AMES, Iowa ― While harvest season has begun for certain vegetable crops, care needs to be shown to those still growing. Actively growing crops, such as broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts and kale, need to be monitored for pests who still have time to cause damage before harvest.
Common pests on these late-season crops and their management is the focus of “Don’t Let Your Guard Down: Fall Insect Pests of Cole Crops,” an article that can be found in the September issue of Iowa State University Extension and Outreach’s Acreage Living Newsletter.
The article is written by Ajay Nair, associate professor and extension vegetable production specialist at Iowa State.
“When the growing season for crops like tomatoes, peppers and egg plant is coming to an end, it’s natural to become a bit complacent about other crops,” Nair said. “If growers aren’t scouting properly, it’s easy to miss insect pests that can affect their fall plants.
“Actively scout fields weekly throughout the season for damage and take appropriate measures to limit that damage. Check plants carefully, even if no feeding damage is apparent, to look for eggs that will hatch into small caterpillars several days to a week later.”
The article focuses on three specific insect pests: imported cabbageworm, cabbage looper and aphids.
“Both imported cabbageworm and cabbage looper defoliate the plant,” Nair said. “They will chew on leaves and make holes; that’s a strong indicator there is a pest there. The other thing to look for are white butterflies with two black spots on their wings, that’s an adult imported cabbage worm.”
Basic Bt spray, an organic insecticide, can help control these pests.
September’s issue of the Acreage Living Newsletter also contains articles on expanded agriculture literacy efforts across Iowa, mile-a-minute weeds, managing rental income, chronic wasting disease in deer and a fall weather outlook.