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Be Aware of Insects this Season

Be aware of insects this season

Holly Spangler
*This article was taken directly from Prairie Farmer
Japanese beetles on soybean plants
INSECT DAMAGE: Insect scouting is an important management practice to help reduce or prevent damage done to your fields, like these Japanese beetles feeding on soybeans.
Are you scouting often for insects? Here’s how it pays off.

Planting is wrapping up, and now it is time to think about maintaining that crop. Scott Schirmer, state plant regulatory official at the Illinois Department of Agriculture, shares how scouting fields for insects is an important management practice.

“Scouting is one of those tools we have in the Integrated Pest Management toolbox,” Schirmer says. “A lot of what you do afterward as far as management of your crops is going to be dependent upon your scouting.”

Issues with insects are primarily based upon weather conditions and field location, Schirmer says. For example, a cool, wet environment could bring on more fungal pathogens, while a hot spring may result in an early emergence of insect pests.

“There are some pests like European corn borer that we just expect to see every year, but there may be down years and up years for them,” he says. “It is going to be dependent on the environment, weather conditions and development of the plant.”

Schirmer notes that pests become more prevalent at different times, so plan scouting around plant developmental stages to help plan timing of pest control products.

How often you scout your fields can be based upon each field’s condition and your flexibility to complete an observation.

“The more opportunity you have to go look at the field, the more opportunity you have to catch something early,” Schirmer says, adding that tools such as drones can be a way to perform scouting and anticipate pest problems.

Scouting is really about awareness, Schirmer says. Farmers know what their crops should look like during the season. If plants look different, then something is likely going on.