Seminole Crop E News

Agricultural News for Farmers and Agribusiness in SW Georgia

Archive for the ‘Entomology’ Category

Question of the Week – Horseshoe Crab

Posted by romeethredge on February 6, 2016

Last week I had a photo of something I found on the beach, a large Horseshoe Crab.  This one’s probably a female since they are usually a third larger than the males. They are amazing creatures that God created for us and our scientists and doctors are using them in amazing ways to help mankind.

The scientific name is Limulus polyphemus, and it’s found in North America along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts from Maine to Mexico. They are harmless although their tail makes us think of something that stings. They use the tail to turn themselves upright if they get flipped over. They have 10 walking legs and 9 eyes.

 I like them too, because I believe God created things pretty much as they are today and this creature confounds evolutionists. They can’t understand why it hasn’t evolved.

They are extremely important to  biomedicine because their unique, copper-based blue blood contains a substance called Limulus amebocyte lysate. It coagulates in the presence of  bacterial toxins so it’s used to test for sterility of medical equipment and intravenous drugs. The compound eyes of the horseshoe crab has helped us understand human vision.


Now for this week’s question. What is this I found in a dark drawer?



Posted in Entomology | 1 Comment »

Question of the Week – Eastern Toe Biter

Posted by romeethredge on January 29, 2016

Last week I had a photo of a large insect I’ve often seen, but that amazes me every time I see one. It’s the Eastern Toe Biter aka Giant Waterbug.  They aren’t  beetles but are true bugs like the stinkbug. They are able to inflict a painful bite with their strong beak, and may also pinch with their front legs. They prey on aquatic insects, small fish, frogs, tadpoles, small birds, and other organisms they are able to capture in the water. Powerful enzymes are injected into prey to kill them. They are considered a delicacy in Asia.



Here’s this week’s question. What is this animal I found last week and why is it important and special? This was one of the largest I’ve come across.


Posted in Agriculture, Entomology | 2 Comments »

Question of the Week – Indian Blanket

Posted by romeethredge on January 22, 2016

Last week I had a photo of a wildflower growing on sand dunes at Grayton beach. It was Indian Blanket, Indian Blanketflower, aka Firewheel.

This is a tough plant being heat- and drought-tolerant.  It can flower year round in parts of its range. Native to much of the continential United States.


This week I have an entomology question. What is this insect I found on the beach?


Posted in Agriculture, Entomology | Tagged: | 4 Comments »

Question of the Week – Green Cuban Cockroach

Posted by romeethredge on December 31, 2015

 The word is that the Green Cuban Cockroach (Panchlora nivea) aka Green Banana Cockroach, first got to the US on shipments of fruit from the Caribbean. Like most cockroaches, it is nocturnal. It is a strong flyer and is drawn to bright lights at night. This species does not breed in houses and prefers to remain outdoors if possible. It reaches a maximum length of about 2″, usually about an inch long. The immature is dark brown.  I have not seen many here in South Georgia but this one, last week was in the bed of my truck.


This week’s question is about this structure that Daddy and I recently saw and can you tell me what it is and where is it?


Posted in Agriculture, Entomology | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

Question of the Week – Lacewing

Posted by romeethredge on December 23, 2015

Last week I had a photo of a beneficial insect, the lacewing. It comes in several varieties, this is the Green lacewing. There is the closely related Goldeneyed lacewing and a brown one, too.  One of God’s beautiful creations. The larvae looks like a little alligator and stays busy eating up bad bugs so we are always glad to see them.

Here’s a photo of the larva eating sugarcane aphids taken by Andrew Sawyer, Thomas County Agent.



This week I have another insect ID question. I found this insect in the back of my truck. What is it?


Posted in Entomology | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

Question of the Week – Sunn Hemp

Posted by romeethredge on December 17, 2015

Last week I had a photo of a plant I wanted you to identify. It is Sunn Hemp, Crotalaria juncea, not to be confused with Showy crotalaria, Crotalaria spectablis.

