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        2013 SARE IPM Study

Progress Report & Log      Back to Study Page - Insect Log

March 11, 2013 Initial Assessment: Grant approved.

Page 1 - March to June     Page 2 - July to Sept     Final report
  • July 1 - 35 blue hubbards and kuris living, it takes 25 to 45 min per day to check all the leaves at this stage of maturity. 50 + egg clusters, 1 beetle today, temperature in the 50's at night, 80's day.
  • July 2 - 40 + egg clusters.
  • July 3 - 30 + egg clusters, 1 stink bug, 1 moth, 1 diamond back moth caterpillar on the lettuce.
  • July 4 - Extensive leaf check today in an effort to see if the chickens are impacting the squash bugs. The chickens are eating some type of bug in the straw, but at this point we cannot determine what bug. Killed 7 squash bugs, 1 beetle & 1 moth. North plot - 50 + egg clusters, Middle plot - 10 egg clusters, South plot - 25 + clusters on one plant, 5 on the others. Total over 90 egg clusters on 35 plants. The red kuri are still not doing well, the pest definitely prefer the blue hubbards which now have runners from 2 to 3 feet long. Last year our cucurbits were in the middle section of the garden. We planted a few hubbards there to catch the squash bugs as the came out of the ground in the spring. This appears to have been very successful as these plants were loaded with bugs early on. The egg count has now moved from the middle garden to the two control points at the north and south corners. By collecting and burning the eggs daily we have been able to keep them from hatching.
  • First Quarter progress report July 5, 2013.

  • IPM Chicken Tractor Stressed Blue Hubbards
    Chickens first day in chicken tractor Blue hubbards very stressed

