Early Scouting For Insects

Many insects can pose a potential threat to seedlings and small crops during the early growing season.

“Early growing season” can be described as planting through the first week in June; however, in reality it has more to do with crop size or stage and degree days than an actual calendar date.

Insect injury can cause stand loss and loss of leaf tissue, both of which can contribute to yield loss. Because insects are small, mobile, and sometimes nocturnal feeders, it may be difficult to actually find the insect. Here are some tips:

  • Insects feeding below-ground can cause thin or irregular stands and poor germination. It is important to dig up seeds or seedlings to determine if an insect pest is present. Some insects, such as cutworms, can clip plants at the soil surface
  • Some insects may be nocturnal and burrow into the soil during the day, making it difficult to identify the insect. Leaf-feeding is more obvious, and sometimes the insect may be present.
  • However, if you see shot-holing you may need to cut the plant open to determine what is feeding in the whorl.

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