Got wireworms? We will take them.

Greetings friends across Virginia. My graduate student, Hannah Swarm, is researching the ecology and management of wireworms in Virginia. Wireworms are the subterranean larval stage of click beetles and can be quite damaging to many crops including potato, sweetpotato, corn, grains, carrot, hemp, to name a few.

For one of her research objectives, we are hoping to document the different species of wireworms that are found in the different regions of the state (Coastal, Piedmont, mountains).

If you happen to have a decent field where we could come visit and dig around the outside perimeter and collect wireworms, we would greatly appreciate it. Please, email us: and We are collecting during the months of April and May. Many thanks.

Cereal leaf beetle egg peak for Suffolk, VA (2024 season)

Yield reductions in small grains can result from cereal leaf beetle larvae feeding on leaf photosynthetic tissue. Infestations in Virginia are sporadic, but if you scout for them I wanted to share the following information. A temperature-based model indicates that Suffolk (Virginia) will reach the egg peak for this pest on March 22, 2024 (that’s the day when 182 degree days have accumulated). The model uses January 1 as a biofix; a lower development threshold of 8℃, and an upper development threshold of 25℃.

Eggs are yellow-orange, elliptical, about 1/32-inch long, and are often found along the midvein of the leaf.

Cereal leaf beetle eggs

The larval peak follows the egg peak by an average of 17.5 days, which is predicted to fall during the second week of April for Suffolk.

Cereal leaf beetle larvae

To scout for cereal leaf beetle, inspect 10 tillers (stems) in at least 10 different sites. If you are seeing mostly eggs, you should scout again in 5-7 days when some have hatched into small larvae. The eggs may be parasitized. Virginia’s threshold is 25 eggs + small larvae (total) per 100 tillers. At least half of that 25 should be larvae. An insecticide spray, if needed, should target the newly-hatched larvae. There is only one generation per year.

Introducing the MyIPM App for vegetables

Commercial vegetable producers have a new tool to assist with integrated pest management (IPM) of diseases and insects in vegetables. MyIPM for Vegetables is the newest resource in the MyIPM app series ( for smartphones and smart devices. It currently includes modules for diseases and insects of cucurbits and tomatoes, and additional vegetable crops are planned to be added in the future. Modules contain images and descriptions of diseases and insects; information on available chemical, biological, and cultural management methods for each disease/insect; and tables of labeled fungicides and insecticides that include active ingredients, product names, FRAC/IRAC codes, efficacy, application rates, preharvest intervals (PHIs), and restricted-entry intervals (REIs). Links to additional resources may also be included.

App content is focused on commercial vegetable production in the southeastern U.S., but users outside the southeastern U.S. and home gardens may also find information in the app useful. The development of MyIPM for Vegetables content was led by vegetable entomology and plant pathology specialists from universities within the southeastern U.S. who are part of the Southeastern Vegetable Extension Workers (SEVEW). The SEVEW are also responsible for the popular Southeast U.S. Vegetable Crop Handbook (www.vegcrophandbook) that has been a key resource for commercial vegetable producers in the southeastern U.S. for over 20 years. Author and image credits for specific disease or insect profiles and pictures are available at

MyIPM for Vegetables is not intended to replace product labels. It is meant to be a tool to help vegetable producers make informed IPM decisions. Pesticide users should always read and follow label instructions prior to use. Product labels may change. Product rates may differ depending on the site of application (e.g., field or greenhouse) or type of application (e.g., foliar-applied or soil-applied. Check product labels for additional instructions, precautions, and/or restrictions not listed in the app. Also, check the state registration status of products prior to purchase and use; products may not be registered for use in all states.

