Tobacco insect scouting update. May 2, 2014

Recently transplanted tobacco in grower standard plots. Photo: Hannah Burrack

Recently transplanted tobacco in grower standard plots. Photo: Hannah Burrack

This summer, we have begun a new project focussed on implementing integrated pest management (IPM) practices for insects in commercial tobacco fields. This project was inspired by observations during our GAP training sessions and results from county extension agent surveys that suggested that overall use of scouting to make insect management decisions was relatively low. We believe that making insect management choices based on scouting has the potential to reduce pesticide use, to potentially reduce grower cost, and to potentially reduce pesticide residues in cured leaf.  This project is designed to determine if these beliefs are justified.

In order to identify the reasons why relatively few growers are scouting for insect pests, we have set up research fields at three locations throughout the state, two in eastern NC and one in the Piedmont, where we will compare insect populations in grower standard fields (where the growers we cooperate make all of the insect management decisions) and insect populations in fields we manage through scouting, our IPM plots. We will be sharing this information at the Tobacco Portal each week.

Our first two fields were transplanted this week, and we made our first scouting visit today. Our other two fields have not yet transplanted, so we will add scouting information for them in later updates.

Scouting Report, Eastern 1 – Grower Standard Field

Insect observation No. aphid infested plants Flea beetles/plant Percent tobacco budworm infestation Hornworms/plant Percent cutworm damaged plants Other insects
Treatment needed? 0 – No treatment 0 – No treatment 0 – No treatment 0 – No treatment 0 – No treatment 0 – No treatment

Scouting Report, Eastern 2 – IPM Field

Insect observation No. aphid infested plants Flea beetles/plant Percent tobacco budworm infestation Hornworms/plant Percent cutworm damaged plants Other insects
Treatment needed? 0 – No treatment 0.02 – No treatment 0 – No treatment 0 – No treatment 0 – No treatment 0 – No treatment

Notes: The one flea beetle observed in the IPM field was sluggish and had not caused any damage. Plants in both fields were treated with imidacloprid for aphid and flea beetle control in the greenhouse prior to transplant. We choose to keep these treatment even in IPM plots because it is so common in North Carolina. In a typical year, 98% of the conventional tobacco acres grown in state are treated with this material in the greenhouse.

More information

How can we measure insect management changes in tobacco? - Entomology Portal 

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Posted on May 2, 2014

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