Category Archives: Crops

Answers to questions about squash bugs and squash borers

Now that everyone is getting back out into the garden, we are getting lots of questions about how to prevent and treat squash pests. Our Virginia Cooperative Extension publications do a great job explaining how and when to treat-note that treatments are always more effective when they are applied at the insect life cycles or stages noted in the publications! This may explain why some people did not see results last year-for example, they may have been treating adult squash bugs which are harder to kill than nymphs.

Squash bug publication

Squash vine borer publication


Got a question this week regarding some “bugs” feeding on asparagus. They turned out to be asparagus beetles which are often a problem in asparagus, but I thought I’d take this opportunity to share some resources regarding asparagus and its pests. Hope you find it helpful!

Asparagus: General Info

Getting Started in Asparagus Productions

Part 1: Asparagus Varieties

Part 3: Harvest

Part 4: Field Care

Pests of Asparagus

Asparagus Beetle

Asparagus Beetles on Asparagus


Kudzu Bug Spread

In case you were wondering what we’ve been up to regarding the kudzu bug invasion…here’s the latest.

Monitoring Kudzu Bug Emergence and Overwintering

                   traptrap with bugs

In mid-March 2014, over 50 Virginia Cooperative Extension Agents and Virginia Tech Faculty and Staff began monitoring a 51-county network of sticky traps to determine overwintering emergence of kudzu bug in Virginia.  Trap operators were instructed to position the traps in any open area (e.g., open fields or lawns in urban or rural settings).  The trap consisted of 4-inch diameter PVC pipe, 18-inch long, with an end cap on top, suspended approximately 6 inches above the ground using a support stake (Fig. 1).  A 12-inch band of sticky paper (Stable Fly Sticky Sleeve, Great Lakes IPM) was fitted all the way around the PVC pipe.  Trap operators were instructed to check the trap two or three times per week for presence of kudzu bugs and to change sticky paper weekly.  Data, including zeros, are being recorded until the date of first capture of kudzu bugs for each county.  Visual reports of kudzu bugs by the trap operators are also accepted for first capture data.  To date, 14 trap operators in 13 counties have detected kudzu bugs (Fig. 2).  Most reports have come from southeast Virginia.  Some traps have caught one or two insects, while others have trapped many (Fig. 1).  Although it is premature to make any comments about ‘trends’, traps that are located adjacent to areas (kudzu patches, last year’s soybean fields) where kudzu bug numbesr were high last year are the traps that have caught insects.  Also, generally, traps are catching insects on the warmest days.


Kudzu bug pdf version

For more information on Kudzu Bugs and their impact on Virginia Agriculture, check out the links below:

TOMORROW: Produce Auction & Grain Sorghum Meeting (Rescheduled)


**First produce auction of the year in Cullen, VA: Vegetable starts, potted plants, and YOUNG FRUIT TREES (apple, peach, plum, and cherry!). Starts at 10am, get there before to browse and get an apple fry pie.

**Grain Sorghum Meeting in Blackstone, VA: Management, varieties, disease, marketing, and rotations. This was rescheduled from the snow day earlier in the year. 9:30am at the research station. Please let us know if you have not already RSVPed.

Sorghum Meeting Flyer (2)

Ellwood Thompson’s Food Hub: Farm Incubator Opportunity for Small and Beginning Farmers


ET Food Hub Explained
ET Food Hub Farmer Application – Due March 31

Dear Potential ET Food Hub Beginning farmer partner:

 Did you know that over half of all beginning farm businesses fail within the first 5 years of operation?  Ellwood Thompsons (ET) Produce Educator-Heather DeMascio and Virginia State University College of Agriculture (VSU-COA) Cooperative Extension-Dr. Theresa Nartea are teaming together to make a positive change in increasing the success rate for Virginia beginning farm businesses. 

 VSU-COA and ET are working together to develop an ET Food Hub model targeted at priority purchasing from minority and women farmers who have owned and operated their farm for less than five years and who farm within a 100 mile driving distance from the ET store located at 4 N Thompson St, Richmond, VA 23221.  Through an unique partnership with VSU-COA, selected farmer applicants will receive educational training to successfully sell directly to ET and develop their diversified marketing strategy to ensure continuing business success.

Dr. Theresa Nartea & Heather DeMascio

Free Presentation on the History of the Tobacco and the Buyout

Monday, March 31 at 6:00pm
Southside Virginia Community College

Have you ever wondered why tobacco has been such an important part of the Southside economy? Have you heard of the Tobacco Buyout that drastically changed the industry in 2004? If so, have you ever wondered how it impacted the farm families that have raised tobacco for generations?

Join Dr. Dixie Dalton and SVCC in the ag policy class Monday night at 6pm (Room C-2 in Alberta, Room 71 in Keysville, AGR rooms at SWCC and PHCC) for a brief discussion of the buy-out, followed by a Jim Crawford documentary that looks at the impact on our farm families. Bring your popcorn, milk duds, and coke, and join us. All are welcome!

Grain Sorghum Meeting Rescheduled for April 15th

The Grain Sorghum Grower Meeting that was cancelled on March 3rd due to snow has been rescheduled for April 15th. It will take place at the Southern Piedmont AREC and lunch will be served. Registration is at 9:30 and the event will run from 10-1:30. Please RSVP to Laura Siegle one week in advance for the meal headcount. Call (804) 561-2481 or email Contact us for a copy of the 2013 variety data.Sorghum Meeting Flyer (2)

Sorghum Production Meeting CANCELLED

Due to the potential for dangerous travel weather tomorrow for our speakers and attendees, our Grain Sorghum Growers Meeting scheduled for tomorrow, Monday, at 10:00 at the Southern Piedmont AREC will be CANCELLED. We will keep you posted if we are able to reschedule, but in the meantime, don’t forget to attend the upcoming Wheat and Soybean Meeting on March 12th in Dundas. Call (434) 738-6191 ext. 4371 to register.

Please call or email Laura at or 804-313-5396 if you have questions.