Wednesday, June 29, 2011

New Pests: Spotted Wing Drosophila and Kudzu Bug

There are two new insect pests that growers need to be aware of, spotted wing drosophila and the kudzu bug.

Spotted wing drosophila (SWD) is an invasive fruit fly pest of soft-skinned fruit (strawberry, blueberry, blackberry, raspberry, etc.). SWD was first observed in California in 2008 and then identified in 2009. In 2010, Dr. Hannah Burrack of NC State began an intensive monitoring plan for SWD in the Southeast. SWD was captured in NC and SC late 2010. SWD gets its name because the males have two spots on the end of their wings (one on each). Female SWD do not have spotted wings, but do have a serrated oviposter. This serrated oviposter allows the female to lay eggs in sound fruit, unlike common fruit flies which prefer decaying fruit. Because of this, SWD has potential to be an economically limiting crop.

SWD trapping is well underway throughout NC, in fact SWD was captured in Henderson County in mid-June. Small fruits producers are encouraged to start a monitoring program. Dr. Burrack explains how to construct and monitor SWD traps and how to identify them.

For treatment considerations, visit Dr. Burrack's post What to watch for: When treating SWD.

To read more about SWD or to view images, please visit Dr. Burrack's SWD page on her NC Small Fruits, Specialty Crops and Tobacco IPM blog.

If you would like assistance with monitoring, please contact me at or your local extension office.

Kudzu bug (adult) on soybean leaf.

Multiple kudzu bugs (adults) on soybean stem.

The next pest is the kudzu bug. This pest prefers legume crops, especially soybeans, but has also been observed feeding on potatoes, cotton and wheat. The kudzu bug was confirmed in central Georgia in 2009 and then spread throughout the state and to neighboring states in 2010. This pest has been identified in many NC counties, including Buncombe and Henderson Counties on soybeans. This pest isn't thought to be a problem on most vegetables, but those who grow edamame soybeans or potatoes should be concerned. The kudzu bug is a stem and leaf feeder, so far there have been no reports of the kudzu bug feeding on blooms or pods.

Based on Georgia data the economic threshold is one bug per sweep with large nymphs present, or three bugs per plant with large nymphs present. This pest is very mobile and will re-invade after treatment, so capturing or observing nymphs is important. According to the latest edition of NC Pest News, killing this pest has been relatively easy with conventional insecticides except the neonicotinoids (kudzu bug seem to be attracted to areas that have been treated with neonicotinoids). For organic producers, PyGanic is recommended. Other options are options are azadirachtin (Azagard) or kaolin clay (Surround), but the efficacy of these products is unknown.

To read more about the pest, see more pictures and a map of kudzu bugs movement in the southeastern US, see the June 24th of NC Pest News.

Pest News June 24

The latest edition of the NC Pest News is now available.

In this latest edition:
  1. Cucurbit downy mildew recommendations for 2011
  2. Cucurbit powdery mildew recommendations fro 2011
Cucurbit downy mildew has been found in NC in more eastern counties. It has not been found in WNC, yet. We are actively scouting as afternoon thundershowers and storms from the south could provide inoculum and suitable conditions for disease development. There have been no forecasts on the Cucurbit Downy Mildew Forecasting Website for disease development in our area. However, if you think you have this disease, please visit your local extension office for confirmation.

Downy mildew symptoms on cucumber leaf.

Downy mildew sporulation on the underside of a cucumber leaf.

The fungus that causes cucurbit powdery mildew is a very different pathogen than the water mold pathogen that causes cucurbit downy mildew. Cucurbit powdery mildew likes warm, humid conditions (the humidity within a plant canopy provides ideal conditions). The pathogen does not like wet conditions, but water will spread the pathogen spores to other plants.

Powdery mildew on a squash leaf.

Powdery mildew on the stem of a squash plant.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Fumigation Workshop, Fit-Testing June 20th

Big changes are coming for fumigant application. These changes affect not only strawberry growers, but producers of other fruits and vegetables. As a result, ALL GROWERS that may be affected by the changes in fumigant application are invited to the 2011 Strawberry Pre-Plant Meeting sponosored by The NC Strawberry Growers Association and NC Cooperative Extension.

Prior to the meeting we will be offering respirator fit-testing and medical clearance at a very reduced price for NC residents. Click here for more information. Don't miss this opportunity to save money and get up-to-date!

Individuals interested in this opportunity MUST have medical clearance for respirators from their physician or complete the questionnaire (see flier for more information).

Fit-Testing will be scheduled throughout the afternoon. You MUST make an appointment with Robin Tutor at 919.880.4225 or or Barb Gallagher at 910.567.7159 or

Where?: The fumigation workshop and fit-testing will take place at the Mountain Horticultural Crops Reserach and Extension Center located at 455 Research Dr. Mills River, NC

What time?:
Fit-testing will be scheduled thorughout the afternoon on a first-come, fisrt-served basis. See above on how to schedule your appointiment.

