Posts Tagged ‘Gene Reagan’

I apologize that I haven’t written in a while. We are moving into grant-writing “season”. We are writing a few proposals that address new rice pest problems. You’ll hear more about those projects if they are funded. Just a quick update on the latest news.

We continue to receive reports of rice stink bugs in second crop rice, in some cases with very severe pressure. You can read about this by clicking here. I also received a call today asking what the Re-entry interval for Tenchu 20SG is. The answer is 12 hours – so this means you can safely enter the field 12 hours after the insecticide application.

We have also had some reports of armyworms in crawfish rice – this is in the Evangeline Parish area. Remember that the only thing registered is BT type products, which are really only effective controlling smaller caterpillars. Any other insecticides have the possibility of killing crawfish stocked in the pond.

The LSU AgCenter Extension Entomology program has a couple of trainings this month.

Next week we have the annual advanced entomology training at the Rice Research Station in Crowley on Tuesday, Sept 13 from 9 am to noon. I hope you can join us. I’ll start off by talking about early season pest problems (chinch bugs, bill bugs, sugarcane beetles, etc.). Then we will spend the rest of the training talking about Mexican rice borer management recommendations. Click here for a link to the agenda. We will have three speakers. Speakers will include Mo Way from Texas A&M AgriLife. Mo has studied the MRB for more than 20 years and has graciously agreed to share his insights with us. Dr. Julien Beuzelin (recent graduate of LSU) will talk about his research studying the biology, behavior and secondary host plants (weeds) of MRB. Finally, I will give a presentation on management recommendations and opportunities for cooperators to help us expand the pheromone trapping program. We will have plenty of time for questions from the audience.

Later this month, Gene Reagan and Mo Way are co-hosting their annual MRB site visit in Beaumont, Texas on September 27 to 28, 2011. This is an excellent opportunity to gain first-hand experience scouting for MRB in the field. You will also have the opportunity to learn about the latest research on this pest.

If you are using social media, you are welcome to join the LSU AgCenter Rice Entomology Facebook group page. This is a great place to keep up to date on the latest observations from the field and to share your knowledge with others. Click here to join the group. If you don’t have a Facebook account, you’ll need to create an account first and then request to join the group.

I look forward to seeing many of you at the meetings this month.

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As the MRB continues to spread across Louisiana, it is becoming more critical for those associated with the rice and cane industries of Louisiana to become familiar with identification, biology and management of this pest. Drs. Gene Reagan (LSU AgCenter) and Mo Way (Texas A&M Agrilife) are hosting their annual Sugarcane Field Research Site Visit in Beaumont, TX on September 27 and 28, 2011. Louisiana and Texas Sugarcane and Rice Consultants, Agricultural Extension Agents, and Industry Cooperators are invited and encouraged to attend.

Tuesday, 27 September – 6:15 pm                 Meet in lobby of Holiday Inn and Suites to go to dinner probably at Papadeaux’s (optional)

Wednesday, 28 September – 8:00 am         Meet in front of Texas  AgriLife Research and Extension Center:

Please do not take any live insects from this location! 

Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center  at Beaumont, 1509 Aggie Drive, Beaumont, TX 77713

DIRECTIONS TO RESEARCH SITE:     9.5 miles west of Beaumont on Hwy 90, ~ 1 mile north on Aggie Drive 

Dr. Ted Wilson (Center Director): Welcome and introduction

Dr. Gene Reagan: Overview of planned activities, handouts, and instructions to go to the field


  1. Dr. Bill White: Variety diversity in the test
  2. Dr. Gene Reagan, Dr. Julien Beuzelin, and Mr. Blake Wilson: Hands-on sampling for Mexican rice borer ( MRB) and sugarcane borer (SCB) injury in sugarcane varieties
  3. Mr. Blake Wilson: Use of MRB pheromone traps to help with scouting.
  4. Dr. Julien Beuzelin and Mr. Matt VanWeelden: Multi-crop bioenergy research.
  5. Dr. Mo Way: Observe MRB and SCB damage and discuss insecticides and cultural practices in rice
  1. Observe MRB and SCB larvae in replicated test of Louisiana sugarcane varieties (HoCP 08-726, Ho 08-711, L 08-092, HoCP 91-552, L 07-57,Ho 08-706, Ho 08-717, L 79-1002, Ho 02-113, HoCP 04-838, L 08-090, HoL 08-723, Ho 08-709, HoCP 00-950, Ho 07-613, L 08-088, L08-075, HoCP  85-845, Ho 05-961)

or visit demonstration of sugarcane stalk splitter machine (Gene Reagan).

