Insect Pressure in Alabama Concerning for Producers

Clint Thompson Alabama, Pests, Top Posts

Insect pressure is high right now throughout Alabama. Ayanava Majumdar, an Auburn Extension Professor in Entomology and Plant Pathology, wants producers to be aware of the difference between squash vine borer larvae and pickleworm larvae. Complaints have increased significantly for both insects.

Squash vine borer larvae are found inside hollow stems at the soil surface. Eventually, they pupate in the ground. Squash vine borer larvae are creamish in color and plump. They spend their entire time in the stem tunnels filling them up with a profuse amount of excreta. Vines that are infested with the squash vine borers will suddenly droop in dry weather conditions, which leads to yield loss.

Pickleworm larvae are found in flowers, fruits and upper stems. Larvae have spots when they are small, and the large ones eventually pupate in leaf fold.

Other IPM observations:

  • Insects on the rapid rise: Fall Armyworm, Corn earworm, and Soybean Looper, Squash Vine Borer (cucurbit vegetables). Moth numbers have increase 1.5 to 2 times for these species.
  • This is one of the lightest years for tobacco budworm on row crops in recent years, whereas we have experienced very high levels of corn earworm moth activity and larval numbers in vegetable crops in Alabama.