Solar Panels on a Barn Roof

The Monday July 22 Greene Co. Farm Forum meeting features an on-site chance to see the impact of the 42 solar panels Paul Ayres had installed on the roof of one of his barns. The panels went into service in March of this year. His June electric bill for his farm was around $8. The excess electricity his panels produce during the year will go into the grid through DP&L.

The Monday July 22 program will start at 6:30 p.m. with a meal and will be held at Union United Methodist Church located at 1145 Union Road, Xenia. The meal cost is $12/person and will be served prior to the meeting which will start around 7:15 p.m. followed by the tour of Paul & Ana’s farm on Union Road. Please RSVP Paul Ayres by Friday July 19 if you intend to have dinner.  No reservations are necessary if you just wish to attend the meeting. For reservations contact Paul Ayres at 937-352-6379 or email Paul at payres1@woh.rr.com. Program is open to the public.

CORN Newsletter

Corn Newsletter July 16, 2019 – July 22, 2019
Editor: Amanda Bennett

Another hot week…

Author: Jim Noel

…Another hot week before a trend toward normal…

Use More Caution this Year to Reduce Spray Drift

Author: Erdal Ozkan

Spray drift not only results in wasting expensive pesticides and pollution of the environment, it may damage non-target crops nearby, and poses a serious health risk to people living in areas where drift is occurring. Drift happens!

Two New Soil Fertility Factsheets Now Available

Author: Steve Culman

Two new factsheets summarizing key components of the work to update the Tri-State Fertilizer Recommendations are now available. Updated Grain Nutrient Removal Rates

Respiratory Alert – Wheat harvest may expose farmers to vomitoxin and other moldy conditions in the grain dust

Authors: Dee Jepsen, Pierce Paul

This year, due of the wet conditions we experienced during the spring, Fusarium head blight, also known as head scab, developed in a few localized areas of the state.

Reminder – Western ARS Agronomy Field Day, Wednesday July 17th

Author: Harold Watters, CPAg/CCA

The Western Agricultural Research Station Agronomy Field Day will be held July 17th. Hear our researchers thoughts and recommendations on how to manage this interesting season. We will have the field day – rain or shine.

Staging corn development in 2019

Author: Peter Thomison

Corn development varies tremendously across Ohio because of planting dates that range from late April to early July. Some corn is tasseling and silking but in many counties, corn stages range from V7-V12.

Thinking about Cover Crops…… thoughts to consider

Authors: Sarah Noggle, Alan Sundermeier, CCA

Decisions, decisions these days.  When it comes to selecting the right cover crop for your farm, there is no one-size-fits-all option.

Ohio Manure Science Review 2019

Authors: Glen Arnold, CCA, Chris Zoller

The 2019 Ohio Manure Science Review is scheduled for Wednesday, August 7 at JIMITA Holsteins, a 400-plus-acre family dairy farm at 9877 Strasburg Bolivar Road NW in Strasburg Ohio. Strasburg is about 20 miles south of Canton, Tuscarawas County, in Northeast Ohio.

The Ohio Noxious Weed Law – A Tool in the Prevention of Waterhemp and Palmer Amaranth

Author: Mark Loux

Waterhemp and Palmer amaranth are both now listed on the Ohio noxious weed law, which means that landowners must take steps to control infestations and prevent further spread.  Since these are annual weeds, preventing spread is achieved by preventing plants from reaching maturity and producing se

Western Bean Cutworm: Numbers Starting to Increase

Authors: Amy Raudenbush, Kimberley Gault, Mark Badertscher, Lee Beers, CCA, Bruce Clevenger, CCA, Sam Custer, Tom Dehaas, Allen Gahler, Jason Hartschuh, CCA, Andrew Holden, Stephanie Karhoff, Ed Lentz, CCA, Rory Lewandowski, CCA, David Marrison, KJ Martin, Cecelia Lokai-Minnich, Les Ober, CCA, Eric Richer, CCA, Kaitlin Ruetz, Garth Ruff, Mike Sunderman, Jeff Stachler, Alan Sundermeier, CCA, Curtis Young, CCA, Chris Zoller, Andy Michel, Kelley Tilmon

Week three of The Ohio State University Western bean cutworm (WBC) monitoring network has resulted in an increase of moths captured. Last week’s trap count included WBC adults captured from July 8 – July 13. A total of 24 counties monitored 75 traps across Ohio.

“Working Lands” Forage Field Days Planned

Author: Garth Ruff

The Ohio Department of Agriculture Working Lands Buffer Program allows for forage to be grown and harvested from field edge buffers in the Western Lake Erie Basin.

