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Issue No. 25, Article 8/December 8, 2006

Learn More About Western Bean Cutworms and/or Soybean Aphids

In issue No. 25 (December 8, 2006) of the Bulletin, I alerted readers about some near-future educational programs that would be delivered via distance education technology. Following is more detail about two of them.

Western Bean Cutworm Short Course, February 28, 2007
9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (CST)

Western bean cutworm injury to corn ear, DeKalb County, Illinois, 2006 (photo courtesy of Randy Espe, Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc.).

Western bean cutworm larva (photo courtesy of Jim Donnelly, Ag View FS, Inc.).

The rapid eastward spread of the western bean cutworm has captured the attention of corn growers, farm managers, and the agricultural industry throughout the Midwest. This pest likely will become established shortly after its arrival in a state, so it's important that growers and ag professionals know how to recognize and manage it. You can get the necessary background and current information that will promote best management practices by attending this short course. Presenters will be Drs. Marlin Rice (Iowa State University), Gary Hein (University of Nebraska), Eileen Cullen (University of Wisconsin), and Kevin Steffey (University of Illinois). Topics to be discussed are:

  • Review of the situation (Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, and elsewhere)
  • History and biology of the western bean cutworm
  • Economic impact of western bean cutworms
  • Look-alikes--moths and larvae: How to differentiate western bean cutworm moths and larvae from look-alikes
  • Managing western bean cutworms--Trapping, degree-days, scouting, making management decisions, and options for control

A question-and-answer session will conclude the program.

The short course is being sponsored by the North Central IPM Center.

Managing Soybean Aphids in 2007--How Will Biological Control Contribute? March 6, 2007, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Soybean aphids, Kendall County, Illinois, 2005 (photo courtesy of Gary Bretthauer, University of Illinois Extension).

Insidious flower bug adult feeding on a soybean aphid (photo courtesy of Bob O'Neil, Purdue University).

There is potential for a soybean aphid outbreak in 2007, and soybean growers and their advisers need to be ready. Because natural enemies play a significant role during soybean aphid outbreaks, an understanding of the interactions of pests, predators, parasitoids, and pathogens and the effects of control measures on these interactions is crucial. In addition, Midwestern entomologists currently are exploring the possibility of releasing specific parasitoids from Asia into North American soybean fields in hopes of regulating soybean aphid populations, research that is funded by the North Central Soybean Research Program. The current status of the research and potential future prospects will be discussed during the short course.

People attending this short course will have the opportunity to hear from and interact with the researchers who have been involved in the development all of the current soybean aphid management guidelines. Following is the agenda for the program:

  • Brief history and biology of soybean aphids--Dr. David Voegtlin, Illinois Natural History Survey
  • Review of the situation with soybean aphids in the Midwest--Dr. David Ragsdale, University of Minnesota
  • Biological control of soybean aphids--What is it, and what do we have to work with in the Midwest--Dr. Robert O'Neil, Purdue University
  • The players: Predators, parasitoids, and pathogens, Dr. Dan Mahr, University of Wisconsin
  • Practices to conserve and use natural enemies in soybean aphid IPM--Dr. Matthew O'Neal, Iowa State University
  • Foreign exploration for natural enemies--Dr. Kim Hoelmer, USDA-ARS, Delaware
  • Host specificity testing--Dr. George Hemipel, USDA-ARS, Minnesota
  • Studies with non-target aphids--Drs. Claudio Gratton and Cory Straub, University of Wisconsin
  • Preparing for soybean aphids in 2007: Management guidelines and the potential for biological control--Drs. Chris DiFonzo, Michigan State University; and Marlin Rice, Iowa State University

A question-and-answer session will conclude the program, which is being sponsored by the NCSRP and facilitated by the North Central IPM Center.

These programs are being designed for delivery to local or regional Extension offices (contact the office in your area for information) or to businesses or organizations that choose to host the programs. Registration for both programs is open at the North Central IPM Web site. Requirements for host sites for both of these short courses are a telephone line and a method of viewing PowerPoint slides. For groups, a teleconference device for audio and a way of projecting the PowerPoint slides are recommended. Access to the Internet is not necessary during delivery of either program. However, site coordinators will have to download the PowerPoint presentations in advance to have the files ready on the dates of the respective programs.

We are excited about being able to bring these types of programs to you, and we invite all interested parties to consider hosting one or both of these programs. If you have any questions about either short course, please contact me at (217) 244-2128 or ksteffey@uiuc.edu.--Kevin Steffey

Kevin Steffey

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