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Department of Entomology

Department of Entomology
123 W. Waters Hall
1603 Old Claflin Place
Kansas State University
Manhattan KS 66506-4004

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Stories from 2008

Lady Beetles Looking for Warm Home Like Yours

MANHATTAN, Kan. -- As cooler weather sets in, one annual insect migration that gets people’s attention is that of the Multicolored Asian Ladybeetle, often referred to as ladybugs.

“These beetles were introduced into the U.S. by the USDA in the 1970s and ‘80s to help control aphids,” said Kansas State University Research and Extension entomologist Jeff Whitworth. “They are very good at this and usually are found in trees and shrubs feasting on these little pests.” However, home invasions by these beetles may be expected in the next four to six weeks as they are seeking overwintering sites.

Also see -- Extension>Diagnostician>Lab News "It's an Invasion!

Soybean stem borer

We recently concluded a state wide survey for the soybean stem borer sponsored by the Kansas Soybean Commission and the K-State IPM Mini-Grants Program under USDA-CREES IPM Grant number 41531-0-01600. This survey detected seveal new couties that are now infested with this pest and also gives us a better idea of where serious populations of this pest exist in the state. -- check out the results of the survey on the following web page: Extension>Insect Information>Crop Pests>Soybeans>SBSB>History

Soybean Aphids

September 12, 2008. Soybean aphids continue to be heaviest in Norhteast Kansas. However surveys over the last three weeks in southern Kansas south of Highway 400 were negative (41 fields across 21 counties. Aphids were present in fields checked in Scott, Lane, Gove, Graham and Phillips county this week, but populations were well below threshold levels.

August 22, 2008 -- Soybean aphids continue migrating into the state and have started reproducing. Every soybean field we checked from northeast KS to south-central and north-central KS had soybean aphids. However, they were not really colonizing yet as there were just a few aphids (up to 100) scattered on about every plant. No honeydew production was noted in any of these fields, although Brian McCornack did detect field(s) in north-central KS with upwards of 200-400 aphids per plant that were producing honeydew. Soybean aphids colonizing and actively feeding will produce easily seen plants covered with this sticky, shiny substance. Later planted soybeans need to be especially monitored for soybean aphid impact.

August 4-8, 2008 -- Scattered colonies continued to be detected this week in Riley County. The percent of plants infested per sampled field ranged from 60-100%. However, densities were low with an average of 2 to 10 aphids per plant (mostly alates with newly deposited nymphs). In general, late-planted and double-crop soybean (i.e., soybean after wheat) had greater aphid pressure. In addition, aphids were found or reported from Atchinson, Dickinson, Marshall, Pottawtomie, and Republic and Saline Counties.

Milder weather may be conducive to soybean aphid development. So monitoring soybean fields for the next 3-4 weeks will be essential to determine soybean aphid damage potential. Later maturing double-cropped soybeans may be particularly vulnerable. (Brian McCornack and Jeff Whitworth)

News Briefs:

Released: July 10, 2008 Moisture Motivates Millipedes to March For some reason, millipedes march when conditions are very wet or dry. “Mostly you’ll see them outdoors at daybreak. They may be massing together on a deck, driveway, side of a building or big rock. Sometimes their numbers can be a bit disconcerting,” said Bob Bauernfeind, entomologist with Kansas State University Research and Extension. Homeowners are likely to be upset, however, if marching millipedes get lost and end up indoors. Millipedes and centipedes both look like the very definition of a “creepy crawler,” Bauernfeind added. Field Grasshoppers ‘Abundant’ in Parts of Kansas
GARDEN CITY, Kan. – Grasshopper nymphs have become abundant in some parts of Kansas – to the point that farmers may be justified in taking measures to protect their crops, a Kansas State University entomologist said. “When populations reach or exceed approximately 20 per square yard, field margins should be sprayed early in the season, while the grasshoppers are still small,” said Phil Sloderbeck, state Extension entomology leader for K-State Research and Extension.
Insured Growers Should Examine White Wheat Heads GARDEN CITY, Kan. – Hail and wheat stem maggots both can cause white heads in wheat, just before a headed-out crop starts to ripen.

“Insured growers should separate out which of the two types of damage is at fault. That could become important for those anticipating a storm-damage adjustment,” said Phil Sloderbeck, entomologist with Kansas State University Research and Extension.

Many factors can cause white heads, he added. Hail or stem maggots are the probable culprits, however, if a white head pulls easily out of its tiller, just above the uppermost node.

Sloderbeck said the tip of the pulled-out stem generally provides further clues:

* With maggot damage, the larva that’s been mining the stem may not be there. Even so, the stem probably will look chewed off.

