This past week I was out doing some alfalfa scouting and collected a lygus bug that just seemed “off” and an alfalfa looper that appeared to be in its final instar. I brought back the lygus just to observe it and the next morning, there was a fly pupa in the container with it. The maggot had emerged from the lygus during the night causing the lygus to die. As for the alfalfa looper, I was hoping to have it pupate so I could see the adult moth, but after a single day of making its cocoon, a parasitic wasp larvae emerged. So there will be no adult moth to see but instead about 50 little parasitic wasps. I was also finding parasitized aphids throughout all the fields sampled. These are just 3 examples of how nature aids in the control of our crop pests. I could go on and on because I find it very fascinating, but there is actual work to be done. Feel free to contact me if you want to know more about Biocontrol options, or crop scouting opportunities.
Lisa Brain, Entomologist (509) 731-4486.