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Lexington, KY 40546

Online at: www.uky.edu/KPN

Number 1239 July 20, 2010
-Blister Beetles Active -Cicada Killers
-Early Activity of Gray Leaf Spot of Perennial
CORN Ryegrass
-“Dalmatian Corn” -Other Wasps Patrol Some Lawns

-Disease Update -Face Fly Control – A Difficult Task


-Selecting the Correct Insecticide Use Rate
-Tulip Poplar Leaves Yellowing
-Bacterial Leaf Scorch Symptoms Appearing

ALFALFA Problems with blister beetles in hay can be

avoided in several ways: 1) eliminate or reduce
Blister Beetles Active blooming weeds and alfalfa thru timely cutting
By Ric Bessin and mowing around fields. Infestations tend to
occur along field margins with beetles moving in
Clusters of from adjacent areas. 2) Before harvest, check
blister any areas of the fields that have blooming plants.
beetles are Blister beetles occur in groups so they should be
out and easy to find. 3) If beetles are present, do not
feeding on crimp or condition hay as it is cut. This allows
Figure 1. Margined blister beetles. the flowers the insects to fly from the field as the hay cures.
and foliage of a wide range of plants. They are Crushed beetles remain in the hay and are toxic.
most active in the morning and late afternoon,
often moving to shelter during the hottest part of Striped, margined, and black blister beetles can
the day. Blister beetles will drop off the plant or be found in Kentucky. The striped blister beetle
fly away if disturbed. When abundant, these has a yellow-orange head and body with three
insects can quickly defoliate plants but there long black stripes running along each wing
they have another dimension. Their common cover. It will feed on many different vegetables
name comes from the caustic defensive chemical but seems to prefer the fruits of solanaceous
that is released when they are disturbed, plants. They also are foliage feeders with big
damaged, or crushed. This poses a potential appetites. Striped blister beetles form large
problem in alfalfa hay for horses. Blister beetle mobile feeding masses so they can descend on
problems are very rare in Kentucky hay but are an area and cause a lot of damage in a short
such as serious threat to horses that they must be time. Other species include the black blister
considered in cuttings made between July and beetle and the margined blister beetle. The latter
early September. has a black body with thin gray stripes along the
wing covers and a gray abdomen. These two gray leaf spot fungus. Consequently, infections
species frequently feed on flowers, the black by the gray leaf spot fungus on the leaf sheath
blister beetle can be found on alfalfa flowers. are large and oval-shaped. These lesions are
More information is available in Blister beetles mostly tan, with a thin darker-colored border,
in alfalfa (Entfact 102), which helps to distinguish them from purple leaf
http://www.ca.uky.edu/entomology/entfacts/ef10 sheath. The presence of leaf sheath infections of
2.asp. gray leaf spot shouldn’t be cause for alarm,
although they sometimes develop to a high
enough level that they can cause blighting of the
CORN leaf blade, shutting down photosynthesis in that
blade. A few hybrids seem especially
“Dalmatian Corn” susceptible to infections on the leaf sheaths—
By Paul Vincelli although they may show few lesions on the leaf
blade, they may be damaged by aggressive
On a trip through western Kentucky, I visited development of these larger lesions on the leaf
fields with spotting on the stalks (Figure 2). In sheaths.
one case, the grower creatively referred to the
crop as “Dalmatian Corn”. In this field and
others, two problems were observed:

Purple Leaf Sheath: This develops when weak

fungal parasites grow in the moist environment
underneath the leaf sheath. These weak
parasites include yeasts and filamentous fungi
that otherwise cause very little problem on corn
plants. However, in this moist, protected
environment, they begin growing on the
nutrients of old pollen grains that are washed
underneath the leaf sheath, and then eventually
they start attacking the leaf sheath. These
infections result in a spot on the leaf sheath that
may be purple, dark brown, or black. Typically,
these lesions are darker and more developed on
the inner surface of the sheath than the outer,
which makes sense since they begin infecting on
the inner sheath. While these infections raise
some concern, they normally do not result in
yield loss or reduced stalk quality.