6 pm Dinner sponsored by Crop Production Services Group discussion on concerns about fumigation

Gwen Minton from the NCDA&CS will guide us through Fumigant Management Plans.

Please RSVP to the Henderson County Cooperative Extension Office by June 16 to let us know you are coming for dinner. 828.697.4891

Monday, June 6, 2011

NC Value-Added Cost Share Now Accepting Applications

The North Carolina Value-Added Cost Share (NCVACS) program, administered by N.C. MarketReady, is now accepting applications for the 2011 Equipment cost share funding cycle. This program is funded by the N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission to support the development of North Carolina value-added agricultural operations. Please see the attached news release and two profiles of past NCVACS Equipment Award recipients and share with producers and processors in your areas who may be interested in applying.

Applications for NCVACS 2011 Equipment Cost Share are now available online at Applications are due by August 31, 2011. Guidelines and a list of frequently asked questions can be found on the website. Award recipients will be notified by October 1, 2011.

NCVACS is coordinated by N.C. MarketReady, the Cooperative Extension outreach of the N.C. State University Plants for Human Health Institute, located at the N.C. Research Campus. Funded by the N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission, the cost share program was launched in 2009 and has provided over $696,000 in direct cost share assistance to value-added producers and processors throughout North Carolina. Learn more at

Friday, June 3, 2011

NC Pest News for June 3

Squash bug adults feeding on the stem of squash. Squash bugs love to hide below plastic!

Squash bug nymphs just hatched from bronze eggs.

This week's issue of NC Pest News is now available. It includes a review of strawberry disease issues from 2011 and the vegetable insect update. The insect update discusses the pest in the photo above, the squash bug. We have been seeing many squash bugs in WNC as of late, as well as cucumber beetles, a few stink bugs and thrips.

You can receive vegetable pest updates from North Carolina State University via Facebook (NCSU Vegetable Entomology) and Twitter (ncsuveg).

Check out these cucumber beetles feeding on summer squash! (below).

To view past issues of NC Pest News click here.

Organic Certification Information Session June 30

From our friends at Blue Ridge Food Ventures:

Interested in information about getting your product or farm organically certified? Brad Stancil, from Clemson University will take you through what is required for certification. The training can be applied across all facets of organic certification. So anyone from a vegetable grower to an egg producer to a salsa maker can get the information they will need to become certified organic. Hope to see you there!

Clemson University's Department of Plant Industry is a USDA approved Accredited Certifying Agent. This accreditation allows DPI (Department of Plant Industry) to certify organic operations in the three major categories of certification. Those three categories are crops, livestock and processing. The USDA's NOP (National Organic Program) Accreditation also allows DPI to certify operations anywhere in the world.

When: June 30, 2011, 6 - 8 pm

Where: AB-Tech, Enka Campus. Small Business Center. 1465 Sand Hill Rd. Candler, NC 28715

For more information and to register:

Cost-Share for On-Farm Food Safety

RALEIGH -- Fruit and vegetable farmers can apply for two cost-share grants offered through the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to assist with the costs for water analysis and independent certification of an operation’s good agricultural practices.

“Both of these grants help farmers with their on-farm food safety efforts, which are critical to marketing their farm products,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “I am glad we were able to secure these USDA funds to assist our growers. Farmers can apply for both grants, which will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.”

This is the third year for the Water Analysis Cost Share grant program, which will reimburse growers up to $200 for certified laboratory analysis of irrigation and/or packing house wash water for the presence of generic E.coli bacteria. Growers can be reimbursed for one water test or multiple tests throughout the year.

For more information or to obtain an application for the Water Analysis Cost Share program, go to, or contact Kevin Hardison at (919) 707-3123, or

The department has previously offered the Good Agricultural Practices Certification Assistance Program, which covers up to $600 for independent audits of a farm’s GAP or good handling practices.

To be eligible, growers must have a third-party audit from an approved government agency or company that verifies GAP or GHP efforts, the audit must be conducted in 2011 and the grower must submit an application to participate in the program prior to the audit. The audit can be for farm review, field harvest and field packing activities, packing house facility, storage and transportation, and traceback.

For more information or to obtain an application for the GAP Certification Assistance Program, go to, or contact Shirley Nicholson at (919) 707-3126, or

“Food safety is important at every level of the food chain,” Troxler said. “Produce buyers are demanding assurances from growers that their produce is safe. It’s going to become more difficult for farmers to market their fruits and vegetables if they don’t have a program in place to make sure their produce is free of contamination.”

Funding for both NCDA&CS-managed grants comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.