Mites Everywhere

Jerry Brust, IPM Vegetable Specialist, University of Maryland;

There are reports of spider mites in multiple crops, with injury in tomatoes and a variety of cucurbits, mostly watermelon. Spider mites love hot, dry weather and that is what we have been having the last two weeks or so. They tend to start out at field edges or by drive rows. Anywhere dust settles on the crop is a likely spot for the earliest infestations. In watermelon, infestations usually start in the crown and spread from there. The oldest leaves will take on a yellow color along the midrib with necrotic spots (Fig. 1). This damage can be misjudged as a disease. Check for the mites on the underside of leaves to verify their presence (Fig. 2).

Figure 1. Mite damage to watermelon crown leaves

Figure 2. Two spotted spider mites on underside of watermelon leaf

For control there are several good miticides out there, but you need high gallonages of water 70-100 gallons/A and thorough coverage of the top and underside of the foliage or you will not reach all the well-hidden mites. Agri-Mek has translaminar movement, so if it is sprayed on the upper leaf surface it will penetrate into the leaf and reside there. Portal works on all stages of mites while Acramite is primarily active on the motile stages of mites (not eggs) and has a long residual. Oberon can take longer to work (check back in 5-7 days) but will give excellent control. Zeal is a growth regulator and will not kill adults but will kill immature mites, it works especially well if you catch the infestation early on. As always be sure to check the label before spraying any pesticides.

New Changes to the Worker Protection Standard Went into Full Compliance January 2, 2018

You must comply with the Worker Protection Standard if:

– You own, operate, or are employed on any farm, forest, nursery, or greenhouse where pesticides are used in the production of agricultural plants;

– You hire or provide employees for any agricultural business which Mix/load or apply pesticides.

  • These employees are defined as Handlers under WPS

– You have employees that work in areas that have been treated with pesticides within the past 30 days.

  • These employees are defined as Workers under WPS

– You or anyone you employ is a certified/licensed crop advisor.

WPS Requirements for Employers:

Two of the most significant WPS changes are:

  • Workers and Handlers must be trained prior to performing any duties, and they must be retrained EVERY year.
  • Handlers who are using pesticides that require respiratory protection must complete a medical clearance and respirator fit test as outlined by OSHA standards.

A guide that summarizes the maximum requirements under the revised WPS can be found on-line at

This guide does not include exemptions and exceptions. However, it does provide references to those exemptions and exceptions.

EPA WPS Update and Approved Train-The-Trainer Course
Trainers who provide WPS training must either be a certified applicator or complete an EPA approved Train-The-Trainer Course. A course that provides an update on the WPS and also qualifies as an EPA approved Trainer-The-Trainer course will be offered by the University of Delaware Pesticide Safety Education Program (DE-PSEP) in Kent and Sussex counties. Details are available here.

Assistance Available to Agricultural Producers Through the Conservation Stewardship Program

Agricultural producers wanting to enhance current conservation efforts are encouraged to apply for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP).

Through CSP, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) helps private landowners build their business while implementing conservation practices that help ensure the sustainability of their entire operation. NRCS plans to enroll up to 10 million acres in CSP in 2018.

While applications for CSP are accepted year round, applications must be received by March 2, 2018 to be considered for this funding period.

Through CSP, agricultural producers and forest landowners earn payments for actively managing, maintaining, and expanding conservation activities like cover crops, ecologically-based pest management, buffer strips, and pollinator and beneficial insect habitat – all while maintaining active agriculture production on their land. CSP also encourages the adoption of cutting-edge technologies and new management techniques such as precision agriculture applications, on-site carbon storage and planting for high carbon sequestration rate, and new soil amendments to improve water quality.

Some of these benefits of CSP include:
•          Increased crop yields;
•          Decreased inputs;
•          Wildlife population improvements; and
•          Better resilience to weather variables.

NRCS recently made several updates to the program to help producers better evaluate their conservation options and the benefits to their operations and natural resources. New methods and software for evaluating applications help producers see up front why they are or are not meeting stewardship thresholds, and allow them to pick practices and enhancements that work for their conservation objectives. These tools also enable producers to see potential payment scenarios for conservation early in the process.

Producers interested in CSP are encouraged to contact their local USDA service center. In Delaware’s Sussex County, call 302-856-3990, ext. 3; in Kent County, call 302-741-2600, ext. 3; and in New Castle County, call 302-832-3100, ext. 3. Or visit the Conservation Stewardship Program page for more information.

Webinar: Connecting Health Insurance and Agricultural Viability—Helping Farmers and Ranchers Address Health-Related Risks – October 10

Tuesday, October 10, 2017     1:30-3:30 p.m

Health, access to care and health insurance affect the vitality of agricultural enterprises and farm and ranch families, according to results from a national research project funded by the USDA. Designed for Extension, tax, loan, health and other agricultural advisors, this webinar will provide an overview of the research findings and introduce some practical tools that educators and advisors can use to help farmers and ranchers make informed decisions for their businesses and households.

Participants will leave the webinar with:

  • An understanding of the intersection of health and agricultural business viability, grounded in 2016-2017 national research findings;
  • Tools they can use in their work farmers, including worksheets, videos and other informational resources.
  • Questions to ask farmers and ranchers to help incorporate health costs into farm enterprise and risk management planning.

Scott Loveridge, North Central Regional Center for Rural Development

Shoshanah Inwood, The Ohio State University
Bonnie Braun, University of Maryland Extension
Bob Parsons, University of Vermont Extension
Jake Jacobs, University of Vermont Extension
Maria Pippidis, University of Delaware Cooperative Extension

This webinar is FREE. Register online:

For more information, please email To request a disability-related accommodation to participate in this program, please email by September 19, so we may assist you.