Wednesday, 28 September – 11:00 am           Sun grant/Chevron/Beaumont energy cane and high biomass sorghum research near main building, Texas AgriLife Research and  Center at Beaumont, 1509 Aggie Dr., approx. 9 miles west of Beaumont on Hwy 90.

Wednesday, 28 September – Noon                 Adjourn and return home


Holiday Inn and Suites

3950 I-10 South

Beaumont, Tx 77705

409-842-7822 (hotel)

409-842-7810 (fax)

For hotel reservations call 409-842-5995

Any time prior to Tuesday, 20 September                   Reservation Code: LSU Entomology

You may reserve rooms with Samantha by email at: samantha.richards@jqh.com

$79.00 + tax reduced rate, Breakfast buffet (6:00 AM) included

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About a week ago Calcasieu Parish County Agent Jimmy Meaux e-mailed me a picture of a borer larva in rice that he suspected was the Mexican rice borer (MRB). This was a highly suspect sample due to a combination of the morphology of the larva and where it was found – which was in the same area where LDAF caught the first adult MRBs in pheromone traps in Louisiana. This confirms our suspicion that MRB are now establishing and reproducing in Louisiana. I would strongly encourage you to familiarize yourself with identification of this pest. Below is some information on this particular field infestation from Johnny’s Saichuk’s field notes. Following this I’m including some information on identification of MRB.

Field Notes
July 14, 2011
Johnny Saichuk

“Well, it is official; we have the Mexican rice borer in Louisiana. Earlier reports were of male moths caught in pheromone traps. Last week county agent Jimmy Meaux was called to a field in Calcasieu parish where he tentatively identified borer larvae as Mexican rice borer. He sent them to Dr. Natalie Hummel whose associate Anna Meszaros and graduate student (under Dr. Gene Reagan) Julien Beuzelin examined the specimens. They confirmed the identity. This afternoon I visited the field with Jimmy where we easily found several borers including the one shown here. I sent the photo to the experts and they just confirmed it. That is one of the advantages of the technology we have today. The photograph was taken at 2:12 p.m. and by 5:30 it was confirmed.

Mexican rice borer larvae infesting a rice plant in Vinton, LA. Photo by Johnny Saichuk.

Jimmy told the farmer, Chris Habetz and his son Brad, we would put up a plaque at their farm. They did not see the humor. The field where this borer was collected had no insecticide seed treatment; however a nearby field is treated with Dermacor. We will follow up to see if borers are discovered there or if the insecticide prevents them from becoming a problem. This is a manageable albeit unwelcome pest. Dermacor and/or timely applications of the pyrethroids can keep them in check in rice.”

The LDAF MRB trapping program is an ongoing survey program in southwest Louisiana that is documenting the spread of this pest. LDAF state entomologist, Tad Hardy, sent me an updated map on the trap counts of MRB in Louisiana.

If you click here you will see a Map of MRB Finds as of July 2011. This map was provided by Mr. Tad Hardy of LDAF.

As Johnny said in his comments, fortunately the MRB is a manageable pest – in large part due to the efforts of LSU AgCenter sugarcane Entomologist Dr. Gene Reagan who has been studying this pest in Texas for decades. MRB effects both sugarcane and rice production in Texas and it appears that it will be something we will be managing in Louisiana also. The first step is to learn to properly identify the pest.

There are a few key characters that will get you most of the way toward identification, but to truly confirm the species you need to view it under a dissecting microscope. If you find specimens that you strongly suspect are MRB you can send them to me and we will confirm the identification. Following are two pictures taken by Anna Meszaros that illustrate the key character used to separate MRB from the rice stalk borer.

1, the color of the hairs:

MRB: light hairs

RSB: dark hairs

2, on the meso-and metathorax of the larva (right above the “prolegs”)

MRB has only one seta (hair)

RSB has two setae.

