Archive for March, 2012

I don’t often post information outside of the subject of rice entomology, but I believe that many of you would like this information. Read below about a comment period on a potential emergency registration of a fungicide for disease control in rice.



[EPA–HQ–OPP–2012–0172; FRL–9341–7]

Fluxapyroxad; Receipt of Application for Emergency Exemption for Use on Rice in Louisiana, Solicitation of Public Comment

The public comment period is now open on the Louisianan petition for a Section 18 Emergency Application for Fluxapyroxad for use as a fungicide in the Louisiana rice crop in 2012. This emergency exemption has been requested for use in those areas where resistance has been identified to the strobilurin fungicides which have been widely used to control sheath blight disease in Louisiana rice production for a number of years. Last year it was confirmed that resistance of the disease causing organism has developed to the strobilurin fungicides which make them ineffective in controlling sheath blight in certain areas. Fluxapyroxad is a different class of fungicide that will control sheath blight in areas where this resistance has developed.  Fluxapyroxad is a BASF product that was tested as BAS700 and will be marketed in rice under the name Sercadis.

It is important that the USEPA receive a number of comments regarding this emergency exemption to the Louisiana rice industry. You are encouraged to send comments as individuals as well as organizations.


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Following all the rain and wet conditions, much of the rice acreage has shifted to water-seeded rice this season. This is particularly the case in southwest Louisiana. Insects problems in water-seeded rice are often very different from in drill-seeded rice, primarily because of the presence of water. Water provides a protection from some early season pests such as chinch bugs, colaspis larvae, and sugarcane beetles. On the other hand, some aquatic insects thrive in water-seeded rice and can cause injury to seedlings.

One early season water-seeded rice pest is the rice seed midge. I haven’t had too many calls about seed midge in my time here at LSU AgCenter, but I want to give you a little brush up on the biology of this pest and how to scout for injury. You can learn more about rice seed midge by clicking here.

Rice seed midge larvae injure rice seedlings by feeding on the roots and seeds of young seedlings. Begin scouting for seed midges 5 to 7 days after seeding the field. Look for hollow seeds and chewing marks on the seed, roots, or seedlings. If you confirm rice seed midge in a field causing injury, please shoot me an email. I’d like to get some better field shots of the injury and close-ups of this insect.

Rice Seed Midge - Chironomus spp.
The larvae develop through four instars before pupating under water in tubes.
The life cycle from egg to adult requires one to two weeks.

Larvae injure rice by feeding on the embryo of germinating seeds or on developing roots and seeds of very young seedlings.

Midge injury is indicated by the presence of chewing marks on the seed, roots and shoots and by the presence of hollow seeds. Midge injury occurs in water-seeded rice and is usually not important once seedlings are several inches tall. Photo by J. Saichuk.


You can avoid rice seed midge injury by not holding water for more than 2 to 3 days before seeding. Pre-sprouting seed and avoiding planting in cool weather can also result in fast growth of the seedlings, decreasing the chance for injury by rice seed midge.

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A number of LSU AgCenter Entomology Faculty have been working on an exciting new project. In a nutshell, we have created a series of webpages that are an introductory online entomology course. Because these webpages are electronic, we can adapt them for a variety of educational purposes. I hope you take a moment to visit the website by clicking here. Let me know what you think about what we have developed and how we can adapt it for your needs. You can read more about our project in this article in The Advocate.

News Release Distributed 03/06/12

Identifying insects as native or invasive species just got easier with help from the LSU AgCenter entomology department.

LSU AgCenter entomology specialist Natalie Hummel and extension associate Michael Ferro, are working with colleagues at the University of Florida, the University of Georgia, North Carolina State University and the University of Tennessee to build a website that will help not only professionals, but the average citizen identify insects.

The First Detector Entomology Training Project consists of a series of Web pages that allow people with little or no experience to learn about the world of insects and arthropods, insect collecting and insect photography.