Upcoming Events

07/17
Western ARS Agronomy Field Day
07/17
Field to Lake Field Day
07/18
CLIMATE SMART: Farming with Weather Extremes
08/21
Agronomy Field Day (Mt. Gilead)
08/27
Precision Ag Day: Sprayer Technology (Urbana)
About C.O.R.N. NewsletterC.O.R.N. Newsletter is a summary of crop observations, related information, and appropriate recommendations for Ohio crop producers and industry. C.O.R.N. Newsletter is produced by the Ohio State University Extension Agronomy Team, state specialists at The Ohio State University and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC). C.O.R.N. Newsletter questions are directed to Extension and OARDC state specialists and associates at Ohio State.
CONTRIBUTORS:
Glen Arnold, CCA
Field Specialist, Manure Nutrient Management
Mark Badertscher
Hardin County
Lee Beers, CCA
Trumbull County
Bruce Clevenger, CCA
Defiance County
Sam Custer
Darke County
Ken Ford
Fayette County
Will Hamman
Extension Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources
Jason Hartschuh, CCA
Crawford County
Elizabeth Hawkins
Field Specialist, Agronomic Systems
Andrew Holden
Ashtabula County
Stephanie Karhoff
Williams County
Greg LaBarge, CPAg/CCA
Field Specialist, Agronomic Systems
Rory Lewandowski, CCA
Wayne County
Laura Lindsey
State Specialist, Soybean and Small Grains
Mark Loux
State Specialist, Weed Science
David Marrison
Sarah Noggle
Paulding County
Les Ober, CCA
Geauga County
Pierce Paul
State Specialist, Corn and Wheat Diseases
Eric Richer, CCA
Fulton County
Dennis Riethman
Mercer County
Garth Ruff
Henry County
Clint Schroeder
Allen County
Jeff Stachler
Auglaize County
Mark Sulc
State Specialist, Forage Production
Alan Sundermeier, CCA
Wood County
Peter Thomison
State Specialist, Corn Production
Harold Watters, CPAg/CCA
Field Specialist, Agronomic Systems
Aaron Wilson
Byrd Polar & Climate Research Center
Chris Zoller
Tuscarawas County
The information presented here, along with any trade names used, is supplied with the understanding that no discrimination is intended and no endorsement is made by Ohio State University Extension is implied. Although every attempt is made to produce information that is complete, timely, and accurate, the pesticide user bears responsibility of consulting the pesticide label and adhering to those directions.

CFAES provides research and related educational programs to clientele on a nondiscriminatory basis. For more information, visitcfaesdiversity.osu.edu. For an accessible format of this publication, visit cfaes.osu.edu/accessibility.

CLIMATE SMART: Farming with Weather Extremes

Thursday July 18, 2019: The Ohio State University Extension and the State Climate Office of Ohio will be hosting CLIMATE SMART: Farming with Weather Extremes, to be held at Der Dutchman in Plain City, Ohio.

Agenda is as follows:
8:30 – Registration & Continental Breakfast
9:15 – Welcome
9:20 – Ohio’s Changing Climate (Aaron Wilson)
10:10 – Water Management (Jeff Hattey)
11:00 – Break
11:10 – Price and Production Risk (Ben Brown)
12:00 – Lunch, Networking, & Vendors
1:00 – Keynote: Nebraska Flooding Spring 2019 (Tyler Williams)
2:00 – Panel Discussion (Fred Yoder, Paul Pullins, Corey Hendricks, Liza and Bennett Musselman)
2:55 – Program Close and Evaluation

For more details on how you can be a vendor at the event, please contact Amanda Douridas (douridas.9@osu.edu; 937-484-1526) or Aaron Wilson (wilson.1010@osu.edu; 614-292-7930).

https://agcrops.osu.edu/events/climate-smart-farming-weather-extremes

Solar Leasing 101 – last chance to register

Join OSU Extension Greene County on Monday, July 15 for a Solar Leasing 101 Workshop. The program will discuss topics such as if a solar lease agreement is right for your farm? Speakers will feature OSU Extension Specialists: Peggy Kirk Hall and Eric Romich. The program is designed to be an informational program about leasing farmland for utility-scale solar production. Topics include solar development trends, converting farmland to solar production, and key considerations. View the flyer at: Solar Leasing 101 Flyer. Registration is free, but an RSVP is mandatory. The program will be held at the Extension office in Xenia on the fairgrounds from 2 to 5 p.m. on July 15. Call the OSU Extension Greene County office to register at 937-372-9971 ext. 114 or email corboy.3@osu.edu. Questions may be directed to OSU Extension Greene County, Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator, Trevor Corboy at the above phone number and email.

CORN Newsletter

Corn Newsletter July 9, 2019 – July 15, 2019
Editor: Amanda Bennett

Drier Week Ahead with Excessive Heat Possible Next Week

Author: Aaron Wilson

This past week featured a very summer-like pattern, with average temperatures running 2 to 8 degrees Fahrenheit above average and isolated but locally heavy thunderstorm activity.

Problems in Soybean Fields

Author: Anne Dorrance

We have multiple planting dates in Ohio this year with soybeans in all different growth stages.  Management decisions are based on the stage of crop development.