* Hail typically causes a near-straight break with no other sign of damage, unless decay has started progressing slowly up the stem as the head dies.

“In the second case, a closer look at the leaf sheath between the upper node and the flag leaf will often reveal noticeable damage that’s consistent with the stem’s being hit by small hail,” Sloderbeck said. “Evidently, if hail occurs at just the right time – when the stem is elongating and is very turgid – the sharp impact of hail can be just enough to pop a stem and make the head die.” Monster’ Cockroaches Flying Again June 5, 2008 MANHATTAN, Kan. – Weird-seeming cockroaches appear in and around homes in late spring and early summer. They’re active throughout summer, becoming less obvious some time in October. “These spring visitors are called wood cockroaches, and they’re simply getting active for the year. Fortunately, they’re a clear example of the fact that not every roach is a bad roach,” said Bob Bauernfeind, entomologist with Kansas State University Research and Extension. Explanation for purple boxes in trees? Emerald Ash Borer Survey
TOPEKA -- If you're wondering about a purple box you have seen hanging in an ash tree, you can rest assured it's not some kid's kite gone astray. It's a trap set by the Kansas Department of Agriculture to detect whether a particular shiny green pest has entered our state. "Kansas is one of 47 states nationwide taking part in the U.S. Department of Agriculture survey to determine the range of the emerald ash borer population," said Bill Scott, manager of the department's plant protection and weed control program. "We put 100 of these traps in ash trees statewide, and USDA staff put out about 100 more, but our hope is that we don't catch a single one of these borers."
To learn more about the emerald ash borer, visit:

To learn more about the survey, visit:

Wheat Producers Should Watch Fields Closely for Insects

Insect pressure on wheat has been relatively light so far in Kansas this year, a Kansas State University entomologist said, but there are three pests to watch for in wheat during May.

Crop Production: The Stakes Have Changed But Should Your Betting Strategy?
K-State Entomologist Encourages Producers to Remember Sound Practices

GARDEN CITY, Kan. – Even as historically high crop prices have producers working to figure out the best way to proceed in cropping decisions this year, a Kansas State University entomologist is encouraging them not to forget basic best management practices. “Today’s commodity prices have people thinking about their cropping decisions, but just because you have moved from the penny ante table to the high stakes table doesn’t mean your betting strategy should change,” said K-State Research and Extension state leader in entomology, Phil Sloderbeck. “Your odds of return don’t necessarily change just because of the size of the bet.”

Revised Insect Management Guides

Alfalfa Insect Management 2008 MF-809 pdf (January 2008)

Corn Insect Management 2008 MF 810 pdf (January 2008)

Cotton Insect Management 2008 MF-2674 pdf (January 2008)

Sorghum Insect Management 2008 MF-742 pdf (January 2008)

Soybean Insect Management 2008 MF-743 pdf (January 2008)

Sunflower Insect Management 2008 MF-814 pdf (January 2008)

Wheat Insect Management 2008 MF-745 pdf (January 2008)

Carbofuran (Furadan) Cancellation Pending

As of January 2008, EPA has determined that all products containing carbofuran (Furadan) generally cause unreasonable adverse effects on humans and the environment, and are ineligible for re-registration. The following Web page provides information about the status of the Agency’s initiative to obtain cancellation, voluntary or otherwise, of all pesticide products containing carbofuran.

EPA may cancel a pesticide registration on the Agency’s own initiative when the risks associated with use of the pesticide are unacceptable, and the registrants have not made necessary changes to the terms and conditions of registration to address the risks. Because the registrant has not requested voluntary cancellation to address the risks of carbofuran, EPA has initiated the cancellation process under FIFRA section 6(b).

Because carbofuran poses significant dietary risks, especially to children, EPA must revoke carbofuran’s existing tolerances and cancel the associated food uses.

In addition, carbofuran's occupational and ecological risks substantially exceed EPA's levels of concern. Although carbofuran uses have benefits, none provides sufficient benefits either to individual growers or at the national level to outweigh the substantial combined occupational and ecological risks. EPA has concluded that carbofuran risks outweigh the benefits of continued use. Carbofuran products pose an unreasonable risk to man and the environment and therefore warrant cancellation.

EPA proposes to allow existing stocks of the following carbofuran uses to continue for three years because these uses provide moderate benefits for growers, sufficient pest control alternatives are not available, and the geographic scope of these uses is small:
pine seedlings in the Southeastern U.S.
spinach grown for seed (granular formulation only)
All other carbofuran uses will be terminated when the cancellation order becomes effective.