The old Showy Crotalaria was planted here many years ago as a rotation crop, it is a legume. I believe the shade tobacco growers used it some.  The only problem is that it is poisonous to livestock. I still often see some volunteer plants growing in many locations. Here’s a link to a post I made about it a while back.


Sunn Hemp is used in some cover crop mixes for summer use. University of Florida has some useful information about it in their brochures, Management of Nematodes and Soil Fertility with Sunn Hemp Cover Crop1and Sunn Hemp for a Cover CropFullscreen capture 12142015 115654 AM

 Here’s some excerpts.

“Sunn Hemp is a rapidly growing crop that is used for fiber production in India and Pakistan. It is most popular as a green manure in many tropical and subtropical areas in the world as an organic nitrogen source. Recently, there is a growing interest in rotating sunn hemp with cotton in the southern United States and in using sunn hemp as a summer cover crop in Florida and other southeastern states. Sunn hemp suppresses weeds, slows soil erosion, and reduces root-knot nematode populations . When plowed under at early bloom stage, nitrogen recovery is the highest. Under optimum growing conditions such as in Hawaii, ‘Tropic Sun’ sunn hemp can produce 134 to 147 lb/acre of nitrogen (N) and 3 tons/acre air-dry organic matter at 60 days of growth at 40 kg seed/ha (Rotar and Joy, 1983).

In northern Florida, sunn hemp is usually grown in the summer and can produce 2.4 tons/acre of dry biomass and 98 to 125 lb N/acre (Marshall, 2002). In southwestern Alabama, plants grown for 9 to 12 weeks produced 2.6 tons/acre dry-matter and 112 lb N/acre (Reeves et al., 1996). Although in the tropics, ‘Tropic Sun’ grows and produces seed year-round at elevations of 0 to 900 ft, and in summer up to 1800 ft, sunn hemp does not set seed well in Florida (R. Gallaher, personal communication). Sunn hemp is usually planted in summer in Florida (Rotar and Joy, 1983), but it is suitable as a green manure crop as far north as Maryland.

Suppression of plant-parasitic nematodes by Crotalaria spp. has been known for decades. Godfrey (1928) noted that sunn hemp had few root galls from infection with root-knot nematodes. Most of the plant-parasitic nematodes suppressed by Crotalaria are sedentary endoparasitic nematodes, which are nematodes that remain and feed in one place within the root system. These include root-knot, soybean cyst  and reniform  nematodes (Wang et al., 2002). Some migratory nematodes such as sting , stubby root , dagger, and burrowing nematodes were also suppressed by other plants in the genus Crotalaria…”

This week I have another question for you. What is this insect and is it good to have on the farm or not?


Posted in Agriculture, Entomology | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

Kissing Bugs and Chagas Disease

Posted by romeethredge on November 27, 2015

I’m seeing lots of news about the Kissing Bug and UGA Entomology’s Nancy Hinkle just shared this good information about it. We have a lot of bugs that look like the kissing bug but are different. There’s not much to worry about from them in Georgia.

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Kissing bugs have been in Georgia for maybe millions of years.  They, and their relatives such as leaf-footed bugs and wheel bugs, are common.  Kissing bugs are not deadly and most of them are not infected with the parasite that causes Chagas disease.

The Chagas disease parasite is transmitted only by the feces of specific kissing bugs.  In other words, being bitten by the bug will not harm you but rubbing the bug’s excrement in your eyes might make you sick.
While Chagas disease is not uncommon in Central and South America, only 23 cases acquired here in the U.S. have been reported in the last 60 years.  Areas of Texas just north of Mexico have lots of infected kissing bugs, and that’s why Texas is in the news.