Considerations for Using Soybeans as a Cover Crop

Author: Laura Lindsey

From the USDA RMA website (https://www.rma.usda.gov/News-Room/Frequently-Asked-Questions/Prevented-…):

Kudzu Bug Monitoring Summary

Authors: Amy Raudenbush, Ed Brown, Chris Bruynis, Mary Griffith, Marcus McCartney, Andy Michel, Kelley Tilmon

 

Noxious Weeds in Cover Crop Seed and Seed Germination

Authors: Alexander Lindsey, Laura Lindsey, Mark Loux, Anne Dorrance, Stan Smith, John Armstrong

Seed quality is key to establishing a good crop (or cover crop). Some of the critical components of seed quality are percent germination, mechanical analysis for purity (% other crops, % inert, and % weeds), and a listing of noxious weeds identified by scientific/common name and quantity found.

What is the Nutrient Value of Wheat Straw?

Authors: Laura Lindsey, Ed Lentz, CCA

Wheat harvest is now underway. What is the nutrient value of the straw?

Hay and Straw Barn Fires a Real Danger

Authors: Jason Hartschuh, CCA, Mark Sulc, Sarah Noggle, David Dugan, Dee Jepsen

Usually, we think of water and moisture as a way to put a fire out, but the opposite is true with hay and straw, which when too wet can heat and spontaneously combust. Most years this is more common with hay than straw because there is more plant cell respiration in the hay.

2019 Agriculture Challenges FAQ Webpage Now Live

Author: Elizabeth Hawkins

The unrelenting rains this spring and summer have created many challenges that the farming community is now sorting through. In order to help with decisions, OSU Extension has created a Frequently Asked Questions webpage.

Western Bean Cutworm Numbers Remain Low Across Ohio

Authors: Amy Raudenbush, Kimberley Gault, Mark Badertscher, Bruce Clevenger, CCA, Sam Custer, Allen Gahler, Jason Hartschuh, CCA, Andrew Holden, Stephanie Karhoff, Ed Lentz, CCA, KJ Martin, Cecelia Lokai-Minnich, Les Ober, CCA, Eric Richer, CCA, Kaitlin Ruetz, Garth Ruff, Mike Sunderman, Jeff Stachler, Alan Sundermeier, CCA, Curtis Young, CCA, Chris Zoller, Andy Michel, Kelley Tilmon

We are in week two of The Ohio State University Western bean cutworm (WBC) monitoring network. Last week’s trap count included WBC adults captured from July 1 – July 6. Overall, 22 counties monitored 64 traps across Ohio.

About C.O.R.N. NewsletterC.O.R.N. Newsletter is a summary of crop observations, related information, and appropriate recommendations for Ohio crop producers and industry. C.O.R.N. Newsletter is produced by the Ohio State University Extension Agronomy Team, state specialists at The Ohio State University and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC). C.O.R.N. Newsletter questions are directed to Extension and OARDC state specialists and associates at Ohio State.
CONTRIBUTORS:
Glen Arnold, CCA
Field Specialist, Manure Nutrient Management
Mark Badertscher
Hardin County
Lee Beers, CCA
Trumbull County
Steve Culman
State Specialist, Soil Fertility
Sam Custer
Darke County
Anne Dorrance
State Specialist, Soybean Diseases
David Dugan
Adams County
Mike Estadt
Pickaway County
Ken Ford
Fayette County
Mike Gastier, CCA
Huron County
Mary Griffith
Madison County
Will Hamman
Extension Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources
Jason Hartschuh, CCA
Crawford County
Elizabeth Hawkins
Field Specialist, Agronomic Systems
Andrew Holden
Ashtabula County
Dee Jepsen
Stephanie Karhoff
Williams County
Greg LaBarge, CPAg/CCA
Field Specialist, Agronomic Systems
Rory Lewandowski, CCA
Wayne County
Laura Lindsey
State Specialist, Soybean and Small Grains
Andy Londo KJ Martin
Program Assistant
Sarah Noggle
Paulding County
Tony Nye
Clinton County
Les Ober, CCA
Geauga County
Pierce Paul
State Specialist, Corn and Wheat Diseases
Dennis Riethman
Mercer County
Garth Ruff
Henry County
Beth Scheckelhoff
Putnam County
Jeff Stachler
Auglaize County
Mark Sulc
State Specialist, Forage Production
Alan Sundermeier, CCA
Wood County
Kelley Tilmon
State Specialist, Field Crop Entomology
Harold Watters, CPAg/CCA
Field Specialist, Agronomic Systems
Aaron Wilson
Byrd Polar & Climate Research Center
Ted Wiseman
Perry County
Chris Zoller
Tuscarawas County
The information presented here, along with any trade names used, is supplied with the understanding that no discrimination is intended and no endorsement is made by Ohio State University Extension is implied. Although every attempt is made to produce information that is complete, timely, and accurate, the pesticide user bears responsibility of consulting the pesticide label and adhering to those directions.

