Caseload at the UW Insect Diagnostic Lab (IDL) has been very high with over 200 diagnostic requests at the lab over the last two weeks. A summary of recent fruit crop insects reported to the lab as well as important insects to scout for can be found below:
Spongy moth (formerly known as “gypsy moth”): Spongy moth reports continue to come in from south-central and southeastern Wisconsin. Many caterpillars are now decent sized (1-1.5 inches), so they’ll be causing more notable damage over the next few weeks. Interestingly, I’m still getting quite a few reports of small caterpillars (~ ½ inch long), so these caterpillars will likely be feeding into July. While some parts of the state have been seeing significant spongy moth issues this year, the rainy conditions could end up helping us out by encouraging the beneficial fungus Entomophaga maimaiga to kick in and knock back spongy moth populations.
Eastern tent caterpillars: Reports of eastern tent caterpillars continue to trickle in to the IDL, especially from the northern half of the state.
Black cherry aphid: I’ve recently had a few cases of these dark-colored aphids on cherry trees from central and southcentral Wisconsin.
Variegated Cutworms: These caterpillars can be an occasional pests of fruit crops. I recently had a report of damage to strawberries in south-central Wisconsin.
Slugs: While not insects, I often see slug reports come through the UW Insect Diagnostic Lab. I’ve now had a few reports of slug damage to strawberry crops in southwestern Wisconsin. Slugs thrive under damp conditions, so this year’s rainfall has likely been helping them out. Site conditions that maintain high moisture levels (such as plant debris, weeds, heavy groundcovers, etc.) could create additional habitat for slugs.
Currant pests: I’ve recently had reports of damage from the currant spanworm (an impressive black, white, and yellow inchworm) and four-lined plant bugs on currants in southcentral Wisconsin.
Reminder about diagnostic support from the IDL: Growers and consultants in need of insect diagnostic services are always welcome to submit a sample to the UW Insect Diagnostic Lab. Lab services are provided free of charge. You can find additional information about the IDL here: insectlab.russell.wisc.eduThis article was posted in Insects and tagged black cherry aphid, currant pests, eastern tent caterpillar, four-lined plant bugs, Insect Diagnostic Lab, insects, PJ Liesch, slugs, spongy moth, variegated cutworms.