MyIPM for Vegetables is free to download for Apple (Apple Store) and Android devices (Google Play). Content is downloaded directly to phones/devices; an Internet connection or cellular signal is not required to access content once it is downloaded. Updates, however, do require an Internet connection or cell signal, and notifications will pop up when updates for downloaded modules and the appropriate Internet/cell connection is available. The MyIPM series began with MyIPM Fruit & Nut that was originally developed by Clemson University in 2012 for peaches and strawberries; the app has since expanded to include other small fruits, tree fruits, and pecans. Other apps in the series include MyIPM Row Crops and MyIPM Hawaii. The Southern Region IPM Center maintains the databases for the MyIPM series apps.


This work is partially supported by the Southern IPM Center (Project S23-043) as part of the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture Crop Protection and Pest Management Regional Coordination Program (Agreement No. 2022-70006-38002).


Prepared by Dr. Rebecca A. Melanson, Associate Extension Professor, Plant Pathology, Central Mississippi Research and Extension Center; Dr. Thomas Kuhar, Department of Entomology, Virginia Tech; Dr. Tom Bilbo, Coastal Research and Education Center, Clemson University; and Ms. Inga Meadows, Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology, North Carolina State University.

Latest on chlorpyrifos (Lorsban) regulations from EPA

EPA has finally issued a statement on the revocation of tolerances for chlorpyrifos. For this year, 2024, chlorpyrifos can be used on all product labeled crops. In 2025 and beyond, it will only be allowed on 11 specific crops; alfalfa, apple, asparagus, cherry (tart), citrus, cotton, peach, soybean, strawberry, sugar beet, and wheat (spring and winter). However, there will be further state restrictions on those 11 tolerances coming soon (e.g. chlorpyrifos will only be allowed on tart cherries in MI).

———- Forwarded message ———
From: U.S. EPA Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention
Date: Fri, Feb 2, 2024 at 1:23 PM
Subject: EPA Update on the Use of the Pesticide Chlorpyrifos on Food

EPA Update on the Use of the Pesticide Chlorpyrifos on Food
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is issuing an update on the use of the pesticide chlorpyrifos on food.

Chlorpyrifos is an organophosphate insecticide used for a large variety of agricultural uses, including soybeans, fruit and nut trees, broccoli, cauliflower, and other row crops, as well as non-food uses. In a final rule issued in August 2021, EPA revoked all tolerances for chlorpyrifos, which establish an amount of a pesticide that is allowed on food. This action effectively stopped the use of the pesticide chlorpyrifos on all food and animal feed. EPA took this action in response to an April 2021 order from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit for the Agency to issue—within 60 days—a final rule addressing the use of chlorpyrifos in food or feed crops, without taking public comment or engaging in “further fact-finding.”

That tolerance revocation rule was challenged by a chlorpyrifos registrant and several grower groups in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. On November 2, 2023, the Eighth Circuit issued a ruling vacating EPA’s final rule and sending the issue of chlorpyrifos tolerances back to EPA for further proceedings. The ruling did not include a timeframe or specific instructions for EPA to take a final action on the use of chlorpyrifos in food or feed crops without public comment.
EPA is issuing a technical correction in the Federal Register that changed the Code of Federal Regulations to reflect the Eighth Circuit’s decision. The Eighth Circuit’s mandate issued on December 28, 2023, finalized the court’s judgment and vacated the Agency’s 2021 rule revoking chlorpyrifos tolerances.

Since the tolerances are currently in effect, growers can now use currently registered chlorpyrifos products on all crops with reinstated tolerances, consistent with directions for use on those product labels. However, such uses may be subject to restrictions by individual states.

The Eighth Circuit’s decision stated that EPA should have considered modifying the tolerances in addition to complete revocation and noted that the Agency had “identified 11 specific candidates” of food and feed crop uses whose tolerances could be modified in a Preliminary Interim Decision EPA issued in 2020. Thus, the Agency expects to expeditiously propose a new rule to revoke the tolerances for all but 11 uses with additional restrictions for geographic location and rate of application to address safety of the tolerances, and potential restrictions for farmworker and other vulnerable populations, and vulnerable species and their habitats. Those 11 uses are: alfalfa, apple, asparagus, cherry (tart), citrus, cotton, peach, soybean, strawberry, sugar beet, wheat (spring), and wheat (winter). These 11 uses were identified in the December 2020 Chlorpyrifos Proposed Interim Decision and represented about 55% of the total chlorpyrifos usage (average annual pounds applied) on agricultural commodities between 2014-2018.