For us here in the Southeast, the risk isn’t being bitten by a kissing bug (very little chance of that).  The riskier behavior would be cleaning up raccoon, opossum, skunk or armadillo nests; that’s where the bugs live and where kissing bug feces are most concentrated.   The animals aren’t the risk, nor is the bite of the bug; we can get infected with Chagas disease only by getting the bug’s feces inside us – through a break in the skin, through swallowing, through inhalation, or through rubbing our eyes.  Again, not much risk if we stay away from the nests of wild animals.
Not every potential reservoir is infected.  Here in the Southeast very few of the bugs carry the parasite.  In the U.S. we are more likely to die in an automobile accident than to ever in our whole lives get infected with Chagas disease.

What can you do?  Keep bugs out of your home by turning off porch lights at night to avoid attracting the bugs.  Seal around doors and windows with weather-stripping and replace door sweeps; if cold air can’t get in, neither can kissing bugs.  And, of course, freezing cold nights are sending kissing bugs into hibernation, so the risk is even lower this time of year.
Give thanks for your cozy home that protects you from kissing bugs.

Posted in Entomology | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Question of the week – Monarch Butterfly – Migration

Posted by romeethredge on November 19, 2015

Last week I had a photo of some butterflies we saw down on the coast of Florida. They were abundant due to it being migration time for them. They were getting ready to fly over the Gulf of Mexico to their wintering grounds. What an amazing creation the Monarch is!

Here’s more information from the University of Florida concerning them.

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“The monarch is the only butterfly species in the world to undertake a long-distance roundtrip migration. Each fall, monarchs west of the Rocky Mountains travel to specific sites on the California coast, while monarchs from the eastern U.S. and southern Canada undertake a much longer journey, up to 3,000 miles, to wintering grounds in the mountains of central Mexico (Figure 2). The scope of this migration resembles that of many bird species, and the fact that it is being undertaken by a paper-thin insect weighing less than one gram is truly a source of wonder. Researchers are still uncertain how monarchs navigate their journey, but believe that they use a combination of directional aids such as the magnetic pull of the earth and the position of the sun, rather than a single method. More amazing still, the butterflies that migrate each fall are three or more generations removed from those that made the journey the previous year.

Birds and mammals learn migratory routes from their parents, but monarchs don’t live long enough to “teach” their children how to migrate! The migratory generation originates in the fall with adults living for eight or nine months, just long enough to travel to Mexico or California, endure the winter, and return to the southern U.S. to lay eggs before dying. Over the summer, three or four generations of monarchs are produced. These summer generations have a much shorter lifespan than the migratory generation—only three to five weeks because they devote much of their resources to reproduction. By the end of the summer, the third or fourth generations make their way back to the place their grandparents or great grandparents came from the previous spring.”


Here’s this week’s question… What are these and why are we seeing a good many now in public places in town?IMG_9446

Posted in Entomology | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Aphids in Grazing

Posted by romeethredge on November 18, 2015

We are seeing aphids in winter grazing. I saw an abundance of Bird cherry-oat aphids in a field of oats and a lower number in another field. The warm weather we have had has contributed to high aphid numbers. The bad thing about them is that they cause direct feeding damage and can transmit Barley yellow dwarf disease.  Symptoms in wheat vary from yellowing to reddening or purpling of the upper leaves beginning at the leaf tips and extending backward toward the base. Symptom color varies with the variety and may be similar to those caused by nutrient imbalances.IMG_9463 IMG_9464

Here’s some Barley yellow dwarf on oats that Decatur county agent Kyle Brown and I found today in another field of oats being grown for grazing. . The reddening starts at the tips and is usually in the top of the plants and in spots. Aphids were present in this field as well.

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Posted in Entomology, Plant Pathology | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Sugarcane Aphids in Grain Sorghum

Posted by romeethredge on November 5, 2015

Sugarcane aphids have been a real problem in grain sorghum since they came in last year. Thomas county Agent, Andrew Sawyer had a good poster at a meeting this week and I will post it here. He found a beneficial wasp that is working to help us control the aphid and that’s good news.

Click here to go to directly to Andrew’s excellent Blog.

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Posted in Entomology | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

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