University of Illinois

No. 2/April 3, 1998

Are You Ready for the Insect Season?

During the 1998 Illinois Pest Management Short Course held at the Holiday Inn in Urbana, March 23 to 26, a participant brought in a bean leaf beetle found in an alfalfa field in Jasper County. During a busy, meeting-filled winter season that was coming to an end during the Short Course, I had given little thought about how soon our six-legged friends would be demanding our attention. The active bean leaf beetle I held in my hand reminded me that the "insect season" is upon us.

As the growing season kicks into gear with corn planting and with alfalfa and wheat growth, several insects will become noticeable relatively early. Although alfalfa weevils usually are the first field-crop insect pests we deal with every year, white grubs, wireworms, other soil-borne insect pests, and corn flea beetles will make their presence known as soon as corn is planted. And the presence of bean leaf beetles in alfalfa reminds us that early planted soybeans will be invaded by these pests as soon as the seedlings emerge. In an article in issue no. 1 of this Bulletin, Mike Gray addressed the potential effect of our mild winter weather on several of these pests. Obviously, we need to be prepared for and start scouting diligently for early season insect pests as soon as we know their season has begun.
Kevin Steffey (, Extension Entomology, (217)333-6652