EPA is also engaged in discussions with registrants of chlorpyrifos products to further reduce exposures associated with these 11 uses of chlorpyrifos. EPA will also consider the 2020 Proposed Interim Decision and public comments received on that document.
At this time, any existing final cancelation orders, including any terms for sale, distribution, and use of existing stocks of products subject to those cancelation orders and related return programs for chlorpyrifos products, remain in place, unless and until amended by EPA.
EPA will continue to update the public as it evaluates and takes any actions related to chlorpyrifos use.
For more information, view the Federal Register Notice.

Peanut Burrower Bug in Virginia peanuts

Peanut Burrower Bugs (Pangaeus bilineatus) have been collected and identified, by the Virginia Tech Insect Identification Laboratory, on the Tidewater AREC farm. Peanut burrower bugs are a subterranean pests that feed on pods and pegs of developing peanuts. Burrower bugs have most likely been around for a while but Lorsban (active ingredient is chlorpyrifos) was controlling their populations. Since the removal of Lorsban (chlorpyrifos) from market shelves, there are no effective chemical controls for producers. Damage caused by the peanut burrower bugs looks similar to stink bug damage. This damage is only seen when peanuts are shelled. The skin is removed at buying points by graders: The insect does not leave an indicator of damage on the shell of the peanut. Peanut burrower bug is more of an issue in hot dry years, and they are just as sporadic as southern corn rootworm.

In terms of prevention, there is no chemical control with the loss of lorsban. Some producers have gone back to using a moldboard plow and completely turning over the soil. Some producers have been planting earlier hoping for a thicker hull development earlier in the season. Damage is minimal in Suffolk, VA, but it is something to keep in mind.

Peanut burrower bugs can cause a wide range of damage, which is not visible until after the peanuts are harvested and shelled.
Peanut burrower bug poses a complex problem for producers | Colquitt County Ag Report (
Peanut Burrower Bug (

Corn earworm update for September 7, 2023

Black light trap captures for corn earworm moths averaged 15 per night in Greensville and 10 per night in Suffolk this week. Here is the Table. Our adult corn earworm cypermethrin vial tests are at 20% survival for the 5 microgram/vial rate of this pyrethroid insecticide (n = 754 moths tested, Suffolk, VA). I’m sweep netting high numbers of corn earworm larvae in R5 soybean at our research center, along with an increasing soybean looper population.

Update on some pest moth activity around Virginia – to end the month of August 2023

We continue to monitor corn earworm, fall armyworm, and beet armyworm at several locations around Virginia. On the Eastern Shore, Helene Doughty observed the following this week: Very low (less than 4 moths per week at several of the Northampton County locations, but 34 CEW moths caught in Painter, VA in Accomack County. Fall armyworm activity has been low throughout Virginia, but Helene did pick up on increased numbers (13 moths) in a bucket trap in Townsend, VA. which is the highest so far this year, but still relatively low. In addition, Helene is monitoring for beet armyworm moth, which can deposit eggs on many different crops from soybeans, cotton, and vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, beans, beets, and spinach. There were high numbers of BAW moths (218) caught in Painter, VA this week. So be on the lookout for this pest. I’ve noticed over the years that they will often attack pigweed and lambsquarters weeds before infesting cash crops.

Hartstack trap on the Eastern Shore of Virginia with nearly 800 corn earworm moths (earlier in August). Photo from Helene Doughty.

