The cabbage maggot may seriously injure cabbage,
cauliflower, turnip, radish and related crucifer crops.
Early planted crucifers or seed beds of late ones are more
likely to be attacked. The young maggot begins feeding on
the tender rootlets and then rasps out a channel in the main
root of the plant. An early indication of attack to the
cabbage plant is the symptoms of the plant wilting badly
during the heat of the day. The plant either dies in a few
days or persists in a sickly condition for some time. In
cases where the plant dies quickly, there usually are a
large number of maggots that riddle the root making way for
decay organisms to get in and take over quickly. If such a
plant is dug up, one should be able to see the whitish
maggots in the soil around the roots of the injured plants.
They may at first resemble a grain of rice.
The adult flies emerge from the soil where they overwintered as pupae
about the time the first crucifer plants are sent in the garden. The
females either tuck the eggs down between the plant stem and the soil
of transplants, or lay eggs in a recently planted field so that the
young plant is attacked at emergence.
Eggs hatch in about 4 to 10 days and in about 3 weeks maggots are
full grown. The pupal stage lasts 12-18 days and the adults emerge
from the puparium. There may be four broods of cabbage maggot in New
York. The first occurring in late April through May, depending on
location in the state, the second in late June to mid-July, the third
appearing in mid August and the fourth in the fall. Generally the
first brood is the most destructive in upstate New York, however, on
Long Island the trouble occurs for a longer period.
Cabbage maggot adults are true flies (Diptera) a little
smaller than the common housefly. They are seldom seen by home
gardeners. The adults are gray, long legged flies closely related to
the seed corn maggot. The larvae are white and legless, tapered
toward the head, and have a pair of black mouth hooks that curve
downward for rasping. The larvae pass to the puparium, a reddish or
tan capsule resembling a grain of wheat, in the soil near the
plant. Back to Pest Information
The carrot rust fly has been reported as a pest from all of
the muckland areas of New York State where carrots and
celery are grown. It has not generally been a serious
problem in carrots grown on mineral soils in upland areas of
New York State. Light infestations have been noted in these
areas from time to time, but outbreaks requiring control
have not been reported. The carrot rust fly attacks several
host plants including carrots, parsnips, celery, parsley,
celariac, fennel, dill, caraway and coriander. Larvae mine
in the roots causing holes which are subject to rot by
The adult flies are slender, slightly less than 1/4 inch in length, and
their bodies are a metallic blue-black color. The larvae or maggots are
white, legless, and are often found in the root of the host plant.
Flies begin to emerge from the overwintered puparia in mid-May
and continue emergence into June. There is a pre-oviposition period
of a few days following emergence, and then the females deposit small
elongate white eggs in cracks and crevices of the soil adjoining the
crowns of the young carrot plants. The eggs hatch in 7-10 days, and
the young larvae move downward feeding on the fiberous roots. As they
increase in size, larvae attack the taproot but because the roots are
small at this time, they do not burrow into them, but instead girdle
them about half way down. Young plants wilt and may die. If plants
are not killed the resulting injury causes them to be forked,
distorted and misshapen. The larvae feed for about a month, then
enter the pupal stage. The pupal stage lasts about a month and the
second generation flies begin emerging during late July, peaking in
mid-August. Eggs are again deposited on the carrots (which are
enlarging rapidly at this time) and the young larvae soon enter the
carrot. They mine the cortex (outer layer) leaving meandering tunnels
filled with rust-colored debris. Soil-borne root pathogens often
invade these holes and decay starts soon after the insect injury.
Second generation maggots mature, form pupae, and some will
overwinter. A few, however, may hatch and emerge from October to late
November. Commercially grown carrots are usually harvested before the
third generation of larvae can occur, but in home gardens this may
not be the case. Back to Pest Information
The cecropia moth and its caterpillar often attract
attention during the summer months because of their large
size. The moth has a wingspread of 5 to 6 inches and is the
largest of the silkworm moths in this country. The larva is
a greenish caterpillar with bright colored tubercles or
warts on its body. It attains a length of 4 inches when full
In early summer adult moths mate and females lay ovoid,
cream-colored eggs on the upper sides of leaves in short
rows. The small (1/4 inch) larvae hatch and are at first
black. The larval stage lasts from 4 to 8 or 9 weeks. As the
larvae mature they turn a greenish color and develop two
rows of blue tubercles along the sides of the body, two rows
of yellow tubercles down the back, and two large pairs of
red tubercles on the thorax.
