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Plant & Pest Advisory > Vegetable Crops

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The points of contact between Rutgers Cooperative Extension Service and the grower & business communities are the NJ County Agricultural Agents. The agents are a tremendous source of information for both new and experienced growers. Visit your local county extension office.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Unexpected Insect Pests

-Joe Ingerson-Mahar
Weather-wise, 2012 has already become an exceptional year not only in New Jersey but in much of the country.  Higher than normal temperatures in late winter and early spring and the mild winter weather are now playing out in early appearances of migratory insects, including corn earworm and cabbage looper and perhaps beet armyworm and fall armyworm, as well.
Because of the mild winter, corn earworm may have overwintered in large numbers in the region, giving rise to a low but consistent number of moths already being caught in south Jersey.  Earworms normally increase in late May and remain at high levels for about 3 weeks to a month and then decline before a second wave comes in late July and August.  The May flight this year will bear watching, because of the potential for a larger than normal population.  Look for trap counts and maps in the Plant and Pest Advisory newsletter.

The unexpected arrival of cabbage looper, normally a late summer/early fall pest, in cole crops and lettuce this past week, is a reminder that farmers should be on the lookout for other migratory pests arriving early.  In another week, the Vegetable IPM Program will be deploying both beet armyworm and fall armyworm pheromone traps in the south to help detect any early arrival of these insects.