Texas Rice: Time to Scout for Rice Water Weevils
So far this month I have not received any calls concerning insects attacking rice, but I recently observed in my plots lots of rice water weevil adults and feeding scars. This means watch out for these critters. For those of you who applied an insecticidal seed treatment, no problem, but if you did not treat your seed, you still have time to control rice water weevil by applying a pyrethroid or Belay 2.13SC as close to flood as possible. Dimilin 2L also gives good control when applied early post-flood.
We consistently see a 300 to more than 1,000 lb per acre yield increase when we control rice water weevil. Once the flood is applied, female rice water weevils lay eggs underwater on the mud surface, in the roots, or in the culms of rice plants. The eggs hatch and the larvae move to the roots where they feed and obtain oxygen. We have shown the larvae are capable of moving from plant to plant in the mud. The larva passes through 4 instars before forming a cocoon made of mud. The brown cocoons look like miniature footballs attached to the roots. This pupal stage precedes the adult stage. In SE Texas, rice water weevils produce 2-3 generations during the growing season. Larvae of the first generation typically are more damaging than subsequent generations.
A rice farmer near the Beaumont Center brought me a strange, spiny caterpillar to identify. He found this larva near an oak tree in his backyard. Another specimen was brought to me by an employee at the Beaumont Center. This larva also was found near an oak tree. Turns out these larvae feed on oak foliage and possess stinging hairs—both the farmer and the employee were stung by the caterpillars. These larvae change into large beautiful moths and go by the name buck moth. The scientific name is Hemileuca maia.The LSU AgCenter predicted an outbreak of these caterpillars this year based on detecting high populations of moths last fall/winter. So, if you see this caterpillar, handle with care!
I will be hosting the Bernard Harris ExxonMobil Lamar University Summer Science Camp June 13 at the Beaumont Center. Forty-eight middle school students with science/math interest will participate. I am working with Dr. Otilia Urbina in the Education Department at Lamar University to encourage these bright students to pursue science/math in high school and beyond. We will conduct lab and field experiments involving rice, soybeans and sugarcane, so the students will get hands-on experience doing applied research. Many thanks to Dow AgroSciences for providing a $2,000 grant to help fund this program. The grant paid for plant and insect collecting equipment, binocular microscopes and water quality kits.
Finally, the David R. Wintermann Rice Research Station at Eagle Lake will hold a rice field day on Tuesday June 25. Field tours will start at 4pm followed by a meal and evening program at the Eagle Lake Community Center. Contact me if you want more information—(409)-658-2186 or firstname.lastname@example.org.