CFAES provides research and related educational programs to clientele on a nondiscriminatory basis. For more information, visitcfaesdiversity.osu.edu. For an accessible format of this publication, visit cfaes.osu.edu/accessibility.

BYGL Weekly News for July 8, 2019

BYGL Weekly News for July 8, 2019

The following articles were compiled during the last 7 days by members of the Extension, Nursery, Landscape, Turf (ENLT) team to benefit those who are managing a commercial nursery, garden center, or landscape business or someone who just wants to keep their yard looking good all summer.  Access the BYGL website for additional information on other seasonal topics at: http://bygl.osu.edu

 

Assassins are Roaming Around, but Don’t Panic

Authors Joe Boggs

Published on July 6, 2019

 

 

Insects belonging to the Hemipteran family Reduviidae are collectively known as “Assassin Bugs.”  The family includes over 190 species in North America and they are all are meat eaters.  The common name for the family clearly describes how these stealthy hunters make a living.

 

Family members sport potent predatory equipment including strong raptorial front legs for seizing and holding prey and powerful piercing-sucking mouthparts to suck the life out of their victims.  Assassins are highly effective stealthy hunters able to sneak up on some of the most powerful and well-armed insects.  I once watched an assassin bug grab and dispatch a bald-faced hornet which is no easy meal.

 

Some assassin bugs like those in the genus Zelus have additional assistance with their grabbing power in the form of a sticky goo covering their front legs.  The gluey material is produced by glands on their front legs making them function like sticky fly paper.  You may find the Pale Green Assassin Bug (Z. luridus) hanging out on flowers waiting to grab a quick meal with their sticky legs.

 

Once the assassins seize their prey, they use their piercing-sucking mouthparts, called a “beak,” to inject paralyzing and pre-digestive enzymes.  In their final insecticidal act, the assassins suck out the essence-of-insect from their hapless victim.

 

Assassin bugs pass through three developmental stages:  eggs, nymphs, and adults.  This is known as “incomplete metamorphosis.”  However, unlike other incomplete metamorphic insects such as grasshoppers with the nymphs resembling miniature adults, the nymphs of some assassin bugs may look nothing like the adults.

 

In fact, the nymphs of our native Wheel Bug (Arilus cristatus) are often mistaken for spiders.  The nymphs have long, spindly spider-like legs and they parade around with their abdomens held upright.  Of course, insects have six legs and spiders have eight legs.

 

Wheel bugs are one of the largest and most common assassin bugs found in Ohio.  Their name refers to a peculiar morphological feature that rises from the top of the adult bug’s thorax.  The structure looks like half of a cogwheel, with the gear teeth clearly visible.  Wheel bugs are big, measuring almost 1 1/2″ long, and their color varies from light gray to bluish-gray to grayish-brown.

 

Caterpillars and sawfly larvae are favored table fare of these voracious predators; however, they will not turn their beaks up at other arthropod meat morsels.  Indeed, they will even nail the probing fingers of uninformed gardeners!

 

While these are beneficial insects, they should not be handled.  All members of the family are capable of delivering a painful bite to people.  The pain of a bug bite has been described as being equal to or more powerful than a hornet sting, and the wound may take over a week to heal.  It is best to appreciate these beneficial insects from afar.

 

A Bug-Induced Panic

Wheel bugs were at the center of a bug hysteria that swept through Ohio as well as several other states in 2015.  The panic was induced through a series of unfortunate events starting with wheel bugs being misidentified as kissing bugs (Triatoma spp., family Reduviidae).

 

The name “kissing bug” may sound non-threatening until you learn why they were given that name.  Several species of bugs belonging to the genus Triatoma are collectively known as “kissing bugs” because they tend to bite near a person’s mouth.  These “triatomine bugs” get away with their cheeky behavior by biting people while they sleep.

 

The bites are usually painless but may lead to a serious disease if the bugs are harboring the protozoan Trypanosoma cruzi in their gut.  The bugs don’t inject the protozoan when they bite; they release it from their other end when they defecate.  Infection occurs if the protozoan is accidentally rubbed into the bug’s feeding wounds or onto mucous membranes such as nasal passages.  The resulting Chagas disease is nothing to sneeze at; it can be deadly.

 

Thankfully, the kissing bug / Chagas disease connection only occurs in Central and South America with some rare occurrences in Texas.  Conditions don’t support the same relationship here in Ohio.

 

Even though wheel bugs and kissing bugs belong to the same family, their lifestyles are completely different.  Wheel bugs suck insect juice; kissing bugs suck animal blood.

 

However, with their long spindly legs, large bodies, narrow heads with beady eyes, wheel bugs do share family features with their kissing cousins.  Consequently, pictures of wheel bugs started showing up on the Web identified as kissing bugs.  That spawned an alarm that rippled through several media outlets.

