Monitoring and Reporting Insect Pests in Cole Crops and Sweet Corn: VegNet (2014)

Report to the Oregon Processed Vegetable Commission

Ed Peachey and Jessica Green
OSU Dept of Hort

Executive Summary
For the past 18 years, processed vegetable growers in the Willamette Valley, OR have had a vital partner in crop pest monitoring – Oregon State University’s VegNet. This regional pest monitoring program provides weekly activity reports for common broccoli, cauliflower, sweet corn, and snap bean pests. Data is published on and is available as an email subscription newsletter. The main goal of the program is to provide an early warning to growers of potential outbreaks that may warrant increased field scouting and action.

Insect trap data collected over 18 years allows comparison of current insect trends with historical averages. When pheromone traps detect an increased level of adult moths compared to historical averages, we consider that to be an ‘egg-laying event’, and depending on the reproductive biology of the pest species, we can predict that larval damage may be evident in the days or weeks following an event. Growers are encouraged to ramp-up field scouting efforts (sweep netting, leaf samples, etc.) to determine if the regional trend is relevant to their plantings.

Black cutworm and corn earworm trap catches were well-above historical averages in 2014, indicative of outbreak years. Losses due to damage from corn earworm were significant for some growers, but primarily because of increased bird damage that often follows corn ear worm damage. Western spotted cucumber beetle populations also were high this year, especially late in the season. Because a proportion of beetles overwinter, it is likely that we will see increased numbers early in spring 2015.