Archive for May, 2011

The Mexican rice borer (MRB) has now been found near Lake Charles, LA.  This link will take you to an LSU AgCenter press release that provides the latest update: http://www.lsuagcenter.com/news_archive/2011/may/headline_news/Mexican-rice-borer-advances-in-La.htm

Fortunately, LSU AgCenter Professor Gene Reagan has conducted intensive research on this pest for the past ten years, and we are prepared with management options in hand and ready to use as needed.  He has provided an Agent training in Texas for a number of years.  Following is a link to a blog posting about the most recent site visit.  Within the blog you will find a link to the handout, which contains information on recent management recommendations:


It is important that you learn to identify this pest, and distinguish it from other borers that can be found in rice or cane. You can study up on the pest by downloading these two LSU AgCenter numbered pubs:

This publication includes images of SCB and MRB for comparison:


This publication provides images of MRB:


Following is a Louisiana Agriculture article that includes the latest information on MRB research that has been generated by Dr. Reagan’s lab:


In sugarcane, there are a number of recommended management practices to prevent injury from MRB.

In rice, the seed treatment Dermacor X-100 should provide control of this pest. Pyrethroids can also be used, but timing of application is critical. It is necessary to detect an infestation when larvae are still feeding in the sheath area. Once the larvae penetrate the stem, pyrethroid insecticides will not provide acceptable control because they are not able to come into contact with the larva.

If you find a larvae in rice or cane and suspect that it is MRB, please call me and we can arrange to pick up the sample.

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On Friday, Nick and I made the trek to West Carroll Parish in north Louisiana to scout a rice field that Richard Costello had called me about on Thursday. The field was initially thought to be suffering from herbicide drift injury.

Field infested with thrips.

LSU AgCenter County Agent Myrl Sistrunk had called Weed Scientist Bill Williams out to investigate. Upon a detailed inspection they found a damaging infestation of thrips.

The thrips could easily be found on virtually every plant we inspected. The best scouting method for thrips is to visually inspect plants. The thrips were often found on the leaf sheath near the collar or inside the leaf sheath.

Thrip on leaf blade near collar - this is a typical location to find them on the plant.

They will quickly run/hop when disturbed. You can also tap plants onto a white sheet of paper and look for the thrips on the paper.

Thrip on rice leaf blade.

I learned first-hand that they will in fact “bite” you with their rasping mouthparts. They annoyed us for most of the ride home. Thrips injure plants by using a scraping mouthpart to macerate (tear) the leaf tissue. They then extract the plant liquids. This causes desiccation and would typically not be a problem, except for the dry, windy conditions we are experiencing this season.

Thrip feeding injury on a rice leaf. In many cases there were streaks of white near the leaf tip.

I have not had the chance to confirm the species yet, but it looks like they may be tobacco thrips. The infestation and plant damage in this particular field is disconcerting because the field is CruiserMaxx treated hybrid planted at a 25 pound seeding rate. The situation is complicated by the fact that the field has received about 10 inches of rain since planting. This was received in five separate rain events.

 The field started to head south after a flush was applied about a week ago. At this point the field is very dry and plants appear to be desiccating and stressed from the thrips feeding on the leaves. The field isn’t ready to hold a flood yet. We could not find any natural enemies in the field, and due to the ongoing injury caused by the thrips feeding I recommended a pyrethroid application to knock back the thrips population and buy some time before flood.

Also, the lack of apparent activity against the thrips caused some concern about the ability of the CruiserMaxx to provide effective control of rice water weevil larvae after application of permanent flood.  They may consider a second application of pyrethroid at permanent flood if weevil adults are present in the field. Overall the field still has a good stand of rice, which appears to be thicker than many hybrid rice fields I have scouted this season.

On our way back to Baton Rouge we took the levee road and witnessed the Morganza Spillway flooded with water.

You can see in this picture how close the water came to the top of the levee - just south of Vidalia, north of Blackhawk Farm.

We also saw some deer grazing in a soybean field that was mostly flooded. If you’ve read Johnny Saichuk’s field note for this week you’ll notice that we observed the same herd of deer. Apparently they are well-settled in this field. It looks like whatever the water doesn’t take, the deer will finish off.  

I have more pictures to share, but I don’t have the files with me at the moment.

