This week we found our first tasseling corn field of the season. Most fields are still two to three weeks away. We found very few corn or sorghum pests to speak of this week in field. We continue to find just a few spider mite colonies in both crops hanging on, but predators have almost completely cleaned them out. I do recommend we stay on top of the spider mite potential this season.
Mites tend to thrive in hot and dry environ-mental conditions, much like what we have been experiencing this week and expect to continue. They also tend to increase in numbers in tasseling corn. Once area corn reaches tassel and sorghum boots, the potential and conditions still look favorable for a spider mite ‘perfect storm.’
I would refer readers to Dr. Ed Bynum’s, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Entomologist – district 1, work and experience with spider mites in corn available firsthand through his newsletter, “Panhandle Pest Newsletter” and the Plant Management Network. We will be passing information along here as well as sharing what we will be seeing locally as needed.
Dr. Pat Porter, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Entomologists for district 2, began picking up large numbers of fall army worms (FAW) in his regional traps this last week. This could be an indication that we should start seeing larva activity in whorl stage corn and sorghum over the next few weeks. We remain watchful but as of this date, we have only found a few scattered FAW larva in a non-Bt corn refuge area.
Our bollworm traps recorded no moth activity for either Hale or Swisher County this week. Damage to the traps from weather that allowed moth escapes are likely to blame. The same situation developed for Gary Cross’s, CEA-Hale, local FAW traps this week.