By Kelley Tilmon, Mark Sulc, Andy Michel, James Morris – OSU Extension
We have received an unusual number of reports about fall armyworm outbreaks particularly in forage including alfalfa and sorghum sudangrass, and in turf. Certain hard-hit fields have been all but stripped bare (Figure 1). Armyworm is not typically a problem in Ohio in late summer, so we encourage farmers to be aware of feeding damage in their fields. Armyworms are much easier to kill when they are smaller, and feeding accelerates rapidly as they grow, so early detection is important. Look for egg masses glued not only to vegetation but to structures like fence posts. Egg masses have a fluffy-looking cover (Figure 2). When the cover is peeled back, eggs are pearly and tan when new, and turn darker as they approach egg-hatch. Continue reading
By Curtis Young OSU Extension
Crane flies (a.k.a. daddy longlegs and mosquito hawks) belong to the insect Order Diptera (the true flies) in the Family Tipulidae. There are some 15,000 species of crane fly throughout the world. Crane flies and mosquitoes belong to a common subgroup of the flies and crane flies do look superficially like giant mosquitoes. Crane flies fortunately do not possess the mosquito piercing/sucking mouthparts for taking a blood meal. Therefore, they do not bite other animals for blood. Some adult crane flies do not eat in their short life span or feed on liquids from plants. Adults live for upwards of 10-14 days.
The larvae of crane flies are maggots called leatherjackets because of their tough, leathery outer covering (exoskeleton). Depending on the species of crane fly, the larvae may be aquatic, semi-aquatic or terrestrial living in soils that are high in organic matter and relatively moist for most of the year. Some species can attack living plants eating root hairs, small roots, outer coverings of roots and stems, and occasionally eating leaves such as grass blades. Continue reading