New Utah Pests Fact Sheets:Cereal Leaf Beetle
Lygus Bug in Alfalfa Seed
Asparagus Beetle and Spotted Asparagus Beetle
UTAH PESTS has a Booth at Farm Bureau Trade Show
The hobo spider projected on a computer monitor awed several hundred people at this year’s Farm Bureau Trade Show. The Utah Pests group displayed a dissecting microscope and laptop to highlight common insects and spiders up close and personal. The free pens and pads were an added bonus for visitors.
UTAH PESTS Staff
Kent Evans (No longer at USU)
Erin Frank (No longer at USU)
Erin Hodgson (No longer at USU)
Utah Plant Pest Diagnostic Lab
Utah Pests News is published quarterly by the UTAH PESTS staff.
PLANT DISEASES CHEER UP THE HOLIDAY SEASON
Plant diseases are most often thought of in the negative sense, but the phytoplasma infecting poinsettia is an exception that does not stand alone. Another example is the virus that causes color-breaking in tulips. We now know that there are several viruses that can induce color-breaking and that they are vectored by aphids. Tulips with the viral disease once sold for inflated prices in the Netherlands during the 1630s. One tulip was recorded for selling around $1,500 (price adjusted for historical comparison), about the price of a large home in Amsterdam at that time.
One other plant disease that can be regarded as beneficial to some is the pathogen that causes corn smut, a disease that often disgusts homeowners when they see the lumpy disfigured ears of corn in their garden. But the young galls of these same infected corn ears are considered a delicacy in Mexico and other countries of Central America. There, the disease, as well as the delicacy, is called huitlacoche. The infected galls are priced much higher than healthy corn, and are cooked into a recipe that includes garlic, onions, and epazote (a Central American herb Chenopodium ambrosioides). It was once regarded as ambrosia to the Aztecs. The popularity of huitlacoche is increasing, and is now marketed in the U.S. as "maize mushrooms," "Mexican truffles," or "caviar azteca." So this year, a plant disease may be cheering up your living room as well as your dinner plate!
-Kent Evans, Extension Plant Pathologist
Picture of the Quarter