Mexican rice borer larvae - note the honey colored head capsule and the presence of a single seta (hair) on the meso and meta-thorax dorsal (above) to the proleg. Photo by Anna Meszaros.

Rice stalk borer larvae - note the dark brown head capsule and the presence of two setae (hairs) on the meso and meta-thorax dorsal (above) to the prolegs. Photo by Anna Meszaros.


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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 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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On Monday, Johnny Saichuk (rice specialist), Donna Lee (county agent – East Caroll Parish) and I headed over to Beaumont, Texas for the annual Mexican Rice Borer (MRB) Site Visit.  This meeting is held annually to share the latest results of a long-running cooperative research effort between Texas A&M and the LSU AgCenter.  The research programs of Dr. Gene Reagan, Mo Way, Ted Wilson, and Bill White were showcased.  The Mexican rice borer is  a significant pest of rice and sugarcane production in Texas.  It was been moving north and east across the rice and sugarcane belt of texas since the early 1980’s.  Infestations result in significant reliance on insecticides to control this pest.  The USDA breeding programs are also selecting for resistance to borers in sugarcane.   

I attended this training a few years ago, but this year it had a little more significance, as I have recently taken on sugarcane extension entomology responsibilities.  This is in light of the retirement of Dr. Pollet, and our inability to fill his position due to the ongoing budget crisis.  So, I will have fun learning about sugarcane this next year.  I can embrace one of my favorite quotes “life begins at the end of your comfort zone” – Neale Donald Walsh.   

Bright and early on Tuesday morning, we gathered at the Texas AgriLife Beaumont Center.  Dr. Ted Wilson, Station Director, welcomed us to the facility.       

The group listening as Ted Wilson welcomed us to the Beaumont Center.


 Then we listened to a few comments from some of the scientists and graduate students conducting research on MRB.  Dr. Gene Reagan talked about some of the latest research on MRB which has been funded by over 1 million in competitive grant funds over the past ten years.  His student, Julien Beuzelin discussed his research on alternate hosts for MRB (weeds).  Julien is also studying survival of rice in comparison to a number of different weeds.  His research will be used to develop ecosystem level management strategies.    

Julien Beuzelin demonstrating proper identification of Mexican Rice Borer.


 We piled into our trucks and headed out to look at the sugarcane plots.  In this area, USDA is evaluating varieties for resistance to Mexican rice borer.    

The group listening to Gene as he introduced the research conducted in the sugarcane plots.


 Dr. Bill White and his technician Randy Richard are evaluating a wide variety of lines, some of which are susceptible or resistant to borer infestations.     

Randy Richard (left) and Bill White of the USDA in Houma - discussed the varieties of sugarcane under evaluation at this test site.


 This information on varietal resistance will be valuable when the Mexican Rice Borer becomes established in Louisiana, which will likely occur in the next ten years, due to natural movement across the border with Texas.    

Next, the group headed over to look at the Sun Grant/Chevron Energy Cane and High biomass sorghum research area.  These sorghum plants are really something to see.  Post-doctoral scientist Dr. Lv is working with Ted Wilson to evaluate the physiology and growth of the energy cane and sorghum.    

Donna Lee standing next to some of the sorghum - it was incredibly tall!


 After marvelling at the sorghum, we enjoyed a demonstration of the cane splitting machine.  This invention has improved the safety of sugarcane researchers.  It mechanically splits the cane, avoiding the need to use a knife to split the cane and look for borer injury.    

Gene Reagan demonstrating the cane splitter.


 Finally, Mo Way showed us some of his rice plots where he conducted trials on insecticides to control Mexican rice borer this season.  Borers are a much more significant problem in Texas rice than they are in Louisiana.  Thus, Mo spends quite a bit of time exploring management options for these pests.    

The program book for this training can be downloaded from www.lsuagcenter.com by clicking here.    

If you’d like to learn more about the Mexican rice borer, and ongoing research programs, please contact Dr. Gene Reagan.  You can learn more about MRB in this extension publication.    

Photos taken by Natalie Hummel, Anna Meszaros and Becky Pearson.

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