  • July 5 & 6 - continuing to average 75 or more egg nest per day.
  • July 7 - North plot - 6 egg clusters in the chicken tractor section. 30 clusters in the other half, one cluster hatching, 6 squash bugs killed, 1 bloom full of ants. Middle plot - lost one plant to beetles, 25 egg clusters, 6 adults killed, one hatching egg cluster. Several nymphs got away into the ground. Killed 9 adults, 1 stink bug, 1 moth and several beetles in the blooms. South plot - 31 clusters on the largest plant again. 5 clusters on the remainder of the plot. We moved the chicken tractor over this plant in an effort to reduce the squash bugs.
  • July 8 - Noted a large number of dragon flies this year, this may be connected to the huge number of misquotes we also have. Important note: by collecting and destroying the egg clusters on a daily basis we thought we had the nymph situation under control. To our dismay we noticed that the squash bugs were also laying eggs on the blades of grass near the blue hubbards. We now have a large number of nymphs in the ground.
  • July 9 - North plot - 8 egg clusters, killed 9 cucumber beetle. Center plot - all plants almost dead, lots of nymphs. South plot - 9 egg clusters, most plants dead not sure from what. Killed 9 squash bugs and 12 cucumber beetles total today.
  • July 10 - The plants in the center test plot are virtually dead and covered with nymphs. I pulled them all and destroyed the plants. Killed 2 squash bugs. This leaves us with the north and south test plots. Replanted the N & S test plots where plants were dead. The next batch of replacement plants is in the greenhouse, they were seeded about a week ago. N - destroyed 10 nest, 3 squash bugs, 1 stink bug, 3 beetles. S plot no eggs today most of the plants are dead, pulled sick plants and replanted. At this point we are having trouble keeping the plants alive long enough to get an accurate assessment of the effects of the chicken tractor. Found the remains of a Carolina Sphinx in the mosquito zapper. My plan for the next Lincoln U trip is to collect live nymphs and squash bugs and place them in a dog kennel with a chicken so that we can directly observe if the hen is eating the bugs.
  • July 11 - No chickens in chicken tractor today. The plants are too stressed and we just re-planted. No eggs found today.
  • July 12 - Repeat of yesterday, watered in an attempt to perk the plants up.
  • July 13 - No chickens in chicken tractor today. N plot 27 egg clusters, 2 squash bugs and 1 beetle killed. S plot 3 egg clusters no pest found.
  • July 14 - Noted a number of butterflies in the garden, have captured some for later identification. Starting to get tomatoes, cucumbers and zucchini. Found 4 egg clusters on two of the zucchini plants. Still getting night temperatures in the mid to low 60's. Corn is tasseling at 3' tall, tomatoes are only 18" tall and producing fruit, nothing is growing to it's proper size. We feel the unusually low ground temperatures have misdirected the plants into thinking it is fall.
  • July 15 - Killed 8 squash bugs on the zucchini plants. Squash nymphs and striped cucumber beetles are thick on all plants, dusted with diatomaceous earth. The ground is very dry, temperatures have now risen to upper 90's.
  • July 16 - N plot killed 2 squash bugs, 11 egg nest and 16 striped beetles. Saw several more beetles and nymphs. S plot no bugs or eggs, plants still very small, about 8". At dusk killed 11 squash bugs on one plant in N plot. Killed 13 total plus 7 cucumber beetles. Noted the nymph population is growing.
  • July 17 - In N plot killed 9 squash bugs and 3 beetles. S plot still no bugs. Zucchini on 2 plants, 4 squash bugs, 1 egg clusters, 3 flea beetles. Cucumbers on 1 plant, 3 squash bugs, lots of nymphs. The butterflies we were concerned with are Common Buckeye and are not considered a pest problem.
  • July 18 - N plot killed 3 squash bugs, 2 egg clusters and several beetles. 6 hubbards dead last night, I believe from cucumber beetles. S plot found no adults but lots of nymphs. Zucchini, 2 squash bugs, 4 egg clusters, lots of cucumber beetles. Rain predicted the next 3 days. After the rain I plan to till all the rye out and see if we can get better growth from the hubbards. There is little data on this but the aliphatic effect of the rye my be too much for the hubbards. The red kuri all died at less than 8" tall.
  • July 19 - N plot 2 egg clusters, several nymphs. 2 more plants dead. S plot 2 egg clusters. It appears that the plants under the chicken tractor have far fewer nymphs that the plants outside of the chicken tractor.
  • July 20 - N plot 3 egg clusters. S plot 2 egg clusters. No adults, killed several nymphs.
  • July 21 - N plot 2 egg clusters. S plot 0 eggs. All plants almost dead in both sections.
  • July 22 - Chickens are eating bugs from the hubbards but also killing the plants.
  • July 23 - Cucumbers and Zucchini killed 6 squash bugs and 25 nymphs, numerous egg clusters. It appears that because the hubbards are dying the bugs have all moved to the cucurbits in the center of the garden.
  • July 25 - Thursdays are cucurbits harvest day for market. Killed 25 plus adult squash bugs and over 75 nymphs of various ages, many egg nest on the cucurbits.
  • July 26 - Killed dozens more bugs on the cucurbits and sprayed them with neem to denture the pest.
  • July 27 - 54 degrees last night, record low. Killed another 25 plus adults and about 75 nymphs on the cucurbits.
  • July 28 - 50 degrees another record low, high today 72. Have received no rain for approx. 5 weeks. Even with constant watering the garden is very dry and stressed.
  • July 29 to 31 - Due to all the factors that are killing the hubbards we will be tilling both test plots under and re-planting from the greenhouse this week as weather permits. See the July interim summary for a complete explanation.

  • IPM Chicken Tractor Blue Hubbards
    Chicken tractor north plot Blue hubbards re-plant July 31

