zurek) in the TheHorse.com and LJWorld.com

Armyworm Alert -- May 18, 2007

Armyworms have reportedly been causing heavy defoliation to wheat in parts of Oklahoma and populations are now being reported from parts of south central and southeastern Kansas . More information on this pest can be found at: Extension>Insect Information>Crop Pests>Wheat>Armyworm . In addition to wheat these worms could damage various other crops as the wheat matures or they defoliate the wheat and migrate out of wheat fields into neighboring row crop fields such as corn and sorghum. For more information on these crops see: Extension>Insect Information>Crop Pests>Corn>Armyworm

Bird Cherry Oat Aphids (BCOAs):

BCOA’s seem to be increasing in wheat fields throughout the eastern 2/3rd of the State. Direct feeding damage by BCOA’s does seem to be of concern this year. Prior to the freeze, lady beetles and other beneficials were present but populations have been slower to recover than the BCOA populations. These aphids seem to be adding to the stress of the already struggling wheat plant. Click on above link for more information from the May 4, Insect Newsletter.

Spring Has Sprung – Check Now for Crop Insects

MANHATTAN, Kan.April 5, 2007 – Spring has officially begun, which means that Kansas State University entomologists are already receiving phone messages and e-mails about various insect problems.

“From aphids in alfalfa and cutworms in canola to foraging carpenter ants, we’ve been getting calls,” said Phil Sloderbeck, state entomology leader with K-State Research and Extension.

Unusually Early Alfalfa Weevil Activity Reported in Kansas

MANHATTAN, Kan. - April 03, 2007– Alfalfa weevils have already been extremely active throughout Kansas this spring, a Kansas State University entomologist said.

“Reports of alfalfa weevil activity have been pouring into K-State Research and Extension offices around the state,” said Jeff Whitworth, who is a crop production entomologist with K-State Research and Extension. “The first calls started coming in from south-central Kansas about two weeks ago, which is three to four weeks earlier than normal.”

Alfalfa Weevil Alert

March 30, 2007 -- Now is the time to spray for alfalfa weevil if they exceed the treatment threshold. The first calls started coming in from south-central Kansas 2 weeks ago. This is about 3-4 weeks earlier than normal. The unusually mild conditions evidently caused the eggs to hatch and larval development to proceed at a very rapid pace. Samples taken on 28 March, from fields in central Kansas indicated 60% of the larvae were already in the 2nd instar and about 20% in the 3rd instar. Please see -- Extension>Insect Information>Crop Pests>Alfalfa>Weevil or Alfalfa Insect Management Guide 2007, MF-809 http://www.ksre.k-state.edu/library/ENTML2/MF809.pdf for more information.

Army Cutworms Could Threaten Wheat, Canola, and Alfalfa

MANHATTAN, KS - March 26, 2007 - Army cutworms have been detected on some fields of wheat in Kansas as of mid-March, said Jeff Whitworth, K-State Research and Extension entomologist.

“At this time, the cutworms are small. By late March, the cutworms will probably be larger and damage may be more noticeable,” Whitworth said. Army Cutworms are being reported in Canola

These infestations are the result of eggs laid by female 'Miller moths' last fall. Larvae feed mainly at night, hiding in the soil around plants during daylight hours. In cold weather they remain below ground, returning to feed above ground during warm spells. Feeding by small larvae, results in 'windowpane' damage to young leaves as larvae strip away the lower leaf surface leaving transparent patches of dead cells on the upper surface. This damage is usually insignificant and often goes unnoticed. As the larvae grow in size, the evidence of feeding becomes more apparent, as larger larvae are able to chew through the entire leaf. Larvae feed exclusively on above-ground green foliage and heavily infested fields fail to green-up in the spring. Flocks of birds foraging for the plump larvae are often a sign of cutworm infestations in a field. Like most cutworms, army cutworms will feed on a great many plants including many crop and weed species. Alfalfa, wheat, and canola are the agricultural crops at risk because those are the crops in Kansas that were present in the fields last fall when the female moths were searching for oviposition sites. Treatment options vary by crop, but normally focus on may of the newer pyrethroid products. Lists of treatment options can be found on the following web pages:

Extension--Insect Information--Crop Pests--Alfalfa--ArmyCutworm
Extension--Insect Information--Crop Pests--Canola--Army Cutworm
Extension--Insect Information-Crop Pests-Wheat--ArmyCutworm
Managing Soybean Aphids in 2007—How Will Biological Control Contribute?
A distance education short course
March 6, 2007, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (CDT)

On March 6, 2007, entomologists from throughout the Midwest will present a short course focused on management of soybean aphids in 2007, with emphasis on biological control, including conservation of natural enemies. Experts from several states will deliver the short course via distance education technology.

Topics will include:

• History and biology of the soybean aphid
• Review of the soybean aphid situation
• Biological control of soybean aphids—What is it? What do we have to work with in the United States?
• Introducing new natural enemies into the U.S.
• Preparing for soybean aphids in 2007—Management guidelines, and the potential for biological control. What is it we don’t know that will help us in the future?
• Questions, answers, feedback

For more information down load the following Acrobat file:
Soybean Aphid Biological Control Short Course