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National Plant Diagnostic Network

Diagnosing Plant Problems: Insects and Other Arthropods

Hodges and Ellis. December 2006.


Update, August 2008.

NPDN Publication No. 0008

MODULE 4 Diagnosing Plant Problems: Insects & Arthropods

Insect Diagnosis
y Focuses on classic, morphology based taxonomy. y Often requires an expert taxonomist for species-level identification. y Limited resources for diagnosticians. y Quality of sample submitted is important!

MODULE 4 Diagnosing Plant Problems: Insects & Arthropods

How is an Insect Identified to Species?


First Detectors (County Extension Agents, Crop Consultants) Extension Diagnostic Specialists (at Land Grant Universities) Taxonomic Specialists (usually federal, state, or university employees) Species Identification Confirmed

MODULE 4 Diagnosing Plant Problems: Insects & Arthropods

Signs and Symptoms of Damage


Over-development of tissues Necrosis of tissue Types of arthropod feeding damage
- Stippling - Chlorosis - Sooty Mold - Leafmining 1 - Leaf Defoliaters - Spider Mites 2 - Borers - Root Damage
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Photo 1: Paul Weston, Cornell University, www.forestryimages.org Photo 2: Jim Occi, BugPics, www.forestryimages.org Photo 3: Petr Kapitola, Forestry and Game Management Research Institute - Czechia, www.forestryimages.org Photo 4: Jerald E. Dewey, USDA Forest Service, www.forestryimages.org

MODULE 4 Diagnosing Plant Problems: Insects & Arthropods

Signs and Symptoms


Over-development of tissues
Eyespot Gall Photo: William M. Ciesla, Forest A mite gall, Health Management International, Aculops laevigata on willow www.forestryimages.org

Some insect and mite species can induce gall formation on a variety of host plant structures. Gall-makers are generally host plant specific.

Gall Mite Damage


Photo: Petr Kapitola, Forestry and Game Management Research Institute - Czechia, www.forestryimages.org

MODULE 4 Diagnosing Plant Problems: Insects & Arthropods

Signs and Symptoms


Over-development of tissues
How do you know if an insect has caused this damage? Closely examine plant deformation. Cut open gall. Exit holes, frass, empty larval chambers, etc. Rear insects to adult stage.

cynipid gall wasps

Photo: Ronald F. Billings, Texas Forest Service, www.forestryimages.org

oriental chestnut gall wasp


Photo: Jerry A. Payne, USDA Agricultural Research Service, www.forestryimages.org

MODULE 4 Diagnosing Plant Problems: Insects & Arthropods

Signs and Symptoms


Over-development of tissues
Can insect or mite galls cause serious damage to host plants? Yes, heavy infestations can negatively effect overall plant health and reduce the aesthetic value of ornamental crops.

ash flower gall mite damage


Photo: A. Steven Munson, USDA Forest Service, www.forestryimages.org

MODULE 4 Diagnosing Plant Problems: Insects & Arthropods

Signs and Symptoms


Over-development of tissues
y Non-insect bacterial and fungal galls may resemble insect galls. Crown gall bacterium causes galls on roots, crowns and stems. Fungi can also form large galls that superficially resemble the crown gall bacterium.

y
bacterial gall on douglas-fir
Photo: USDA Forest Service - Ogden Archives, USDA Forest Service, www.forestryimages.org

MODULE 4 Diagnosing Plant Problems: Insects & Arthropods

Signs and Symptoms


Necrosis of tissue Dieback-insect damage
Feeding damage from several types of insects can lead to limb dieback.
larch casebearer damage

Death of the host may result. p o


Top Photo: Petr Kapitola, Forestry and Game Management Research Institute - Czechia, www.forestryimages.org Bottom Photo: Ronald Billings. Texas Forest Service. http://www.forestryimages.org/.

