Utah Pests News Winter 2007-08

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New Utah Pests Fact Sheets:

Cereal Leaf Beetle
Lygus Bug in Alfalfa Seed

Soft Scales
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. 


Diane Alston 
Entomology Specialist  

Ryan Davis
Insect Diagnostician 

Kent Evans (No longer at USU)
Plant Pathology Specialist 

Erin Frank (No longer at USU)
Plant Disease Diagnostician 

Erin Hodgson (No longer at USU)
Entomology Specialist 

Marion Murray
IPM Project Leader 
Editor, Utah Pests News

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

Utah Pests News is published quarterly by the UTAH PESTS staff. 



Additional articles in this issue:

UPPDL Seeks Legislative Funding

FDT and DDIU Program are off and Running

Trip to Ohio Will Help Utah Diagnostics

Onion Thrips Research in Utah (pdf)

Woolly Apple Aphid Suppression on Apple Roots

Insects: Where are They Now?

Managing Drought Stress in Trees

Grower Profile:  IPM Practictioner and Apple Orchardist Dale Rowley

IPM National News and Useful Web Sites 


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 


This female fall cankerworm laid her eggs on an elm branch in late October. The eggs are adapted to survive the winter fully exposed. They will hatch in mid-spring as the leaves begin to emerge. Look for them early in the season by banging a branch over a tray.

A new fact sheet about cankerworms (spring and fall) is coming soon.

-Photo by Marion Murray