In Clover, VA (Halifax County), Mr. Bill Tiver has been monitoring for CEW moths all summer in his commercial sweet corn and has experienced relatively high catch most of the summer. This week he caught 174 CEW moths coming off of 228 moths last week. These are high numbers and has resulted in high CEW pest pressure. He told me that he has sprayed his sweet corn every 3 days, but has still suffered about 15% ears infested with CEW larvae. We don’t have all the information nailed down for thresholds yet, but moth catch over 100 probably suggests that your spray interval should be reduced to every two days. I know, easier said than done, but we can definitely reach heavy CEW flights, which command frequent controls, especially on non-Bt sweet corn.

Corn earworm in sweet corn ear.

In Blacksburg, we have not caught very many CEW moths in our sweet corn (< 5 moths per week), but several harvests of our plots this week yielded about 60-75% ears infested in our untreated control plots, despite low CEW moth trap catch. So, it is hard to figure out what trap catch really means.

European pepper moth – a new pest of vegetables in Virginia

By: Taylore Sydnor (graduate student), Tom Kuhar, and Alejandro Del Pozo (Department of Entomology, Virginia Tech)

The European pepper moth, Duponchelia fovealis, is native to southern Europe and became established on the west coast of the U.S. in 2010. Since, it has been reported in at least 15 states, including as a greenhouse ornamental pest in Virginia a few years ago.  We’ve not heard much more about this invasive species until this summer when numerous pepper plants grown at Virginia Tech’s Homefield Farm in Whitethorne, VA began dying from girdling at the base of stems.  The plants were mature and full of developing pepper fruit, which made it very frustrating. 

Girdling damage to pepper stem from European pepper moth.

With the help of several folks on the ORNAENT Digest Listserv, the problem was diagnosed.  A European pepper moth pupa was found in one of the plants.  Dr. Alejandro Del Pozo from the Virginia Tech Hampton Roads AREC has been monitoring for this pest in nurseries in eastern Virginia and shared some pheromone lures.  This week we captured some EPM moths on delta traps placed in the pepper field at Homefield.  

European pepper moth caught on sticky panel. Grid squares are 1 inch.

Although we have not 100% confirmed the identity of the moths, but they appear to look exactly like what has been described in the literature – based on size and color patterns; and given that that these moths oriented right to the lure septa containing the sex pheromone of EPM, I’m pretty sure that we have this species attacking peppers in Virginia, especially given the distinct conspicuous girdling damage that we observed. This seems to be pretty indicative of EPM. 

What do we know about this pest?

EPM larva photo from :

It is a significant pest of ornamental plants and pepper crops. The larvae cause chewing damage to the stems, roots, flowers, and base leaves of crops. The damage appears as crescent-shaped holes on the outer edge of the foliage. The holes left by the larvae can facilitate fungal infection. They produce silk and can be found on the underside of leaves and on the soil surface by the main stem of the plant. We observed mostly stem girdling damage, which ultimately killed many plants.  The European pepper moth larvae can be hard to detect due to small size. Large numbers of this insect can cause significant damage to the crop. It can easily spread through the movement of cut foliage and potted plants. The adult European pepper moth is small (~9-12 mm long) and is brown in color with two distinctive gold bands on the forewings. A female adult moth can lay up to 200 eggs and are white/green in color. A number of insecticides have been shown to provide effective control including diamides, spinosad, pyrethroids, acephate, and Bt among others. Insecticides should target early instar larvae before feeding.   Monitoring for the moth with pheromone lures and delta traps was effective for detecting this invasive pest species. 

Reference used:

Video tutorial on how to scout for Japanese maple scale crawlers

Crawlers are the most vulnerable stage to control the Japanese maple scale under nursery conditions. Monitoring crawler activity throughout the growing season will aid to refine the timing of deployment of any control tactic.

Graduate student Mollie Wyatt (Virginia Tech, Entomology Department) took the lead on creating a video showing us the step-by-step process on how to do the ‘tape method’ for monitoring crawler activity for this pest in ornamental trees.

You can click on the link below to access to a short version of this video. You might need an actual computer to watch that clip. The full version will be posted soon on our VCE website. Stay tune! Funding to support this project was provided by the Southern IPM Center and USDA NIFA.