Gray Leaf Spot Lesions on Leaf Sheaths:

Readers commonly recognize the typical Figure 2. Symptoms of purple leaf sheath and gray leaf
“match-stick” lesions of gray leaf spot that spot lesions on the leaf sheath (Kenny Perry, Graves Co
develop when infections occur on leaf blades Agent photo).
(Figure 3). The sides of the lesions are usually
straight because the growth of this fungus can be
impeded when it runs into a veinlet in the leaf.
Apparently, the leaf veinlet acts like a wall,
preventing growth of the gray leaf spot fungus
except parallel to the leaf veins. However, leaf
sheaths are more fleshy than leaf blades, so the
veinlets in sheaths do not impede growth of the

Figure 3. Typical "match-stick" lesions of gray leaf

spot on corn leaf blades.
small plants or when pest populations are
TOBACCO relatively low. High rates should be used when
pest populations are large or when plants are
Disease Update large. Both of these considerations are very
By Kenny Seebold important, but I think there are a few other
things that also need to be considered.
Blue mold continues to be an issue in CT, NC,
and PA as of July 19, with new reports coming Stage of the pest needs to be considered as well.
in from western NC during this past week. Small, newly hatched larvae are usually easy to
Current forecasts from North Carolina State control requiring a lower dose than larger larvae.
University indicate a low threat to KY and So when an insecticide can be timed to target
surrounding areas from the known sources of newly hatched larvae, then a lower rate can be
disease. This information can be accessed at used. This can be useful when a pest population
http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/pp/bluemold/ and has relatively synchronized egg laying. Squash
then selecting ‘Current Forecast’. It seems that bug and fall armyworm are examples of two
blue mold is beginning to creep westward, and pests where the larger nymphs or larvae can be
may eventually reach the Commonwealth. much more difficult to control than the little
Growers should scout crops regularly, even ones. Because both population size and stage
though we face little risk from blue mold at the are critically important when deciding on
moment, and be prepared to act if the disease is insecticide use rates, it is necessary to scout
found. fields regularly. Catching an infestation at its
inception can save you cost by allowing you to
For recommendations on the control of tobacco use lower insecticide rates!
diseases, please consult past issues of the
Kentucky Pest News, or the Kentucky- As soon as we apply an insecticide the residues
Tennessee Tobacco Production Guide (ID-160), begin to weather and break down as a result or
available at sunlight, rain, temperature, and volitalization.
http://www.ca.uky.edu/agc/pubs/id/id160/id160. Using a higher initial rate can increase the
pdf. effective period of activity. When longer
residual activity is needed, selecting a rate closer
to the maximum labeled rate can be used. A
good example of this is with imidacloprid use at
planting for cucumber beetle control with
VEGETABLES cucurbits. Higher rates can extend the period of
protection. On the other hand, if only a short
Selecting the Correct Insecticide Use Rate period of control is needed, say when the crop is
By Ric Bessin close to harvest, then a lower labeled rate can be
used. Be sure to follow the minimum days to
Some pesticide labels list only a single harvest (PHI) indicated on the label for these pre
application rate per acre which makes rate harvest applications.
selection simple. However, many insecticide
and other pesticide labels provide a wide range Finally, another consideration is the maximum
in application rates with the maximum rate as use rate per season. Most vegetable insecticides
much as three times the low rate. We can never list a maximum total use rate for the entire
exceed the maximum rate listed on the label, but season. A producer may need to adjust the rate
that still leaves an important decision to be of the individual applications so that they can
made. So what should one consider when use multiple applications and stay below the
selecting an insecticide use rate? seasonal use limits.