  • August 1 - Hubbards re-planted and looking good after a 1" rain. The millet heads burst during the rain and we now have swarms of braconid wasp or parasitoid wasp. This is a good thing, they kill small caterpillars, aphids, and other pests. This is a good source for garden insect identification: Pest in the Garden
  • Aug 2 - No pest on the new hubbards. Killed 12 squash bugs, 50 nymphs and 10 egg clusters on the zucchini.
  • Aug 3 - No pest on the hubbards. Hundreds of grasshoppers present in the garden. The parasitoid wasp are still present but not nearly in the numbers as the day the millet opened.
  • Aug 4 - On the hubbards killed: 1 squash bug, 3 nymphs, 2 cucumber beetles, no eggs present. The pest definitely moved from the hubbard plots at the corners of the garden to the center of the garden zucchini and cucumbers. About 125 ft away after they had killed all the hubbards and kuris.
  • Aug 5 - Chickens returned to the chicken tractors, no pest found, no eggs found at the end of the day.
  • Aug 6 - No pest found, no eggs found at the end of the day. Weather mid to upper 80's day, mid 70's night, light rain almost every day, very hot and humid.
  • Aug 7 - BIG News - After the squash bugs have devastated the zucchini and cucumbers and killed all the original hubbards we decided to try a little test. After killing 7 adult squash bugs and about another 50 or so nymphs on one cucumber plant we decided to put the chicken tractor on top of it to see what results we would get. Great success, the chickens went wild eating nymphs as fast as they could peck. After only three hours we see no bugs of any type. Previously the straw and grass around the cucurbits had been to thick to actually see what the chickens were pecking. We cleared the area to bare earth and now we can confirm they are at least eating nymphs.
  • Aug 8 - Chicken tractor moved to cucurbits to clean up all the nymphs. Seem to be eating dozens. No bugs on the hubbards.
  • Aug 9 - Chicken tractor on cucurbits again. No pest or eggs on the hubbards yet, they are still very small. The older chickens appear to work much better in the chicken tractor. They are calmer and hunt bugs instead of spending all their time looking for an exit.
  • Aug 10 - No pest on hubbards.
  • Aug 11 - Hand watered the hubbards. Killed 13 adults on the north (N) bed, no nymphs, no eggs. No bugs on the south (S) bed. It would appear we drove the squash bugs from the cucurbits back to the hubbards.
  • Aug 12 - N plot 3 squash bugs, no eggs. S plot nothing.
  • Aug 13 - No bugs, no eggs.
  • Aug 14 - No bugs, no eggs.
  • Aug 15 - N plot 3 bugs, no eggs, no nymphs. S plot 1 nymph escaped execution.
  • Aug 16 - No bugs, no eggs.
  • Aug 17 - N plot 1 squash bug, 3 eggs clusters. S plot nothing, apparently they have not found the south plot after the re-planting Aug 1.
  • <
    Blue Hubbards IPM
    Blue Hubbards at 3 weeks, replanted July 31 IPM perimeter of sorghum (left), buckwheat (center) and millet (right) taken Aug 25. The buckwheat is almost gone.

  • Aug 18 - N plot 1 squash bug, 2 egg clusters. S plot nothing.
  • Aug 19 - N plot some nymphs, a few striped cucumber beetles are noted each day and there is some damage to the stem. S plot still not bugs.
  • Aug 20 - N plot 2 squash bugs killed, 2 egg clusters, S plot no bugs. Still very dry it has been weeks since our last rain. We water every 2 or 3 days. Temperatures have been climbing into the 90's and 60's at night.
  • Aug 21 - No bugs, the hubbards are looking healthy overall, have bushed out to about 12" to 16",
  • Aug 22 - Farm visit by Dr Pinero and Susan Jaster. - North plot 2 squash bugs, 4 egg clusters, 10 or so cucumber beetles flying around. South plot no activity. One zucchini plant loaded with dozens of nymphs. Noted numerous hover flies or syrphid flies which we have never had in the past. They are a good insect attracted by the buckwheat and millet beneficial insect barrier. They are both a pollinator and they prey on pest such as aphids. We have always noted a few stink bugs on the buckwheat but have never had one on the tomatoes. New research is suggesting that buckwheat can be used as a trap crop for stink bugs.
  • Aug 23 - N plot 1 squash bugs, 2 eggs clusters. We are getting stem damage due to the cucumber beetles. We plan to try a habenero pepper spray to drive the beetles away. S plot no pest.

  • <
    Millet Blue Hubbards
    Millet in pollination phase, mid August Blue Hubbards in September after several re-plantings.