 

The second round of bug-induced panic occurred back in April.  This time, it was based on the reality that there is a kissing bug called the Bloodsucking Conenose (Triatoma sanguisuga) that may be found in the northern U.S. including Ohio.  Although it has a scary sounding common name, the conenose is very rare in Ohio and it doesn’t acquire and spread the protozoan responsible for Chagas disease.  You can read about this second panic in a BYGL Alert that I posted on April 25 titled, “Kissing Bug Hysteria Rises Again,” by clicking on this hotlink:  https://bygl.osu.edu/index.php/node/1243

 

 

 

Dog-Day Cicadas and Cicada Killers

Authors Joe Boggs

Published on July 5, 2019

 

 

Annual Dog-Day Cicadas (Tibicen spp.; family Cicadidae) are starting to sing in southern Ohio.  This means their nemesis, Cicada Killer Wasps (Sphecius speciosus), will soon be seen cruising woodlands and landscapes in search of their exclusive prey.

 

The annual cicadas share several behavioral traits with periodical cicadas (Magicicada spp.; family Cicadidae).  The nymphs of both types of cicadas develop underground sustained by juices sucked from tree roots and it takes multiple years for them to complete their development from eggs to new adults.

 

Periodical cicadas are so-named because it takes 17 or 13 years for new adults to emerge en masse in spring.  It takes 2-3 years for dog-day cicada nymphs to complete their development; however, some adults emerge every year due to overlapping generations.  The adults appear sporadically throughout the “dog days” of summer usually beginning in July.

 

Like their periodical familial cousins, dog-day cicada males also “sing” to attract females.  However, they do not “chorus” with large numbers synchronizing their song.  An occasional dog-day cicada buzzing to entice a female doesn’t compare to the cacophony created by a multitude of periodical cicadas.  It’s like comparing a barbershop quartet to a million man chorus!

 

As with periodical cicadas, dog-day cicada females use their long, spade-like ovipositors to insert eggs through the bark of twigs and into the white wood.  The resulting damage splits the bark and white wood leaving deep longitudinal furrows of ruptured tissue.  The injury often causes the twig to die, the leaves to turn brown (“flag”), and the twig to detach and drop.   However, owing to the smaller numbers of dog-day cicadas, their egg-laying damage usually goes unnoticed.

 

Dog-Day Cicada Nemesis

Cicada killer wasps feed exclusively on annual dog-day cicadas; they do not prey upon periodical cicadas.  That’s why the wasps appear on the scene long after a periodical cicada brood emergence has left the scene.  The synchrony with annual cicadas makes sense if you consider that the wasps would starve to death waiting 13 or 17 years for a cicada meal.

 

The wasps measure 1 1/8 to 1 5/8″ in length and are one of the largest wasps found in Ohio.   As with all Hymenoptera (wasps, bees, etc.), only the females possess stingers (ovipositors); however, they are not aggressive.  The males are aggressive, but they lack stingers.

 

The females spend their time digging and provisioning burrows with paralyzed cicada-prey.  They prefer to dig their brood burrows in bare, well-drained soil that is exposed to full sunlight.  Although the wasps are considered solitary, all of the females have the same nesting requirements.  So it is not unusual for there to be numerous burrows, and wasps, in relatively small areas.

 

The males spend their time establishing and defending territories that encompass multiple females.  They are notoriously defensive and will aggressively buzz any transgressor who dares to enter their territory including other males as well as picnickers, golfers, volleyball enthusiasts, and gardeners.  Fortunately, it’s all a rouse since they lack the necessary equipment to deliver a sting.

 

Cicada killers are considered beneficial insects.  However, their large size coupled with low-level flights over sand volleyball courts, sparse lawns, and bare areas in landscapes can be disconcerting generating demands for control options.

 

Insecticide applications to kill the killers is not recommended.  First, they are beneficial insects.  Second, the females are not aggressive; stinging encounters are very rare.  Finally, the best way to manage cicada killers is to modify their habitat.  Renovating lawns late this summer to thicken the turfgrass will keep the killers out of lawns.  Applying mulch to cover bare soil or raking mulch to disturb and redistribute possible burrowing sites will convince females to nest elsewhere.  The same is true for golf course sand traps and sand volleyball courts:  periodical raking will prevent the wasps from becoming established.

 

A Word about Big Wasps

The annual appearance of our native cicada killer wasps invariably triggers e-mails and phone calls to Extensioneers in Ohio and elsewhere about Asian Giant Hornets (Vespa mandarinia) or the subspecies, Japanese Giant Hornets (V. m. japonica).  To be clear:  these non-native hornets have never been confirmed in Ohio or elsewhere in North America.

 

Unfortunately, some online postings of Asian hornets “found” in the U.S. show images of European Hornets (V. crabro), which are rare but can be found in the U.S. including Ohio, or cicada killer wasps.  This is not to say the Asian giants won’t appear in the U.S., but please get a confirmation from an official agency (e.g. ODA, USDA APHIS, etc.) before adding to the web confusion.