Also, this week I had reports of sugarcane beetles, armyworms, chinch bugs, and colaspis in Louisiana rice. Many of these early-season insect pests should go away as we approach permanent flood. Then we’ll need to make sure good plans are in place for rice water weevil management.

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The summer rice field meeting season will kick off in Louisiana next week. Below is a list of the meetings and tentative agendas (if they are available). I hope to see you at some of the meetings. Please contact your local County Agent to confirm times, locations and speakers for meetings.

Evangeline Parish LSU AgCenter Cooperative Extension Service Annual Rice Field Clinic Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Evangeline Parish LSU AgCenter Cooperative Extension Service will hold its Annual Rice Field Clinic Tuesday, May 24, 2011 beginning at 7:30 a.m.  This year’s clinic will feature variety trials, fertilization, weed, insects and diseases of rice.

Please join us on this day for a morning rice field clinic.  We will meet at the  Kody & Larry Bieber farm bins to begin the clinic with registration at 7:30. We will have some refreshments and snacks available on the site. The field clinic presentations will start at 8:00 am with the following agenda.

8:00—8:30      Variety Development at the variety plots along the road, Drs. Linscombe & Sha

Under the oak trees at the bins:

8:40—8:55        Ms. Karen Nix—Rice Insecticide Trials & Research project

8:55—9:15        Dr Saichuk—Growing Season Update, Field Situations

9:15—9:35        Dr. Salassi—Market Update 

9:35—9:55        Dr Webster—Herbicide Application Updates; Other ??

9:55—10:15      Dr. Groth—Fungicides; New Products,  Application Rates, Timing\

10:15—10:35    Dr. Harrell—Agronomy Research Plot Work

Plenty of refreshments and snacks will be served, courtesy of RiceTec seed.  Even though you may not be able to stay for the entire meeting, we would like to have you visit with us as long as you can.

The LSU AgCenter prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disabilities, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital or family status.   Persons with disabilities, who require alternative means for communication of program information or other assistance, should contact the Evangeline Parish office of the LSU AgCenter at (337) 363-5646.

For more information, contact Keith A. Fontenot, County Agent/Parish Chairman.

2011 Southwest Rice Tour will be held on Wed. June 1st in Fenton and Welsh. 

Information will be provided on all aspects of rice production.  All interested person are invited to attend.  The following is the program for the field day:

9:00 – 9:30                   Coffee and Registration, Fenton CO-OP, Fenton

9:30 – 9:40                   Travel to Mr. Jimmy Hoppe’s Farm

9:40 – 10:00                 Rice varieties, Dr. Steve Linscombe and Dr. Sha Xueyan, Rice Breeding Rice Research Station

10:00 – 10:25              Rice Weed control update, Dr. Eric Webster, LSU AgCenter, Weed Science

10:25 – 10:40              Rice Disease Update, Dr. Don Groth, LSU AgCenter, Disease Pathologist

10:40 – 10:55              Rice Fertilization, Dr. Dustin Harrell, LSU AgCenter, Rice Research Station

10:55 – 11:10                Travel to Mr. Mark Pousson farm north of Welsh

11:10 – 11:25              Horizon Ag Clearfield variety plot, Mr. Michael Fruge

11:25 – 11:35              Rice Insect update, Dr. Natalie Hummel, LSU AgCenter, Entomologist

11:35 – 11:45              State rice update, Dr. Johnny Saichuk, LSU AgCenter, Agronomist

11:45 – 11:55              Travel to Welsh Community Center 

11:45 – 12:00              Market Update, Dr. Kurt Guidry, LSU AgCenter, Economist

12:00 – 12:30              Lunch courtesy of RiceTec

LSU AgCenter South farm rice research station field day on Wed. June 15th

The tour will conclude with a stop at the Acadia Parish rice water weevil demonstration test site where we will report our observations of the core sample collection. Lunch will be served – sponsored by Dupont, Syngenta and Valent.

LSU AgCenter Rice Research Station Field Day at the North unit will be Thursday June 30th   

For more information please contact County Agent Barrett Courville.

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On May 10, 2011, Dr. Gene Reagan (LSU AgCenter) and a team of scientists from Oklahoma State University; USDA-ARS Center for Grain and Animal Health Research, Kansas; Arkansas State University; University of Arkansas; and Texas A&M AgriLife Research conducted a USDA-RAMP Project Workshop titled: “Rice Mill Insect Pest Management – Optimizing Insect Control and Grain Quality”.

