Monday, June 24, 2013

Pest Alerts for Week of June 24th

Fruit and Vegetable Pest Problems 

Hello Fruit and Vegetable Growers

There are a number of pest problems showing up that you may want to keep you eyes open for and treat.  If you are in doubt or need assistance please feel free to call your local Cooperative Extension office.

Those we have seen or are getting alerts for are included below:

From: Lina Quesada-Ocampo, Extension Plant Pathologist

Potato Late Blight Alert

Late blight was found on tomatoes on the Eastern shore of Virginia on June 20, 2013. Also, the Plant Disease and Insect Clinic ( at North Carolina State University also received pictures of a potato sample from Watauga County, North Carolina that appears to be infected with late blight. However, this is an unconfirmed report and we are waiting for a physical sample to verify. Potato and tomato are susceptible to this disease, and can be significantly defoliated within days if environmental conditions favor the pathogen.

Active scouting and immediate action to protect potato crops in North Carolina from late blight is recommended, since we have been experiencing wet and cool weather that is conducive to disease. For more information about potato late blight and how to control it see factsheets in English and Spanish ( produced by Dr. Lina Quesada-Ocampo ( at Department of Plant Pathology ( Control recommendations are also available in the USAblight website (, where you can also register to receive text and/or e-mail alerts when new disease outbreaks are reported.

For tomato late blight information and control recommendations, please refer to the alert released by Dr. Kelly Ivors ( and the related factsheet for tomato late blight (

If you think you have late blight in your potatoes please contact your local Extension agent ( and send photos and/or physical samples to the Plant Disease and Insect Clinic. If late blight is confirmed in your samples by an expert, please send a report at the USAblight website to alert other growers.

Control strategies are provided in the factsheets for commercial growers. Homeowners can use gardening fungicides that contain chlorothalonil as an active ingredient. Organic growers can use copper-based products to slow down disease progression.

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for more veggie disease alerts ( and

From: Kelly Ivors, Extension Plant Pathologist

Tomato Late Blight Alert

Late blight of tomato, caused by Phytophthora infestans, is knocking on the doors of our state border. On Thursday, June 20, 2013, the clinic received pictures from an Extension agent of what appears to be classic symptoms of late blight on potato from Watauga County, North Carolina. The clinic has yet to receive a physical sample for confirmation. Given the fact that this disease has been confirmed in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee and possibly Kentucky, in addition to the recent wet and cool weather that is conducive for the pathogen’s growth and spread, we are concerned the disease will be soon arriving to North Carolina, if it’s not already here.

Without proper preventative measures, late blight can completely defoliate and destroy a crop within one to two weeks. The disease can be severe on tomatoes grown in the mountains of North Carolina, as well as in late plantings in the piedmont.

For more information about tomato late blight and how to control it see a tomato late blight factsheet produced by Dr. Kelly Ivors at the Department of Plant Pathology. Control recommendations are also available in the USAblight website, where you can also register to receive text and/or email alerts when new disease outbreaks are reported.

For potato late blight information and control recomendations please refer to the alert ( released by Dr. Lina Quesada-Ocampo and the related factsheets in English and Spanish.

Japanese Beetles Adults

We have a couple reports from around North Carolina and even reports that they are emerging in Maryland. So I guess they are trickling out, but populations seem to have gotten lower and lower in the past several years. For three years in a row we have had severe droughts during the time Japanese beetles are ovipositing. They need moist soil so their eggs do not dehydrate and so tiny young larvae can borrow into the soil. Droughts have restricted successful reproduction to only well irrigated areas. 

So keep an eye out and remember a few key things. Japanese beetle traps do not offer any protection to landscape plants, or cane berries and may actually attract more beetles on to your property so hang them in your neighbor’s yard. Likewise, treating a lawn for Japanese beetles grubs will not reduce defoliation of plants on that property since beetles fly in from great distances.  These pest are feeding aggressively in areas of ornamental plantings as well as cane berries and grapes.  Application of Bifentrhrin (Capture), Carbaryl (Sevin) or Azadirectin (Aza-Direct)  may be warranted if  you have an infestation.  

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