 

 

 

Planthoppers Abound

Authors Joe Boggs

Published on July 5, 2019

 

 

Flatid planthoppers (family Flatidae, order Hemiptera) are relatively small insects with the adults measuring no more than around 1/4″ in length.  The adults and immatures (nymphs) look nothing alike which can lead to identification issues with connecting one to the other.

 

The adults of many species have broadly triangular shaped front wings that they hold tent-like over their abdomens.  The adults are commonly found resting on plant stems and are often mistaken for moths.

 

A good example is provided by the Citrus Flatid Planthopper (Metcalfa pruinosa).  Despite its common name, this planthopper is commonly found in Ohio.  It ranges throughout the eastern U.S. from Maine to Florida where true to its common name, it’s often found on citrus.

 

Early instar nymphs are often obscured by a dense cloak of tangled waxy, white, cotton-like “fluff.”  They congregate in groups, or “colonies,” and their profusion of flocculent material on plant stems may cause them to be mistaken for woolly aphids or mealybugs.  Late instar nymphs look like some form of Star Wars troop vehicle with tufts of white filaments streaming behind.

 

Clusters planthopper nymphs are appearing on plants in southwest Ohio.  They are most commonly found in woodlands, but will occasionally creep up the stems of plants in landscapes as well as vegetable gardens.  They are most often found near the ground; however, I was surprised to find fluffy clusters at around eye-level on the stems and leaves of several woody ornamentals.

 

Like their aphid, mealybug, and soft-scale cousins, flatid planthopper adults and nymphs use their piercing-sucking mouthparts into phloem vessels to tap plant sap.  They discharge the excess sugar-rich liquid from their anus in the form of a sticky, sugar fluid called “honeydew” which can become colonized by black sooty molds.

 

Fortunately, flatid planthoppers seldom rise above the status of nuisance pests.  However, their resemblance to other sucking insects that cloak themselves in white, cotton-like material can lead to misidentifications.

 

Nymphs can be washed from plant stems using a coarse stream of water from a garden hose which will also wash away the white “fluff.”  Insecticide applications are seldom warranted, but if needed, insecticidal soap applications are highly effective and will preserve the hopper’s natural enemies.

 

 

 

Turfgrass Times, 06.28.2019

Authors Amy Stone

Published on July 2, 2019

 

 

Here is your link to the weekly video update (recorded on 06.28.2019) from the OSU Turfgrass Team. Updates are from Dr. David Shetlar, aka The Bug Doc; Dr. David Gardner; Dr. Ed Nangle; Dr. Pamela Sherratt (virtual); Joe Rimelspach; and Michael O’Keeffe this week.

 

https://vimeo.com/345052184

 

 

 

Sumac Gall Aphid: An International Story

Authors Joe Boggs

Published on July 2, 2019

 

 

The bladder-like galls produced the Sumac Gall Aphid (Melaphis rhois) are becoming evident on the leaflet midveins of its namesake host in southwest Ohio.  They currently measure between around 1/4″ to 1/2″ in diameter and their size coupled with their light green color can make them difficult to detect.

 

This will change as the season progresses.  The galls will eventually become variegated with areas that are greenish-white bounded by areas that are mottled reddish-pink.  The starkly contrasting colors will make the galls very evident.

 

The online literature indicates smooth sumac (Rhus glabra) and staghorn sumac (R. typhina) are the aphid’s primary hosts, if not the only sumac hosts.  I’ve never found them on any other sumac.

 

As with the vast majority of insects that produce plant galls, the sumac gall aphid appears to cause little injury to the overall health of their host plants.  Although heavy galling may cause early coloring and shedding of some sumac leaflets, the overall impact appears to be inconsequential relative to plant health.

 

The aphid has a complex life cycle with summer generations producing galls on sumac and winter generations living on mosses beneath or near the sumac.  Females released from the summer galls drop onto moss where they reproduce asexually and the subsequent generations survive the winter.

 

Males and females arise from the moss colonies in the spring with winged, mated females flying to sumac where each female lays a single egg.  The egg hatches into a “stem mother” which initiates gall formation and gives rise to a series of parthenogenetic (without males) generations that proliferate inside the gall.  The galls eventually split open in the fall to release winged females that drop onto moss starting the alternating moss-sumac host cycle over again.

 

A Deep Time International Story

In 2015, Zhumei Ren (School of Life Science, Shanxi University, Taiyuan, China) visited Greater Cincinnati on a collection trip hosted by Sue Lutz (Botanist, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History) and funded by the Museum’s Global Genome Initiative.  Ren was doing research on prehistoric connections between gall-making aphids on sumac that are found in Asia and North America.

 

Research had clearly shown that our native sumac gall aphid, Melaphis rhois, and the Chinese sumac aphid, Schlechtendalia chinensis, are “biogeographically disjunct” Asian and North American species meaning they are related, but separated geographically.  Indeed, Ren’s research showed our native aphid’s mitochondrial genome (mitogenome) is identical to that of the Chinese aphid which begs the question:  just how “native” is our native sumac gall aphid?