Click here for a video of the presentations.

Click here to download the workshop handbook.

Louisiana (Crowley) – Tuesday, May 10 (9:00AM – 3:00PM)

Acadia Parish Extension Office

157 Cherokee Drive

Crowley, LA 70526


Thomas E. Reagan

(Louisiana State University Agricultural Center)

Phone: (225) 578-1824

Email: treagan@agctr.lsu.edu

Workshop Agenda (9:00 – 3:00PM)

Opening Remarks (Thomas E. Reagan)

Project History and Perspective (Lloyd Ted Wilson)

Insect Pest Management for Rice Storage and Milling (Frank Arthur)

Monitoring Stored-Product Insects Inside and Outside Rice Mills (James Campbell)

Dynamics of Storage Pests around a Rice Mill in Northeast Arkansas (Tanja McKay)

Impact of Lesser Grain Borer Infestations on Milled Rice Quality (Frank Arthur & Terry Siebenmorgen)

Economics of Storage Grain Pest Control (Brian Adam)

Integrated Storage Grain Pest Management and Tool Delivery (Ted Wilson and Yang)

Closing Remarks and Participant Feedbacks (Thomas E. Reagan)

Presenter Affiliations

Brian Adam, Oklahoma State University

Frank Arthur, USDA-ARS Center for Grain and Animal Health Research, Kansas

James Campbell, USDA-ARS Center for Grain and Animal Health Research, Kansas

Tanja McKay, Arkansas State University

Thomas Reagan, Louisiana State University AgCenter

Terry Siebenmorgen, University of Arkansas

Ted Wilson, Texas A&M AgriLife Research

Yubin Yang, Texas A&M AgriLife Research

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I had more calls this week about sugarcane beetles, chinch bugs, colaspis and bill bugs in rice in Southwestern Louisiana. In the majority of these fields, no insecticide seed treatment had been applied to the seed. The best response is to bring a flood as soon as possible. If this isn’t possible, some crop advisors have reported substantial improvement in the stand following  a pyrethroid spray and holding a light flush for a couple of days.

If you’d like to see a video of a sugarcane beetle digging back into the soil after I removed it from the soil you can click here. Thanks to Extension Entomologist Kathy Flanders at Auburn University for posting the video on my behalf. I shot this video at a field we scouted with Barrett Courville and Benet Augustine last week.

After doing more research on the bill bugs we collected, we found that we have not one, but four species of bill bugs that were collected from a single field. We are doing more work to tease out the species complex that occurs in south Louisiana. If you find any bill bugs in rice please get them to your local county agent and ask them to deliver to me. You can simply throw then in a ziploc bag and kill in the freezer. Please write the farmer name (or some other way to note the field location) and date on the bag. If you can record gps coordinates and e-mail to me that would be a real help. 

Update on the LSU AgCenter rice water weevil demonstration test:

We planted our final field location in Avoyelles Parish on April 27, 2011. We have a stand of rice and will take data on the stand on May 23, 2011. The majority of our other demonstration locations are at or near permanent flood. We will be running around pulling core samples from all the locations in the middle of June. To learn more about rice water weevil biology and our sampling methods you can watch this video

Field meeting season will kick off soon.

Please mark the following dates on your calendar:

June 1, 2011: Rice field tour in Welsh, LA. I will post an agenda soon. I’ll be in hand to discuss rice insect management and field observations.

June 15, 2011: LSU AgCenter South Farm Tour in Crowley, LA. We will have a meeting at our rice water weevil demo test site on the Simon Farm, which will include a sponsored lunch (Special thanks to our sponsors: John Bordlee – Valent; Toby McCown – Dupont, and Josh Zaunbrecher – Syngenta). 

June 30, 2011: LSU AgCenter Rice Research Station Field Day in Crowley, LA.

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I didn’t set out yesterday knowing the day would play out like it did, but in honor of Cinco de Mayo, we wound up with five insects to discuss.  All of which we found in rice fields on Cinco de Mayo.

