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5 stories on insects and other pests to watch for

Summer is prime time for insects. In this slideshow, we examine some of the pests that may be found on the farm.

John McCurry, Managing Editor

July 9, 2024

5 Slides

With summer now in full swing, insect management is paramount. We’re examining recent trends and advice from experts on how to deal with common and not-so-common pests likely to be found on farms.

This summer has also seen the return of cicadas in a large way. The so-called “cicadapocalypse” has likely come and gone in most regions since they have a short lifespan, but their return after 17 years created considerable conversation earlier this year. Fortunately, they are not harmful to people or pets. Arkansas Extension experts offer their take on the periodical insect.

Species of native stink bugs can be especially troublesome to farmers in the Midsouth. Stinkbugs infested more than 2.1 million acres of soybeans in Mississippi in 2022. The total damage was estimated to be near $80 million. Farmers are advised to start their battle early against this detrimental insect.  Other insects harmful to soybeans include corn earworms and the Southern corn billbug.

To help deal with damaging insects, Mississippi State University’s Extension service offers its Insect Control Guide, which is available in print and online. It features extensive information on a variety of farm pests and how to control them. The research provided by the guide has been a valuable tool for farmers.

Wheat growers in the Delta region are likely encountering Hessian flies, which are relatively small, but can pose a serious threat to crops. Entomologists in the region offer their guidance on how to deal with the insects, which are about half the size of an average mosquito. Planting resistant crops is viewed as the best strategy.

This year, more farmers are also likely to see a relatively new invasive spider. While they are not known to present an issue to crops, large Joro spiders will soon proliferate across the Southeast and no doubt make their presence known on farms This year, states along the upper Atlantic Seaboard may get an introduction to the invasive Asian arachnid, which first became noticeable in some regions of Georgia in 2012.  Some observers say their huge, fishing-line-like webs could pose hazards for pollinators.

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InsectsPest Management

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