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September 4, 2006 Volume 15 No. 25 Update on Pest Management and Crop Development

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(Art Agnello, Entomology, Geneva)

   I always seem to get to this point of the season with little recollection of what the first half of the year was like, in terms of weather and pests, which tends to underscore my perception that the pre-bloom and post-bloom periods are really like two distinct mini-seasons.  (Either that, or creeping senility is worse than I care to admit.)  Looking at the DD numbers, we were actually a bit warmer than normal until about mid-April; then, a series of cold snaps slowed things down and even caused some fruit bud loss before bloom and into mid-May.  After that, we've been slightly ahead most of the rest of the season, and rainfall has been locally extreme and pretty frequent, which has posed a number of disease management challenges.  By now, several early apple varieties have already been harvested, so this is probably a good time to attempt our annual re-cap of the season's arthropod activities.

   For whatever reason (cold temps or sufficient showers), the weather had a positive effect of obstructing many of the early season pests such as European red mite, spotted tentiform leafminer, and rosy apple aphid, along with pear psylla.  Similar to last year, there was enough post-bloom heat to give plum curculio a boost through its oviposition period, so that most locations could get by with just the petal fall and 1st cover applications to obtain sufficient protection.

   A number of the summer moth pests seemed to have heavy flights this year, among them obliquebanded leafroller and the internal worm (oriental fruit moth, codling moth, etc.) complex, which posted high moth catches and some fruit damage showing up in the traditional high-pressure spots.  Although most growers appeared to do a good job of staying on top of these direct pests, codling moth continued its trend toward being more common than it has traditionally been in NY.  I noted more growers using OP-alternative CM control measures (such as mating disruption, neo-nics like Assail and Calypso, and even CM virus) in western NY.

   Apple maggot also exhibited a pretty normal pattern of healthy adult emergence during late July and early August, and more pronounced in the Hudson Valley.  European red mite was not too apparent for once, possibly because we currently have a good slate of preventive and rescue acaricides available, and twospotted spider mite, which prefers the heat that we experience in early August, but not the rainfall that accompanied it, was essentially absent.  Woolly apple aphid was evident in a few places once again, but I don't think it posed a major problem in general.  Other sometimes sporadic summer pests were also troublesome, depending on the specific locality: pear psylla and potato leafhopper, stink bugs, and San Jose scale all generated their share of attention in one area of the state or another.  A couple of normally marginal leaf-feeders had a banner year in 2006, namely tent caterpillars and Japanese beetle.  Although many common materials are capable of keeping these species under control, some growers didn't pay enough frequent attention in their blocks (apples and stone fruits) to prevent some impressive damage.

   As always, there are the last few pests that are always around in some numbers, but we're never sure of their magnitude until the fruit starts coming in for packing: Comstock mealybug, white apple leafhopper and tarnished plant bug.

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(Dave Kain & Art Agnello, Entomology, Geneva)

    Spring dawned early, dry, and hot (well, warm anyway) giving growers a nice jump-start. The cold, wet weather around bloom time, that seemed to be becoming typical the last few years, was relegated to memory by a near-perfectly normal bloom period this spring. But, what fun would it be to talk about the weather if it was "normal" all the time. Graciously, we were given something to talk about when it started to rain in early-June and continued through ... well, it'll end any day now. A brief hot/dry spell provided a spark for a few days' conversation but was nothing terribly out of the ordinary. Insect development, as usual, followed the weather's lead. At this writing we're approximately a week behind last season and a week ahead of “normal”, in terms of degree day accumulation. 

   Following are comparative listings of some of the pest events that occurred this season (in Geneva) with calendar and degree-day normals.  The values and dates are given +/- one standard deviation; i.e., events should occur within the stated range approximately 7 years out of 10.


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This material is based upon work supported by Smith Lever funds from the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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