Numero Uno

I’ve continued to get a lot of calls about some strange injury in rice – chewing at the base of plants, digging/tunnels in the soil, and declining stands. After lots of head scratching, research, and some conversations in the halls of the “ivory tower” with my colleagues, we finally started to put it together. All signs pointed to sugarcane beetle. A new Ph.D. student, Karen Nix, and I headed to the field in Jefferson-Davis Parish to scout with County Agent Barrett Courville and Crop Consultant Benet Augustin. I told Benet he’s going to get a prize for finding the most odd insects this season. I’m certain he’d rather do without that recognition…

The first thing Benet had described in this field was a reduction in stand in hybrid rice treated with CruiserMaxx.  Cruiser had been used because of historical problems with chinch bugs in this particular rice field.

Stand loss in a hybrid rice field treated with CruiserMaxx - injury caused by sugarcane beetle adults feeding on crown of plant.

As we walked into the field, it was not difficult to find plants with soil disturbed at the base of the plant.

Soil disturbed at base of plant by a sugarcane beetle adult digging.

We dug around the base of the plant and in many places were able to quickly locate a large black beetle.

Sugarcane beetle adult with injured rice plant.

The sugarcane beetles are injuring the rice by chewing at the soil line in the crown of the plant. Some of the plants are dead or dying, while others may still recover by tillering.

Injury caused by a sugarcane beetle chewing on the base of the plant.

I called Dr. Tara Smith (Sweet Potato Extension Specialist and Entomologist) to learn more about sugarcane beetle biology. Tara studied this insect for her dissertation research. The symptoms we are seeing in rice are very similar to what you will find in field corn (where the sugarcane beetle is causing some injury in Arkansas this season). I discussed treatment options with Tara. She confirmed that Thiomethoxam (the active ingredient in CruiserMaxx) does not have good activity against this insect.

Treatment recommendations are tied to the biology and behavior of the insect. Sugarcane beetles overwinter as adults, and then move into field crops and attack plants at the soil line. During this time of year, they will be flying, mating and laying eggs. Flying usually occurs from dusk to 10 pm. Thus, we advised treating with a pyrethroid sometime around dusk to increase the odds of insecticide coming into contact with the beetles – a spray applied during the day would probably be less effective because the beetles are down in the soil. Alternatively, bringing a permanent flood as soon as possible should also prevent further injury. In this field, the rice is not ready for a permanent flood.

I’ve never observed these insects in rice, and apparently, they are a rare problem. Is anybody else finding these in rice fields?

Numero dos

We moved on to another field after we confirmed the sugarcane beetle problem. This field was suspected to be infested with colaspis larvae. This was a field of hybrid rice which did not have an insecticide seed treatment applied. It was drilled into a stale-seedbed, which was planted in soybeans in 2010. Sure enough, we found a severe infestation of colaspis larvae that was reducing the stand.

Stand loss caused by colaspis larvae feeding on the roots of rice plants.

It was not difficult to find colaspis feeding in the soil anywhere from 1/2 inch to 3 inches below the soil line.

Colaspis larva on root of rice plant.

It’s easy to see how these little larva can inflict injury on the roots of a rice plant when you look at the large size of their chewing mouthparts (mandibles).

Head-on view of a colaspis larva - the dark brown structures are the mandibles which are used to chew up plant material.

We advised applying a permanent flood as soon as possible. Also recommended using a pyrethroid to prevent injury from rice water weevils – weevil scarring on the leaves was common in the field. The pyrethoid will not have a significant effect on the colaspis larvae, but the larvae will stop injuring the rice after application of permanent flood.
Numero trece y quatro 
While scouting the colaspis infested field we found a couple of other insects feeding on the rice. This included chinch bugs and a mystery insect.

Chinch bug nymph feeding at base of a rice seedling. This injury can cause stunting and plant death.

Application of a permanent flood will also stop the injury from chinch bugs, because they will no longer be able to feed on the growing point of the plant once it is protected by the flood water.
Mystery insect on roots of rice plant – note the ants that are “tending” them.
This was the first time I’d come across these creatures. These mystery insects looked like some type of plant feeder – possibly a homopteran. It didn’t look like they were causing any injury, but it was a curiousity that I couldn’t miss photographing. Unfortunately, my pictures were a little blurry. I’m working on an identification today.
Numero cinco
The last field we scouted was a field of hybrid rice that was water-seeded. The stand was marginal and the rice was dying. We suspect that a variety of factors may have contributed to the plant injury, one being excessive rice water weevil adult scarring. The field did not have any insecticide seed treatment (because it was water-seeded). It is bordered by a crawfish field, so options are limited. We will see how it progresses.

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