  • Aug 24 - N plot 0 squash bugs, 2 egg clusters. S plot no pest. Very dry temperatures still in the 90's.
  • Aug 25 - N plot 1 squash bug, 2 egg clusters, some cucumber beetles spotted. S plot no pest. In every date the squash bugs noted were killed and the eggs burned. The cucumber beetles usually get away since they fly. The chickens also do not appear to have much success catching the beetles.
  • Aug 26 - N plot no bugs. S plot no bugs.
  • Aug 27 - N plot 0 bugs, 2 egg clusters, always 3 or 4 cucumber beetles flying around. S plot no bugs.
  • Aug 28 - Morning - Normally I check for bugs in the evening just before sunset because I had the best result killing them when I water and they come out of the ground to feed. Today I did a bug count early in the morning with good results. N plot killed 13 adult squash bugs, 4 large nymphs, several small ones, 4 egg clusters and 3 striped cucumber beetles. Several other beetles got away. S plot the squash bugs finally found it. killed 2 large nymphs and about 20 that had just hatched from a cluster I had apparently missed. Several hubbards are very healthy and a few have stem damage from the beetles. We made ghost pepper spray today and will test it on the beetles and nymphs tonight.
  • Aug 28 - Evening - The cucumbers and zucchini are nearly dead and apparently all the squash bugs have migrated to the blue hubbards. N plot killed 15 more squash bugs, 2 egg clusters, numerous nymphs. S plot killed 5 more squash bugs and several nymphs. Sprayed the stems with the ghost pepper spray. It kills the smaller nymphs on contact. The adults take a minute or two if sprayed on the back. If sprayed on the stomach they die in about 10 seconds. We will pull the chickens for a few days so that the pepper does not harm the chickens.
  • Aug 29 - N plot 18 adult squash bugs, 1 egg cluster. S plot 1 adult squash bug, no eggs or nymphs. Research has reveled that hot peppers do not effect fowl only mammals, so the chickens go back in the tractor. Can chickens eat hot peppers?
  • Aug 30 - N plot 2 adults. S plot 1 adult.
  • Aug 31 - N plot watered by hand today which always brings lots of bugs out of the ground, 14 adults killed. Sprayed all the stems with ghost pepper spray after watering. Found 2 egg clusters I left and sprayed to monitor the effects on un-hatched eggs. S plot 1 adult killed.
  • Sept 1 - 1.3 inches of rain. North 1 squash bug. South 0 bugs.
  • Sept 2 - N plot 2 squash bugs. S plot 0 bugs. Field day to close out the project set for Sept 28th at 4:00, watch for flyer.
  • Sept 3 - N plot 0 bugs. S plot 0 bugs. Started using ghost pepper spray around the peppers to denture the stripped cucumber beetles. The chickens cannot catch them and we believe they are bitter and not a preferred food.
  • Sept 4 - N plot 2 squash bugs. S plot 1 adult bug.
  • Sept 5 - N plot 5 squash bugs, 2 egg clusters, only 2 egg nest in the last several days. We sprayed them with the pepper spray to monitor the effect on hatching. S plot 4 adults killed.
  • Sept 6 - N plot 7 squash bugs killed. S plot 1 killed, no eggs or nymphs in either plot.
  • Sept 7 - N plot 1 squash bug. S plot 1 squash bug. The zucchini in the gardens center is still squash bug free. There is some evidence of stripped cucumber beetles, we pepper sprayed them also again today. We are trying to spray every other day.
  • Sept 8 - N & S plots 0 bugs.
  • Sept 9 - N plot 2 squash bugs, killed about 20 beetles in the blooms at 7:00 am, they were thick. S plot 1 squash but and was able to kill about 5 beetles. Pepper sprayed again, note: don't know how effective it is but the bugs all hate it.
  • Sept 10 - The Millet is starting to go to seed.
  • Sept 11 - Great Success - caught 10 adult squash bugs, about 10 nymphs and 3 cucumber beetles in a jar. Fed them to the chickens in an open dirt area where we could observe their reaction. The chickens swarmed the bugs and ate all of them in a matter of seconds. This showed that they were eating the bugs all summer but due to the heavy rye mulch we could not observe the event. The issue appears to have been with our timing. The chickens we put into the chicken tractor after morning chores and removed in late afternoon. The bugs were apparently mostly in the ground at that time, coming out to eat and lay eggs mostly early morning and late evening. It was determined that the chickens needed to be with the hubbards at dawn and dusk to fully remove all the bugs.
  • Sept 12 - Note a large number of dragon flies on the farm this summer. The egg clusters sprayed with the pepper spray did not hatch, they simply shriveled up on the leaves.
  • Sept 16 - The squash bugs are gone for the season, we could not collect enough to shoot a video of the chickens eating the bugs. Closing the test down in preparation for the final field day Sept 28. See the final summary.
  • Page 1 - go back to: March to June log
  • This project and all associated reports and support materials were supported by the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture- National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA). Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed within do not necessarily reflect the view of the SARE program or the U.S. Department of Agriculture


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