Figure 1. Attendees of the 2017 IPM Field School practice using sweep nets to scout for insects in soybean. Credit: P. Wagner
2017 IPM Field School
The 2017 IPM Field School was at the Southeast Research Farm during the third week of July. One of the sessions that attendees participated in was “Insect Management: Techniques for Scouting and Identification of Insect Pests.” The session was hosted by three SDSU Extension entomologists and covered pest and beneficial insect identification, a case study, and time to try out scouting techniques.
The first part of the session was spent discussing insects that have been observed recently in South Dakota crops. Following some discussion, Adam Varenhorst and Patrick Wagner explained the dos and don’ts of using sweep nets for sampling insects. Some key points included what considerations to make when purchasing a sweep net (e.g. material, size, etc.), and that nets should be chosen based on the plants that they are being used to sample.
During the second part of the session, attendees worked through an insect case study that was based on insects sampled from alfalfa. The case study required participants to identify both pest and beneficial insects in the sample, count their populations, and make management decisions based on the insect populations they were observing. The purpose of this activity was to engage participants to learn about both pest and beneficial insects and to understand the importance of using economic thresholds for pest management.
The final part of the session was spent scouting soybeans at the farm. Attendees scouted for insects by using visual observations and by practicing with using sweep nets (Figure 1). SDSU Extension experts discussed the insects that were found and answered any remaining questions. All participants received identification guides for caterpillars in corn, caterpillars in soybean, soybean aphids, common pollinators, and dung beetles.