Some insecticide labels provide some guidance

and state that the low rates should be used on
location, the 3-week period from June 16 - July
SHADE TREES & ORNAMENTALS 8 was dry (only 0.6 inches of rain) and daily
temperatures were very warm (daily highs often
Tulip Poplar Leaves Yellowing in the 90's). Also, during the more than 2 weeks
By John Hartman from May 23 - June 8 less than 0.1 inch of rain
was recorded, but temperatures were more
The Kentucky state tree, tulip poplar moderate. Thus, weather conditions very likely
(Liriodendron tulipifera) a.k.a. yellow poplar have favored the physiological leaf yellowing of
and tulip tree, is often planted in Kentucky tulip poplar being seen now.
landscapes. In recent weeks, interior leaves of
tulip trees in central Kentucky have been turning
yellow (Figure 4) and dropping from the tree
(Figure 5). This phenomenon occurs here most
years following periods of hot, dry weather, Bacterial Leaf Scorch Symptoms Appearing
often in late summer, but well before normal Early
autumn leaf drop. Tulip poplars are said to By John Hartman
prefer a deep, rich, moist soil but a tree often
adapts to temporarily dry soils with summer leaf Bacterial leaf scorch symptoms appeared last
yellowing and drop. week on several tree species in central Kentucky
landscapes (Figures 6-9). Typically, chronically
infected trees start the season with green leaves
which become scorched in early August or late
Figure 4.
July. Early symptom development before mid
Physiological July this year is unusual and likely the result of
yellowing of tulip recent hot, dry weather.
poplar leaves.

Figure 6. Bur oak leaves with scorch symptoms.

Figure 5. Dried up fallen leaves at the

base of a tulip poplar tree in mid-July.

Periodic dry spells with high temperatures have

occurred in Lexington this spring and summer
according to weather records from the airport
and the Mesonet site at the U.K. Horticultural
Research Farm. Depending on weather station

Figure 7. Chronic bacterial leaf scorch over

many years has caused decline and dead
limbs in this bur oak. What few leaves that
are left are scorched or fallen.
sting unless provoked and the females normally
do not defend their burrows. The males, while
incapable of stinging, sometimes dive-bomb
passers-by, or hover menacingly nearby.

Figure 11. Cicada, they prey of the

cicada killer wasp (A. Kinney photo).
Figure 8. Sugar maple with Insecticide treatment may be warranted where
bacterial leaf scorch symptoms.
the soil burrows become unsightly, or the wasps
are digging in a high-traffic area such as along a
sidewalk, playground, or sand trap on a golf
course. Individual burrows can be effectively
sprayed or dusted with most lawn & garden
insecticides (Sevin, Bayer Advanced Lawn &
Garden Multi-Insect Killer, Spectracide
Triazicide Soil & Turf Insect Killer, etc.), or a
wasp & hornet aerosol. Multiple nests may need
to be treated with a broadcast application to the
ground surface, using a pump up or hose-end
Figure 9. Bacterial leaf scorch symptoms on
Ginkgo leaves.

As a deterrent to future nesting, clients should be

advised to eliminate bare-ground areas. Cicada
killers generally do not prefer burrowing into
well-managed turf, gravel, pebbles or mulch. In
situations such as playgrounds, camping areas,
or commercial landscapes, these materials may
be substituted for sand or bare soil. Another
Cicada Killers
option is to wait and do nothing because in a
By Lee Townsend
matter of weeks the adults will die and there is a
chance the problem will not reoccur next year.
Cicada killers are flying about and burrowing
into lawns,
gardens and
play areas,
Early Activity of Gray Leaf Spot of Perennial
many calls
By Paul Vincelli
Figure 10. Cicada killer wasp.
Gray leaf spot of perennial ryegrass was
Despite their
detected last week on fairways in Louisville.
The superintendent reports a level of disease
appearance (up to 2 inches long with rusty red
activity that normally he doesn’t see until mid-
head/thorax, amber-yellow wings, and black and
to late-August. Given warm, humid conditions
yellow striped abdomen), the wasps seldom
that are currently prevalent, golf course
superintendents should scout for gray leaf spot across the ground from mid- to late summer.
activity and consider starting a fungicide Like the Scolia wasp, they are interested in
program soon. This can be a fast-moving and finding prey – larvae of beetles and some other
highly destructive disease. Fungicide options insects that live in the soil. However, the name
are described in the Extension publication, “cow killer” attests to the potency of the sting
“Efficacy of Fungicides for Controlling Gray they can give if disturbed. Their red and black
Leaf Spot of Perennial Ryegrass”, available markings are not an accident. There is no nest
online at and only a few in any specific area so there is
http://www.ca.uky.edu/agcollege/plantpathology nothing to treat or eliminate. It’s best to leave
/ext_files/PPFShtml/PPFS-OR-T-3.pdf. them alone to go about their business.