Loblolly pine killed by southern pine beetle

MODULE 4 Diagnosing Plant Problems: Insects & Arthropods

Signs and Symptoms


Azalea lace bug damage

Types of Insect Feeding Damage


y Insects with piercingsucking mouthparts cause stippling and/or chlorosis on the host. Example groups: aphids, true bugs, hoppers, scale insects, whiteflies, etc.

wax scale

y
Top Photo: Clemson University - USDA Cooperative Extension Slide Series, www.forestryimages.org Bottom Photo: John A. Weidhass, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, www.forestryimages.org

MODULE 4 Diagnosing Plant Problems: Insects & Arthropods

Signs and Symptoms


Types of Insect Feeding Damage
Presence of sooty mold may suggest an infestation of honeydew producing insects such as scales, mealybugs, whiteflies, or aphids. Presence of ants may also be an indicator of these insects!

sooty mold on grand fir

Photo: Scott Tunnock, USDA Forest Service, www.forestryimages.org

MODULE 4 Diagnosing Plant Problems: Insects & Arthropods

Signs and Symptoms


columbine leafminer

Types of Insect Feeding Damage Leafmining


Insects that produce characteristic mines in leaves by feeding. Formed by various insects including flies, wasps, moths, and beetles.

Top Photo: Lisa Ames, UGA, www.forestryimages.org

Aspen blotchminer

Bottom Photo: Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Archives, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. http://www.forestryimages.org/

MODULE 4 Diagnosing Plant Problems: Insects & Arthropods

Signs and Symptoms


oak skeletonizer

Types of Insect Feeding Damage Leaf Defoliaters


Damage caused to a plant by insect feeding.
Top Photo: James Solomon, USDA Forest Service, www.forestryimages.org

Skeletonizing results when the veins or the skeleton of the leaf is left behind.

maple trumpet skeletonizer

Bottom Photo: E. Bradford Walker, Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation, www.forestryimages.org

MODULE 4 Diagnosing Plant Problems: Insects & Arthropods

Signs and Symptoms


Types of Arthropod Feeding Damage Spider Mites

gorse spider Photo: Eric Coombs, Oregon Department of Agriculture, www.forestryimages.org mite damage

twospotted spider mite

Photo: Mississippi State University Archives, Mississippi State University, www.forestryimages.org

Leaf damage includes flecking, bronzing, and/or scorching of leaves. Several natural enemies. Most problematic in heavy insecticide use areas.

MODULE 4 Diagnosing Plant Problems: Insects & Arthropods

Signs and Symptoms


Types of Insect Feeding Damage Borers
Insects that bore into a host trunk, stem, or twig as part of their life cycle. Damage often results in weakening or killing the host.
A Lepidopteran stalk borer, Papaipema nebris, in silver maple
Photo: James Solomon. USDA Forest Service. http://www.forestryimages.org/

MODULE 4 Diagnosing Plant Problems: Insects & Arthropods

Signs and Symptoms


Types of Insect Feeding Damage Roots Dont forget to look for potential insect damage on roots!

Aspen root girdler

Top Photo: Ostry, Mike. USDA Forest Service. http://www.forestryimages.org/

Scarab beetle larval feeding damage on root system of pine

Bottom Photo: Robert L. Anderson, USDA Forest Service, www.forestryimages.org

MODULE 4 Diagnosing Plant Problems: Insects & Arthropods

Insect Identification
Know Common Pest Arthropod Groups!
Numerous lepidopteran caterpillars (ex. armyworms, cutworms) Beetles (Order Coleoptera): numerous leaffeeding and wood-boring pests Sawflies (Order Hymenoptera) Various flies (Order Diptera) Various insects with piercing-sucking mouthparts including scales, mealybugs, whiteflies, aphids, psyllids, hoppers, various other members of the Order Hemiptera. Spider Mites

MODULE 4 Diagnosing Plant Problems: Insects & Arthropods

Insect Identification
Pest - southern green stink bug

Know the difference between pests and beneficials! There are several predatory or parasitic beneficial insects!

Beneficial-a predatory stink bug

Top Photo: David Cappaert, www.forestryimages.org Bottom Photo: Lawrence Abrahamson, State University of New York, www.forestryimages.org

MODULE 4 Diagnosing Plant Problems: Insects & Arthropods

Authors
Amanda C. Hodges, Ph.D., achodges@ufl.edu SPDN Assistant Director, University of Florida

Amanda M. Ellis, ellisam@ufl.edu, University of Florida, SPDN

MODULE 4 Diagnosing Plant Problems: Insects & Arthropods

Publication Details
This publication can be used for non-profit, educational use only purposes. Photographers retain copyright to photographs or other images contained in this publication as cited. This material was developed as a core training module for NPDN First Detector Training. Authors and the website should be properly cited. Images or photographs should also be properly cited and credited to the original source. Publication Number: 0008 Publication Date: December 2006

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