The project was supported by the Agricultural and Food Research Initiative Competitive Program of the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), grant number 2015-2014-05623.

2018 MidAtlantic Women in Ag Conference – Feb 8 & 9

February 8 & 9, 2018
Dover Downs, Dover, Delaware

Women across the region coming together to EDUCATE, ENGAGE, EMPOWER. February 9, 2018 will mark our 17th Annual MidAtlantic Women In Agriculture Regional Conference. The conference goals are to provide women involved in agriculture an opportunity to come together to learn about current issues and topics so they can make informed decisions concerning their agribusinesses and family lives. Sessions will cover topics in marketing, financial, production and legal.

Back by popular demand we will offer a preconference, February 8, 2018 with the option of two topics: Social Media and Specialty crops.

Location: Dover Downs Hotel & Casino Dover, Delaware (room rates available). Registration is open:

Early Bird Pricing Available until 12/31/17. For further information, contact: Shannon Dill at or (410) 822-1244

Managing Brussels Sprouts for Fall Harvest

Gordon Johnson, Extension Vegetable & Fruit Specialist;

Brussels sprouts have gained popularity as a vegetable with consumers and growers on Delmarva have started producing the crop again for local sales. Larger acreages of Brussels sprouts were grown in the past on Delmarva and the area is well adapted for the crop in the fall.

Topping and lower leaf removal (kiting) will increase uniformity and yields in Brussels sprouts. Cut off the terminal (top) of plants when sprouts begin to form in mid-September. It will then take about 30 days for sprouts to fully develop. At the same time, remove the bottom leaves progressively as the sprouts develop to produce firmer sprouts.

Sprouts can be harvested from mid-October onward. Snap or cut sprouts from the stem successively from the bottom. Commonly, flavor is improved after a frost (sprouts are less bitter). Brussels sprouts will tolerate heavy frosts but will freeze once temperatures drop below 20°F.

Whole stalk harvest (once over) is also practiced. Cut the whole stalk when the majority of sprouts are at least 1.5 inches in diameter and remove any leaves.

Plants of the ‘Hestia’ Brussels sprout variety topped and/or with lower leaves removed (kiting) had much higher yields than untreated plants.

Guess the Pest!

Bill Cissel, Extension Agent – Integrated Pest Management;

The correct answer to Guess the Pest Week #21 is soybean looper. Click on the Guess the Pest logo below to participate in this week’s Guess the Pest! Guessing correctly will automatically enter you into a raffle for $100 gift card at the end of the season and one lucky winner will also be selected to have their name entered into the raffle five times. For Guess the Pest # 22, we will also be giving away A Farmer’s Guide To Corn Diseases ($29.95 value) to one lucky participant.


Guess the Pest Week #21: Answer is Soybean Looper


Soybean looper (note color variation)

In Delaware, we have two species of loopers that occasionally cause economic damage to soybeans by feeding on soybean foliage, the soybean looper and the cabbage looper. Distinguishing between the species is difficult but soybean loopers typically have black true legs and black spots on their bodies (relying on this to distinguish between species is not always reliable). Soybean loopers do not overwinter in our area and moths migrate north on wind currents. Soybean looper larvae are tapered with an enlarged abdomen and have two pairs of fleshy abdominal pro-legs (do not count the pair of legs on the last abdominal segment). They move by rearing up on their fleshy pro-legs, arching their bodies and holding their heads up in the air. Sometimes they will be found resting in this position.

Soybean Looper

They can often be confused with green clover worms which have three pairs of abdominal pro-legs. Green clover worms will also wiggle violently when disturbed.

Green Clover Worm

Distinguishing between soybean loopers and green clover worms is important because soybean loopers are not effectively controlled with pyrethroids. The threshold for soybean loopers during soybean pod-fill stage is 15% defoliation.

Please refer to our Soybean Insect Management Recommendations for chemical control options:

Guess the Pest Week #22

What is this insect?

To submit your guess click the Guess the Pest logo below or go to:

Potato Late Blight Update #11 – July 5, 2017

Nathan Kleczewski, Extension Specialist – Plant Pathology;; @Delmarplantdoc

Late Blight was reported 5/29 near the NC –VA border.

Greenrow – May 1, 2017

Date DSV Total DSV P Value
6/23-5/1 8 49 467
6/21-6/23 3 41 386
6/16-6/21 8 38 379
6/8-6/16 4 30 354
6/1-6/8 4 26 302
5/30-6/1 5 22 244
5/25-5/30 3 17 225
5/23-5/25 4 14 179
5/15-5/23 7 10 161
5/4-5/15 3 3 104
5/1-5/4 0 0 30


Notes: Season severity of 18 severity values indicates the need for the first fungicide application. An accumulated severity of 7 after fungicide application identifies the need for a subsequent fungicide application. You can personalize your late blight forecasts for specific fields, sign up for email or text alerts, and enter in management information at

Real time fungicide application timing tables for locations within Delaware can be accessed at

See the 2016 Commercial Vegetable Production Recommendations-Delaware for recommended fungicides:

Any suspect samples can be sent to the Plant Diagnostic Clinic or dropped off at your local Extension office. Dr. Nathan Kleczewski can also be contacted at or 302-300-6962.

The website USABlight tracks tomato and potato late blight across the nation and can be found here: Information on scouting, symptomology, and management can also be found on this website.