Other Wasps Patrol Some Lawns
By Lee Townsend Face Fly Control – A Difficult Task
By Lee Townsend
Hundreds of
bluewinged wasps Face flies are hard to control, even under the
(Scolia dubia) best of circumstances. They spend very little
buzzing lazily over time on animals and then visits are mostly
expanses of turf can limited to the face and head- areas that are hard
be a troubling site to treat. Forced use dust bags provide the best
except that these chance for effective control if animals have to
distinctive insects go under them daily for water or mineral. This
Figure 12. Scolia wasp - natural are working hard to
application method has the advantage of getting
enemy of turf white grubs. parasitize as many an insecticide on the area that face flies visit on
white grubs as a regular basis. Even then, control may be less
possible. While packing a stinger, these solitary than ideal. Consider supplementing a pasture fly
hunters pose no threat. They are following their control program with these devices if face fly
own agenda, a tireless search for grubs (green numbers are above what you would like to see.
June beetles, May beetles, etc.) down in the soil
feeding on grass roots.

This wasp has a black head, thorax and wings.

The front of the abdomen is black, the back is DIAGNOSTIC LAB HIGHLIGHTS
dark orange with two distinct yellow bars. By Julie Beale and Paul Bachi
Cruising females will occasionally enter the soil
in search of white grubs, which serve as food for Recent agronomic samples in the PDDL have
the wasp larva. They can be very abundant in included potassium deficiency on corn;
turf where white grubs are numerous; however, Rhizcotonia root rot on soybean; black shank,
the wasps are not aggressive, they are not Fusarium wilt, target spot, frogeye leaf spot,
defending a nest as would social wasps such as angular leaf spot, alfalfa mosaic virus and
yellowjackets and hornets. There is no need for potassium deficiency on tobacco.
On fruit, nut and vegetable samples, we have
Velvet ants are diagnosed crown gall and leaf blight
solitary wasps (Pseudocercospora) on grape; Phytophthora root
that can be found rot on blackberry and raspberry; Phyllosticta leaf
crawling spot, crown gall and Phytophthora root rot on
purposefully blueberry; cedar-apple rust, frogeye leaf spot

Figure 13. Velvet ant with part of

stinger exposed.
and white rot on apple; brown rot and scab on
peach; black knot on plum; Mycosphaerella leaf
spot on walnut; Rhizoctonia root/stem rot, ashy
stem blight, Fusarium stem rot and Cercospora
leaf spot on bean; crazy top on sweet corn;
southern blight on pepper; early blight, southern
blight, Septoria leaf spot, tomato spotted wilt
virus, blossom end rot, catfacing and magnesium
deficiency on tomato; anthracnose on

On ornamentals and turf, we have seen

anthracnose on phlox; bacterial leaf spot on ivy;
Cercospora leaf spot on ginger, hollyhock and
hydrangea; Pythium root rot, Rhizoctonia root
rot and iron deficiency on chrysanthemum;
anthracnose on filbert and maple; black spot and
rosette disease on rose; Rhizosphaera needlecast
on spruce; anthracnose, take-all patch and
copper spot on bentgrass.


July 9-16

Location Princeton, Lexington,

Black cutworm 16 31
Armyworm 63 527
Corn earworm 14 29
European corn 2 1
Southwestern 20 0
corn borer
Fall armyworm 15 0

Graphs of insect trap counts for the 2010 season are

available on the IPM web site at -
View trap counts for Fulton County, Kentucky at -

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