Utah Pests News Summer 2011

Utah Pests News 

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The following can be found on our Web site:

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug


Diane Alston 

Ryan Davis
Arthropod Diagnostician 

Marion Murray
IPM Project Leader
Editor, Utah Pests News

Claudia Nischwitz
Extension Plant Pathologist

Ricardo Ramirez
Extension Entomologist

Cory Vorel
USU CAPS Coordinator

Utah Plant Pest Diagnostic Lab
BNR Room 203
Utah State University
5305 Old Main Hill
Logan, UT 84322

Utah Pests News is published quarterly.

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All images © UTAH PESTS and USU Extension unless otherwise credited



Additional articles in this issue:

Aphids All Around

Hollyhock Weevils Cause Reduced Flowering

November 2010 Freeze Injured Plants

Peach Leaf Curl

European Earwig
Functional Roles in Peach Orchards

CAPS Update: Gypsy Moth

Common Household Pests: Carpet and Hide Beetles

Predatory Insects

News, Publications, and Websites

It's Swarm Time!

A honey bee swarm will alight on a branch, surrounding and protecting the queen, until a suitable cavity is found in which to make a new hive. They are not aggressive while swarming.

A honey bee swarm can be an impressive, and sometimes intimidating, sight, as a huge cloud of bees (sometimes as large as the size of a suburban backyard) flies from a crowded bee colony to a new location. There were many reports of honey bee swarms in northern Utah this spring from anxious homeowners. A better understanding of swarming behavior should alleviate concerns anyone may have when encountering a swarm. In the spring, a honey bee colony will rapidly build up its resources and produce a lot of brood. Often this leads to cramped conditions by late spring or early summer. In response, the colony will split into two, and the new colony relocates, a process also known as swarming. The process begins with the rearing of a new queen. Simultaneously, scouts begin looking for a suitable location for a new hive. Hollow trees are a favorite, but any large cavity is a potential new home. About 30 to 70% of the worker bee population will engorge themselves with honey before leaving so that they will have plenty to eat as they search for and establish a new home. Once the new queen has matured, she stays with the existing colony and the old queen and worker bees leave to start the new hive. Soon after departing, the old queen will land on an object as a temporary staging area. The worker bees will orient to the queen’s pheromones and surround her. The result is a huge ball of bees that can sometimes be located in a backyard tree. The scouts that had previously located potential new nesting sites try to “convince” the hive to move to their chosen site. After a few hours, a decision is reached and the swarm departs. Witnessing the bees’ arrival or finding a swarm may cause unnecessary panic. Swarming bees are actually much more docile than bees in a hive. Their main concern is keeping the queen safe and warm and relocating the hive. The worker honey bees are still engorged and will have a difficult time stinging. I have walked right up to a swarm and held my hand within an inch of the bees with no consequence. They have no brood or honey to protect in this situation, and thus, are calmer. Homeowners concerned about a swarm may contact the Utah Beekeepers Association, which maintains a list of beekeepers that are interested in collecting swarms. A local beekeeper may agree to come out to the residence and collect the swarm, to the mutual benefit of all.

-Cory Stanley, USU CAPS Coordinator  


Delaplane, K. S. 2007. First lessons in beekeeping. Dadant & Sons, Inc., Hamilton, IL. 166 pp.

Shimanuki, H., K. Flottum, and A. Harman. 2007. The ABC & XYZ of bee culture. A.I. Root Company, Medina, OH. 911 pp.

UTAH PESTS' New Websites

The websites under the UTAH PESTS’ domain have all been re-designed to make browsing easier and more efficient. They are full of information related to insects and plant pathogens. A new site has been created, focusing on BEES! They can be all accessed from utahpests.usu.edu, or directly at: bees.usu.edu, ipm.usu.edu, uppdl.usu.edu, and caps.usu.edu.


Featured Picture of the Quarter


Green fruit beetle larvae feed on decaying matter in compost or manure piles, where they can be very numerous. An interesting characteristic of the grubs is that they crawl on their backs, moving up and down through the debris pile as they feed. This image was created using LAS EZ Montage software and a Leica M165C microscope. The scope has an autofocus mechanism that takes many photographs through the depth of field and the software compresses the images into one, so that the entire specimen is in focus. The system is a new addition to the diagnostic lab to aid in diagnostics and to create an image database, thanks to funding from the Utah Dept. of Ag. and Food and the USDAAPHIS Cooperative Agriculture Pest Survey program.

-Image by Ryan Davis, Arthropod Diagnostician