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Vegetable IPM Updates Archive
Cooperative Extension
Insect Pests during Stand Establishment on Fall Crops (August 17, 2016)
Desert growers have begun planting fall melons and transplanting cole crops, while direct seeding of produce crops is just a couple of week away. Accordingly, PCAs and growers will soon be faced with a number of important insect management issues. As crops begin to emerge, they can expect to encounter a number of insect pests that have the potential to cause serious economic losses to crop stands. These include flea beetles, crickets (sometimes grasshoppers), darkling and rove beetles, and saltmarsh caterpillars (‘woolly worms’). These insects all have chewing mouthparts and most are capable of consuming large amounts of leaf tissue in a short period of time. Seedling crops at the cotyledon stage are most susceptible; these pests can devour entire cotyledons or outright kill small seedlings. If left unprotected, larger seedling plants (1-2 leaf stage) can sustain significant feeding damage on the terminal growing points or newly emerged leaves. Not only can this feeding stunt plant growth, but can result in lack of stand uniformity and ultimately, maturity at harvest. Host crop sources of flea beetle, cricket and "woolly worm" infestations include numerous summer crops (e.g., sudan grass, cotton and alfalfa) and weeds (e.g., purslane). We are currently noticing high numbers of flea beetles and crickets at the Yuma Ag Center on sudan grass and weeds. Salt caterpillars have not been detected, but are known to disperse from alfalfa and pima cotton. Experience indicates that melon fields planted adjacent to these crops/weedy areas are at a high risk from these seedling pests, particularly flea beetles. As summer crops are harvested or terminated during the next several weeks, these seedling pests typically move to the next available host crop; lettuce, cole crops and melons. Fortunately, there are many registered insecticide alternatives available that can be applied via sprinkler chemigation (i.e., pyrethroids) or foliar sprays (i.e., methomyl, neonicotinoids) that can cost-effectively minimize their abundance and damage to emerging produce and melon crops. Additionally, seed treatments are available for lettuce and cole crops that will protect stands from flea beetles. For more information on insect pests of leafy vegetables and melons at stand establishment please see Insect Management on Desert Produce and Melons: Pests at Stand Establishment.



Name the insect pest that caused the damage to this cantaloupe leaf. - Looper Damage

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