C.O.R.N. Newsletter 2011-37

Dates Covered: 
October 24, 2011 - October 31, 2011

Assessing Threat of Invasive Bugs

Recent articles in various Ohio newspapers detail the impact and spread of a new, invasive insect species, Megacopta cribraria, on soybean production in southeastern U.S.  This insect is known by several different common names including kudzu bug, bean plataspid, lablab bug, and globular stink bug.  While related to the common stink bugs (Family Pentatomidae), it is actually from a different family of insects (Family Plataspidae).  University of Georgia entomologists reported that large populations of this insect cause economic injury on soybeans in Georgia if left untreated (http://www.caes.uga.edu/applications/gafaces/?public=viewStory&pk_id=4206).  The newspaper articles also eluded to the potential threat of this insect to Ohio's soybean growers which has stirred some excitement in Ohio since it has not before been reported on here in Ohio.  At the current time, the kudzu bug or bean plataspid is in Georgia, North and South Carolina, and Alabama.  It has not yet spread as far north as Ohio.  If and when it gets here, and if it reproduces and grows into large enough populations, it may be an economic threat to soybean production sometime in the future.  While we are on a watch for this bug, we feel that a bug of more immediate concern for Ohio soybean farmers is actually another invasive insect, the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB), Halyomorpha halys (http://corn.osu.edu/newsletters/2011/2011-29/stink-bugs-on-soybean), a true stink bug.  This bug has ravaged soybeans in the Mid-Atlantic States and has already been found invading homes in Ohio during the autumn. 

As with all invasive pests, the first action in risk assessment is monitoring the pest's spread.  Thanks to funding support from County Commissioners, the Ohio Soybean Council, and soybean checkoff, we are coordinating field scouting and other detection activities for both of the above invaders.  To date, although BMSB has been found in Ohio, damage to soybeans has been virtually non-existent.  Our cooperative scouting efforts have not found any kudzu bugs anywhere in Ohio.

 

Updated Bt Transgenic Corn Hybrid Table

We have just updated the Bt transgenic corn hybrid table on our agronomic crops insects website (http://entomology.osu.edu/ag/).  The table, developed and updated by Eileen Cullen, University of Wisconsin, and Chris Difonzo, Michigan State University, can be found under the corn subheading.  Although the table is as updated and accurate as can be, we still urge growers to discuss the various Bt hybrids with their seed dealers for proper use.

Time to Give Your Sprayer Some TLC

It is very likely that you will not be using your sprayer again until next spring.  If you want to avoid potential problems and save yourself from frustration and major headaches, you will be wise to give yiour sprayer a little bit of TLC (Tender Loving Care) these days.  Yes this is still a busy time of the year for some of you, but don't delay winterizing your sprayer any more than necessary.  Find ways to protect them against the harmful effects of snow, rain, sun, and strong winds.  Moisture in the air, whether from snow, rain, or soil, rusts metal parts of unpro­tected equipment of any kind.  This is especially true for a sprayer, because there are all kinds of hoses, rubber gaskets and plastic pieces all around a sprayer, Yes, the sun usually helps reduce moisture in the air, but it also causes damage.  Ultraviolet light softens and weakens rubber materials such as hoses and tires and degrades some tank materials.  How about the pump, the heart of a sprayer?  You don't want a pump that is cracked and/or not working at its full capacity because you did not properly winterize it before the temperature falls below freezing.  

The best protection from the environment is to store sprayers in a dry building.  Storing sprayers in a building gives you a chance to work on them any time during the off-season regardless of weather.  If storing in a building is not possible, provide some sort of cover.

Here are some suggestions you may want to follow as you prepare the sprayer for storage:

*  When storing trailer-type sprayers, put blocks under the frame or axle and reduce tire pressure during storage.

*  It is very likely that you did the right thing when you used the sprayer the last time: you rinsed the whole system (tanks, hoses, filters, nozzles) thoroughly.  If you did not, make sure there is no leftover spray mixture in the tank.  Dispose of it according to the chemical label, and rinse the system with some sort of a rinsing solution.  Usually a mixture of 1 to 100 of household ammonia to water should be adequate for cleaning the tank, but you may first need to clean the tank with a mixture containing detergent if tank was not cleaned weeks ago, right after the last spraying job was done.

*  Cleaning the outside of the sprayer components deserves equal attention. Remove compacted deposits with a bristle brush.  Then flush the exterior parts of the equipment with water. A high pressure washer can be used, if avail­able.  Wash the exterior of the equipment either in the field away from ditches and water sources nearby, or a specially constructed concrete rinse pad

*  Drain all cleaning water from all parts to prevent freezing.

*  To prevent corrosion, remove nozzle tips and strainers, dry them, and store them in a dry place. Putting them in a can of light oil such as diesel fuel or kerosene is another option.

