What’s Buggin’ Ya – Fall 2013 – Molly Keck

GREEN JUNE BUG SWARMS

No, they are not Japanese Beetle or the beetles that will eat your turf. We are seeing (or recently did see) a mating swarm of Green June Bugs.

Green June Beetles, By Molly Keck

Green June Beetles, By Molly Keck

These are large beetles, about 1 inch in size, metallic green and very similar in size and shape to regular old brown May Beetles or June Bugs.

Green June Bugs are basically harmless. After mating they will be laying their eggs in compost, manure, and other like materials. The larvae can be considered beneficial because they are recyclers and decomposers.

The adults may cause damage to fruits, especially soft fruits like pears. I have seen them congregating on the fruit in large numbers, chewing holes in them and ruining the pears. If this is an issue for you, try using some sort of netting over the tree, if it is small enough. Given that these beetles aren’t going to be around very long, pesticides aren’t the best, most economical or most environmentally friendly option.

Green June Bugs are usually seen in large numbers either on a tree, or flying around trees. They are loud fliers, and not always the best flier – bumping into building and sometimes even people! They will not bite or hurt you. They are strong, and you’ll learn this if you pick up a live one and try to hold it in your hand.

They may be annoying, but give them a week or two more, and you won’t see these Green June Bugs again for another year!

 

FALL GARDENING AND PEST MANAGEMENT

Fall is here and, for some, it’s the best time to veggie garden!  Cole crop like broccoli, cabbage, lettuces, cauliflower all do well with the cooler temperatures.  But along with cole crops, always come cabbage loopers. Don’t let the name trick you – cabbage loopers do not just feed on cabbages. While they prefer cole crops, I have seen on nearly everything in a garden, including radishes.

Cabbage Loopers in various instars (sizes) Photo by: Molly Keck

Cabbage Loopers in various instars (sizes)
Photo by: Molly Keck

Last fall, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service in Bexar County conducted a field trail on cabbage looper and best management practices. We had 252 cabbages and treated them either Spinosad, Bacillus thuringiensis kurstaki (Bt), Molasses, Carbaryl, and alternating treatments of Spinosad and Bt and alternating treatment of Spinosad and Bt with Molasses added.

What we found was that if you follow good cultural control practices: (watering at least twice a week, maintaining moist soil, pre-fertilizing, staying weed free, and planting cabbages the proper spacing from one another [we used 12 inch center spacing]), you can go without treating and still produce cabbage heads that are not significantly smaller or of less aesthetic value than those treated with any pesticides. However, the outer leaves are all eaten and we definitely had some loss of cabbages. It was a testament to using the best cultural control practices and that happy plants have fewer pest damage.

Overall, Spinosad had fewer cabbage looper damage from the get-go. Bt started off slower, with more damage (holes in leaves, more of the overall leaves with holes), but by the end of the study, it was right up there with Spinosad treated plants.

When you alternate with Spinosad and Bt, you hit a middle ground and adding Molasses did nothing to help.

Incidentally, using Molasses only showed less damage than treating with nothing, but it dyed the cabbages and make them look burnt. You would get nearly the same results as doing nothing at all, so if you want a nicer cabbage or cole crop, I wouldn’t suggest using only Molasses.

Carbaryl (Sevin) products preformed the poorest. But, if you read the label, you will see that loopers are specifically mentioned as not being affected! Another reason why we should read that label carefully!

Our treatment regimen was applying a liquid insecticide every 2 weeks for a total of 10 weeks of plant growth. Our cabbages averaged 3 lbs! Nearly twice the size of the cabbages you purchase at the store. We had a bumper crop, but remember cultural control is key to any good garden!

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