Campus News

Entomology professor discusses vegetable produce pests during planting season

Alton “Stormy” Sparks, a professor in the entomology department in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, was recently quoted in a VSC News article about vegetable produce pests.

Aside from pepper weevils, insect pressure seems to be light during Georgia’s planting season for vegetable producers.

“There’s concerns about pepper weevil as we’re getting peppers in the ground. We’re running traps in various counties, got county agents running traps in the major pepper growing regions and we’re still catching significant numbers,” Sparks said. “It’s not anything like it is early in the year. They drop off this time of year, but they’re not going to zero. We know we’re overwintering pepper weevil.”

As temperatures increase, so do insect infestations. Squash bugs are also something that growers need to be mindful of.

“Temperatures control insects so much; reproduction and everything, overwintering. We’ll have squash bugs coming out of overwintering in the next few weeks or month also,” Sparks said. “The cool weather just keeps them slowed down. We do have some whiteflies out there, but I don’t think there’s anything of significance. Again, the temperature keeps them low.”

The exception to that rule? The diamondback moth.

“It can explode or disappear anytime of the year. I’ve had a few reports of some diamondback moth activity but nothing of alarming levels,” Sparks said.