 

Based on aphids Ren gathered in Ohio and elsewhere in 2015, a phylogenetic study she published in 2017 showed the North American gall aphid genus, Melaphis, diverged from its Asian relatives around 64.6 million years ago during the early Paleogene Period in the Paleocene Epoch

 

Alert readers will recognize that the timing is very close to the mass extinction that marked the end of the Cretaceous period as well as the non-avian dinosaurs (the so-called K-T Boundary).  While the exact chain of events causing the demise of T-Rex remains hotly debated, there is no doubt a meteor impact played a key role.

 

The meteor muddled-up more than just reptiles.  Owing to continental drift, Earth’s land masses were aligned differently 65 million years ago.  North America was strongly attached to Asia by more than just a land bridge across the Bering Sea.  There is no doubt many insect-plant relationships were shared between the two continents.  However, the mass extinction radically changed things [see “2002: Impact …” in “More Information” below].

 

The meteor impact appears to have scrambled the phylogenetic record in such way that science may not be able to untangle the exact historical relationship between our sumac gall aphids and those found in Asia.  At least, that’s a conclusion Ren and her co-authors presented in their 2017 paper.  Of course, if Ren’s research thus far teaches us anything, it’s that science does not stand still.  And, the lessons taught by the sumac aphid is more than just gall deep; they are deep time deep.

 

More Information

2002: Impact of the terminal Cretaceous event on plant–insect associations

http://www.pnas.org/content/99/4/2061

 

 

 

 Ailanthus Webworm: Hope Springs Eternal

Authors Joe Boggs

Published on July 1, 2019

 

 

Ailanthus Webworm (Atteva aurea) caterpillars feed exclusively on the non-native, highly invasive, misleadingly named Tree-of-Heaven (Ailanthus altissima, family Simaroubaceae).  The webworms are the larval (caterpillar) stage of a beautiful ermine moth (Family Yponomeutidae).  In my opinion, this is one of the most beautiful moths found in Ohio.

 

Multiple overlapping generations occur each season so it is common to find both moths and caterpillars active at the same time.  Both are active throughout the season with the moths appearing on both early and late-blooming plants.

 

The webworms produce communal nests by pulling leaflets into a network of loose webbing.  Several caterpillars live within the nests consuming the leaflets enveloped in their webbing.

 

The webworms can grow up to 1 – 1 1/2″ long and they have a wide, light greenish‑brown stripe down their backs and several thin, alternating white and olive green stripes along their sides.  The caterpillars are sparsely covered with short, erect hairs, which help to suspend them within the webbing.  When disturbed, the caterpillars move backward out of the nest and drop towards the ground on strands of silk.

 

Ailanthus webworms are native to tropical regions in Central and South America where the caterpillars feed on native trees in the genus Simarouba (family Simaroubaceae).  The moth was originally assigned the scientific name, Atteva punctella, and it was observed that this moth had expanded its palate to take advantage of the non-native tree-of-heaven that was flourishing in Central and South America.

 

It was once assumed the moths exploited the ever-expanding range of tree-of-heaven to move north into the U.S. and Canada.  However, research involving DNA bar-coding, moth morphology, and food plant records eventually revealed that while A. punctella and A. aurea co-inhabit tropical regions of the New World, the moth in the U.S. and Canada is, in fact, A. aurea.

 

The caterpillars are capable of defoliating their odoriferous namesake host and they may feed on stem tissue once all leaves are devoured.  Unfortunately, such extreme damage is rare on large trees.  Although feeding by this webworm has yet to halt the spread of tree-of-heaven, hope springs eternal since this is one of only a few insects known to infest this encroaching interloper.

 

 

 

A Most Beautiful Beetle

Authors Joe Boggs

Published on July 1, 2019

 

 

I post a BYGL Alert each year about Dogbane Beetles (Chrysochus auratus) because the beetle’s light-blending artistry makes it one of the most beautiful beetles found in Ohio.  Enjoying these shimmering living gems on their namesake host is the entomology equivalent to “stop and smell the roses.”

 

The beetle’s scientific name, Chrysochus auratus, loosely translates to “made of gold.”  In fact, gold is only one of a medley of colors displayed by these gorgeous native beetles.  As you change your viewing angle, the beetles glisten with mixed shades of green, copper, blue, red, and of course gold.

 

The secret to the myriad display of colors is found just below the surface of the beetle’s exoskeleton.  Beneath an outer translucent layer rests stacks of tiny slanting plates that cover color pigments.  Light rays striking the surface of the plates are reflected as a shimmering sheen, while light rays that bounce off the pigments produce various colors.  The result is a lustrous mix of ever-changing hews; a kaleidoscope of colors that are almost unmatched in the insect world.

 

Of course, the beetle’s colorful display isn’t meant to elicit “oohs and ahhs” from humans; it’s meant to signal, “don’t mess with me” to predators.  Using bright colors to send a warning message to enemies is known as “aposematic coloration.”

