Oddball Pests of 2012 – The New Normal


  • Phil Pellitteri
  • UW-Madison
Project Media

Weather has had a major impact on the insects and their activity in 2012. A very mild winter, early spring warm-up, serious drought in the southern half of the state, numerous strong southerly airflows and an extended growing season all had influences this season. This will be a recordbreaking year in the insect diagnostic lab for number of samples and e- mails with over 6,600 contacts for 2012.

The early warm-up in March brought in many southern migrants. Adult variegated cutworms and armyworms moths were collected in March a full three weeks earlier than any previous records, and large numbers of cutworm egg masses were found pasted on siding and windows in the northern part of the state.. By May and early June major (almost biblical) climbing cutworm problems were seen in central and northern counties. Large influxes of both aster and potato leafhoppers were recorded early and a number of “southern insects” including the Genista broom moth, citron bug, and large numbers of two species of migratory butterflies. Strawberry growers experienced eastern flower thrips problems 2012 and a new tospovirus ( likely thrips transmitted ) was found on soybeans in the state this year.