The project will develop a train-the-trainer general entomology training course for first detector educators such as county extension agents and Master Gardeners, along with first detectors, which include border inspectors and homeowners.

“I tried to develop the website in such a way that you could come to the site with little or no knowledge of insects and walk away with something,” Ferro said.

The advantage of this system over print publications is the ability to quickly update information and not have to worry about the information going out of date.

“Also we didn’t want people having to attend a workshop or sign up for a class since things are now more global and mobile,” Hummel said.

The pages were created in a “wiki” format, which is easy to edit as needed, Hummel said. “Bugwood, a program at the University of Georgia, hosts the content for the program, and the start page can be found at http://wiki.bugwood.org/FD-ENT.

The information on the Web pages were designed for Master Gardeners and extension agents but can be used by anyone interested in learning more about insects and arthropods, including teachers and students.

The pages provide a general overview of entomology and are designed to help users recognize common arthropods, whether pests or non-pests, confirm the identification of pest problems and recognize and report suspect, unusual, exotic or invasive species, the developers said.

Some major insect orders, such as true flies, true bugs and beetles, get their own wiki pages that highlight specific examples of commonly encountered pests or non-pests.

The training project consists of several wiki pages that provide a good overview of arthropods in general, insects and entomology, Hummel said.

Topics include how to photograph insects, how to collect and preserve insects, basic insect biology and a brief introduction to the major orders of insects, she said.

“There are some invasive pests, like the brown marmorated stink bug, that we don’t have now, but it is rapidly making its way south from the northeastern United States,” Hummel said. Having the Web site should make people aware of these type invasive insects before they become a problem.

The pages were designed to be user-friendly and act as important sources of reference information, Hummel said. “Anyone interested in learning more about insects and arthropods is encouraged to visit the site and share it with friends and family.”

“In addition to the Web pages, we are also making PowerPoint presentations so that extension agents, Master Gardeners or others can download these PowerPoints and use them as presentations about the information on the Web pages,” Ferro said.

The third piece of the project involves the development of e-learning modules that are entirely online where tutorials will be available. After viewing them, individuals can test their knowledge by taking a short quiz, he said.

Hummel said the future of the project is “limitless.” One of the next steps could be to develop it into a smartphone app that would allow the information to become more mobile.

Johnny Morgan

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The last few weeks have been busy with conferences and preparation for the season. While I was at the Rice Technical Working Group conference back  in late February, I heard that some rice was already being drill-planted. By now that rice has started to emerge. Now is a good time to be reminded about early-season pest problems to scout for in these drill-seeded fields. A number of insects can attack drill-seeded rice in Louisiana. These can include both above ground and below ground pests. Remember that the use of seed treatments will selectively control pests, but no single seed treatment has the ability to control all the insects that can attack seedling rice. This link will take you to an article that contrasts which insects are controlled by each seed treatment in drill-seeded rice.

Some common problems we experienced last year were (click on the name of the insect to learn more about biology and management) aphids, colaspis, chinch bugs, thrips, billbugs, sugarcane beetles, and armyworms. We also had trouble with some small black beetles that were also in the chrysomelidae family (related to colaspis). If you find this same problem with the small black beetles defoliating rice, please collect some samples and contact your county agent immediately so that we can verify the species and crop injury.

If you need help identifying a crop pests that you are not familiar with in rice, or need advice on management strategies, please don’t hesitate to call your local County Agent or contact me: nhummel@agcenter.lsu.edu.

This season I am also using twitter to send out insect alerts. If you use twitter, you can follow me @NatHummel for the latest observations from the field.

I hope your season is off to a good start. My next post will talk about early-season pest problems in water-seeded rice. I talked to some Agents and dealers this week and it sounds like most of the crop that is planted following these rains will be water-seeded. Remember that Dermacor X-100 now has a 24C registration for use in water-seeded rice. This season we plan to sample some of the water-seeded fields to verify the efficacy in commercial field use. I’ll let you know what we observe.

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