 

Dogbane (Apocynum spp.) is the representative species for the dogbane family, Apocynaceae, which includes milkweeds and other plants that ooze sticky white sap ladened with poisonous alkaloids (cardiac glycosides).  Indeed, the genus name Apocynum translates to “poisonous to dogs,” or “dog killer.”  Sap from dogbane is reported to have been used at one time against ravenous feral dogs.

 

Dogbane beetles feed on the three dogbanes found in North America:  common or hemp dogbane (A. cannabinum), fly-trap or spreading dogbane (A. androsaemifolium), and intermediate dogbane (Apocynum × floribundum).  Although there are reports in the literature that the beetle feeds on various milkweeds (Asclepias spp.), I’ve scoured milkweeds in Ohio without finding this beetle.  I’ve wondered if perhaps the reports are actually referring to the Cobalt or Blue Milkweed Beetle (C. cobaltinus) that does feed on western milkweeds.  However, this beetle has not been reported in Ohio.

 

Dogbane beetles ingest the poisonous cardiac glycosides in dogbane sap, store the chemicals in specialized glands, and then they secrete the noxious chemical brew when threatened by predators.  Their bright coloration advertises their nasty chemical defense strategy.

 

So, get out and look for dogbane beetles while enjoying the heat!  If you find them, experience the kaleidoscope of colors by viewing the same beetle at different angles to the sun.  They are eye candy … but don’t eat them.

 

 

 

Fruit Cracking of Cherry

Authors Jim Chatfield  Erik Draper

Published on July 1, 2019

 

 

We all know how oppressive the mid-June rains were for many of us in Ohio, but how do you think the sweet cherries felt?  It turns out that excessive moisture is a significant problem for this stone fruit. Fruit cracking from moisture can occur from several causes, from prolonged exposure to too much water in the root zone, but perhaps most likely from continued rainwater on the developing fruits.

 

In areas of northeast Ohio rain and relatively cool temperatures prevailed seemingly every day for weeks recently, including six inches or more in two days. This resulted in continuous water on those fruits with their thin cuticles as the fruit started the early period of ripening. Microcracks in the fruit at this point can expand from water absorption. Periods of rainfall in excess of 1.5 inches are known to enhance such cracking.

 

What can prevent this? In high production areas, intensive management is usually the only way to limit this problem if heavy rains keep coming. This includes drying the fruits in an orchard with airblast sprayers or even helicopters, the use of retractable orchard covers, and use of spraying hydrophobic coatings or osmotic salts multiple times. So, nothing for the faint of heart or pocketbook.  To some extent, this has resulted in increasing sweet cherry production in drier climes. Otherwise, no-rain dances, though this has proved ineffective this year.

 

There are of course other hazards of horticulture for cherry production. Birds can strip the fruit. And Monilinia brown rot may follow cracking, moisture accumulation, and bird damage. The common brown rot disease, caused by the Monilinia fructicola fungus, occurs on stone fruits such as cherry, peach, apricot, plum, and almond (elsewhere) in the genus Prunus¸ with blossom and twig infections leading to fruit rots that result in un-harvestable fruit mummies. Moisture and injury to plant tissue favors disease development. Fungicides and sanitation (rogueing out affected fruit) are control practices.

 

Here are two excellent references for cherry fruit cracking that were used in compiling this bygl-alert:

 

https://www.growingproduce.com/fruits/stone-fruit-avoiding-cherry-fruit-cracking-is-a-balancing-act/

 

https://catalog.extension.oregonstate.edu/sites/catalog/files/project/pdf/em9227.pdf

 

 

Beef Cattle Letter

Dear Ohio BEEF Cattle letter subscribers,

 

Seven new articles have been posted in this week’s issue number 1148 of the Ohio BEEF Cattle letter: http://u.osu.edu/beef/

 

This week we focus most of our attention on alternatives for growing and harvesting more high quality feedstuffs yet this year!

 

Articles this include:

  • “Increase the feed, or reduce the need”
  • FAQs: Forages, Cover Crops and More
  • Keeping Hay Fields, Hay . . . and Pasture Fields, Pasture
  • Rain Damage to Hay
  • Do Not Let a Tick Bite Make You Allergic to Dinner
  • Livestock Risk Protection (LRP) to Cost Less
  • Surprises in Reports

Ohio Hop Yard Open House

The annual Ohio Hop Yard Open House is coming up on July 20 sponsored by the Ohio Hop Growers Guild where farmers, consumers, brewers, or anyone interested in craft brewing or farming can stop by and tour working hop farms in action and talk directly with the hop farmers and families.

The 2019 open houses will be Saturday July 20 from 10am to 2 pm and will feature four hop yards in west central Ohio located near Conover, New Knoxville, Xenia and Mechanicsburg.

See Hop Open House 2019 for hop farm addresses. No registration needed.