By Clint Thompson
Hot summertime weather conditions can fuel insect pressure. That is exactly the case in Alabama where multiple species are present and could pose a problem for specialty crop producers.
Ayanava Majumdar, Extension professor in entomology and plant pathology at Auburn University, highlights the pests that growers need to be mindful of.
“The armyworm pressure is consistent. We have beet armyworms that are pretty heavy. Fall armyworms are still lagging behind this year. Last year if you remember, fall armyworms were way ahead, like five times more pressure. Everyone was complaining, from hay producers to vegetable farmers to row crop guys. This year beet armyworms are ahead, and it continues to be so. Southern armyworms, which are also a pretty major species that’s common, they have caught up as well,” Majumdar said.
“The one that is really going up are the loopers. The soybean and cabbage loopers are catching up now. As some of the crop harvest begins, we may see more migration of the insects from the (row) crops that are going to get harvested and into vegetables. With multiple generations and harvesting that might be starting, farmers should be very alert on these moth pests, especially the loopers. The loopers, especially the cabbage loopers, are going to stay with us through winter.”
Loopers feed on brassica crops.
“The loopers will be here a while,” he added.
Majumdar noted there were not many aphids on tomatoes this year. Leaf-footed bugs and stink bugs are also present.