Arizona Crop Information Site logo
University of Arizona
Vegetable IPM Updates Archive
Cooperative Extension
Insect Pressure of Fall Produce Crops (October 28, 2015)
Seems like each year about this time we begin to think how unusual this produce season is compared to previous years. Of course, every season is different. That’s the complicated nature of farming and pest management; so many factors (some explained and many unexplained) influence plant growth and insect pest activity and abundance. I thought I’d share some of my recent observations of “unusual” insect activity from research plots at the Yuma Ag Center (YAC), local commercial fields and conversations with PCAs. Whitefly populations were the lightest we’ve seen in years, but have been heavy in a few small areas. Many, like myself, believe this is due to the lower cotton acreage this summer, but there could be other factors as well. Beet armyworm pressure remains steady, but seems much lower than what I usually see this time of the year. Cabbage looper numbers have been considerably lower from what we typically see in lettuce and cole crops in October. There numbers seem to be increasing now. Corn earworm larvae populations appear to be about normal relative to the past 3 or 4 years. So far, I have not had any complaints in regards to controlling these worm pests, and all the standard Lep materials are performing up to par in my efficacy trials. In contrast, diamondback moth larvae are very abundant in my broccoli trials. They showed up earlier and in higher numbers than I typically see this time of the year. Not sure why? Good news is, they remain easy to kill with standard materials. Another interesting pest showing up is the Hawaiian beet webworm. They were very abundant last year and PCAs have been sending me images from this season (see image below). The larvae prefer spinach and beets and can cause damage if left untreated. Again, easy to control. Western flower thrips are on the increase, consistent with the warm weather. Adult and immatures are increasing on my lettuce plots, and several PCAs have mentioned that they are quite abundant. Have also had some reports of cowpea aphids showing up in lettuce. Experience has shown us that cowpea aphid will begin to colonize lettuce about this time of the year, but never seems to amount to much and colonies disappear when it gets colder. If the weather breaks in the next week or so as anticipated, worm and thrips pressure should slow down considerably. However, given our current and predicted El Nino weather pattern, all bets are off. So, have your weather reports handy, and keep your eyes open for the unexpected. Remember: When in Doubt-Scout.


Remember, When in Doubt . . . . . “SCOUT”

Click picture to listen to John’s update video link

To contact John Palumbo go to:


For questions or comments on any of the topics please contact Marco Pena at the Yuma Agricultural Center.
College of Agriculture, The University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ.

Home | Cotton | Veggies | Forages | Grains | Citrus | Crop x Crop
Insects | Diseases| Weeds | Pesticides | Economics | News | Weather | Research | Photos | Contacts | General Info.

Copyright © 2001 University of Arizona,
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Webmaster: Al Fournier (