*  Pumps require special care.  After draining the water, add a small amount of oil, and rotate the pump four or five revolutions by hand to completely coat interior surfaces.  Make sure that this oil is not going to damage rubber rollers in a roller pump or rubber parts in a diaphragm pump. Check the operator's manual.  If oil is not recom­mended, pouring one tablespoon of radiator rust inhibitor in the inlet and outlet part of the pump also keeps the pump from corroding.  Another alternative is to put automotive antifreeze with rust inhibitor in the pump and other sprayer parts.  This also protects against corrosion and prevents freezing in case all the water is not drained.

*  Cover openings so that insects, dirt, and other foreign material cannot get into the system.

*  Finally, check the sprayer for scratched spots. Touch up these areas with paint to eliminate corrosion.

 

Active Time for Deer Means Extra Caution for Ohio Drivers

While white-tailed deer provide abundant recreation opportunities for hunters and wildlife watchers, they can unfortunately cost us millions of dollars every year through deer-vehicle collisions.  Over 23,000 collisions occurred in Ohio last year, costing drivers close to $72 million in claims.  So listen up motorists, now is the time when deer are on the move and you are advised to be extra cautious when out on the roadways.

The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) reports that October through November is prime time for deer-vehicle accidents.  Motorists need to be on the lookout for deer in and along roadways during this time of year, especially at dawn and after sunset, specifically during the hours of 5 p.m.-1 a.m. and 5 a.m.-8 a.m.  Last year, Richland, Stark, and Hamilton counties recorded the highest number of deer-vehicle crashes, while the fewest crashed occurred in Monroe, Morgan, and Meigs counties.  Close to 160 accidents occurred daily in November of 2010, with over 50% happening between 5 p.m. and 1 a.m.

So what is happening during October and especially November that increases the chances of Ohio motorists colliding with deer?  Some people may think that hunting causes an increase in deer movement, particularly across roads and highways (Ohio's deer hunting season runs from Sept. 24th-Jan. 10th), but this isn't always the case.  In Pennsylvania, movements of antlered deer wearing GPS radio collars were tracked during the weeks before, during, and after muzzleloader and firearms seasons and there were no changes in activity patterns due to the hunting season.  Deer movement due to hunting really depends on the amount of hunting pressure, and while intense pressure can cause an increase in deer activity, typically deer stay within their normal home ranges (roughly 1 sq mi/buck).  The truth is, deer are on the move at this time of year for multiple reasons, both natural and human related.

Possibly the biggest reason for the increase in deer movement is the breeding season (rut), which takes place October through December in Ohio.  In November, deer are entering the peak of their breeding season.  Males are actively searching for mates which frequently bring them across roadways.  The total distance a single deer moves during a 24-hour period varies from 1-4 miles, but that distance is increased dramatically in males during the breeding season.  While some female deer may take a brief breeding excursion outside their normal range in search of a mate, the majority stay put and don't travel more than normal during the breeding season.

In between breeding, deer also need to increase their food consumption this time of year in preparation for the winter months, where food isn't as available.  Depending on the available food resources in their home range (such as acorns and other hard mast), deer may have to travel further to find enough food, which can lead to additional travel across roadways to reach alternate resources.

In addition to the increased activity brought on by the breeding season and the approach of winter, daylight savings time plays a role in motorists encountering deer on the roadways.  As we "fall back" (on November 3rd this year), the shorter days and longer nights force commuters onto the roads at dawn and dusk - the same times deer are most active.  Also, don't make the mistake in thinking that you will only encounter deer crossing roads in rural parts of the state.  In fact, urban and suburban areas are also prime sites for deer vehicle collisions.  More and more frequently, urban areas around Ohio are becoming home to substantial white-tailed deer populations.  Increases in deer-vehicle collision are only one of the consequences of an increased urban deer population; damage to public and homeowner landscapes is also a frequent problem. Several cities and towns around Ohio have elected to manage their deer populations through controlled hunting efforts.  Often times this requires the involvement of many stakeholders, such as city or town officials, residents, and state wildlife officials.  Contact your Division of Wildlife District Office for helpful advice on how to start this process.

While difficult in urban areas, hunting is still the best management strategy to decrease deer populations in rural areas.  It's no coincidence that Ohio's deer hunting season correlates with high deer activity.  In fact, Ohio hunters play an important role in reducing the number of deer on the roads.  The Ohio Division of Wildlife estimates Ohio's deer population at 750,000 with the highest densities found the east-central and southeast regions.  For more information on deer hunting in Ohio, visit the Ohio Division of Wildlife's website (http://www.wildohio.com). 

To summarize, October through November is the prime time for deer vehicle collisions.  Deer are sighted frequently during this time for a variety of reasons; breeding season, hunter avoidance, increasing deer populations, and lessening of daylight hours.

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About the C.O.R.N. Newsletter

C.O.R.N. Newsletter is a summary of crop observations, related information, and appropriate recommendations for Ohio crop producers and industry. C.O.R.N. Newsletter is produced by the Ohio State University Extension Agronomy Team, state specialists at The Ohio State University and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC). C.O.R.N. Newsletter questions are directed to Extension and OARDC state specialists and associates at Ohio State.