The larvae feed for about two weeks in the mature stage
before beginning to spin the large red-brown cocoons that turn gray
with age. Cocoons are formed on twigs and usually both ends of the
cocoon are attached to the twig. The adult moths emerge the following
summer, usually late in June, and the cycle begins again. The adult
moth is a cinnamon-red color with each wing crossed by a white band
near the outer edge. In the middle of each wing is a crescent shaped
white spot bordered by red. The adult moths are usually quiet during
the day, and fly a little at night. They are attracted to electric
lights and lighted windows. The moths do not feed.
INJURY AND MANAGEMENT:
There is usually little damage from the larvae of the cecropia as
they do not occur in large numbers in any one locale. The larvae feed
on a variety of deciduous trees and shrubs including plants in the
Rosaceae family, willows, maples, and lilacs. The larvae do not bite
or sting despite their appearance.
Generally control is not necessary. There are a number of natural
predators and parasites that work together to keep populations of the
cecropia down. However, once in a while populations may be large
enough to cause damage. Back to Pest Information
There are two species of clothes moths that commonly infest
homes, the casemaking clothes moth (Tinea pellionella) and
the webbing clothes moth (Tineola bisselliella). It is the
caterpillar (larval stage) of these insects that does the
actual feeding. Clothes moths feed on all kinds of dry
materials of animal origin including woolens, mohair, hair,
bristles, fur and feathers. Holes are chewed in items or
threadbare spots caused where fibers are chewed in
carpeting. Household items that may be attacked include
clothing, blankets, comforters, rugs, carpets, drapes,
pillows, hair mattresses, brushes, upholstery, furs, piano
felts or other natural or synthetic fabrics mixed with wool.
Silken feeding tubes or hard protective cases are often
found on infested fabrics.
The adult moths of these two species look very much alike. They are yellowish-tan
to buff-colored with a wingspread of about 1/2 inch. The larvae are white with
brown to black heads, and are also about 1/2 inch long. The casemaking clothes
moth larvae spin a protective case out of silk and material fibers, often blending
in with the fabric so damage is not noticed until a bare spot or hole is produced.
The webbing clothes moth spins silk over the fibers it is feeding on but does
not form a case around itself until ready to enter the pupa (resting stage).
Female clothes moths deposit soft white eggs in clothing and
household furnishings. A single female may deposit from 100 to 300
eggs. Eggs hatch in one to two weeks during the summer or in heated
rooms, while in unheated rooms hatching may take longer. After
leaving the eggs, the tiny larvae begin feeding and soon begin to
spin some silk either for a case or as webbing over the fabric. The
amount of time it takes for a larva to mature varies greatly, from
about 40 to over 200 days. The pupa also occurs in the larval feeding
area and usually takes between 1 and 4 weeks. Adults emerge from the
pupae mate and begin the cycle again.
Clothes moths are often found in dark places. They dislike
sunlight and are not attracted to artificial light. They may be seen
fluttering about in darkened corners or at the edge of a circle of
light. When the items on which they are resting are moved, they
either run for cover or fly to a darker area to conceal themselves.
Infestations often start when woolens are improperly stored in dark
places and left undisturbed for long periods of time. Back to Pest Information
THE INSECT AND ITS BEHAVIOR:
The cluster fly (Pollenia rudis) is a past in homes, schools,
hospitals and commercial buildings throughout much of New York and
surrounding states. It is found in areas where conditions of soil,
growing plants and climate support populations of a small earthworm
known scientifically as Allolobophora rosea. The larvae of cluster
flies feed upon these earthworms during summer months. As days
lengthen and fall approaches adult flies emerge from the soil and
seek out secluded places to hibernate. They hide beneath the loose
bark of trees, in stone walls, or in plant debris. They also enter
buildings wherever they find opportunities. Flies that over-winter
successfully emerge from hibernation sites in the spring to breed and
lay eggs on the surface of the soil near earthworms upon which their
young can feed. The breeding cycle is repeated three or four times
Cluster flies hibernating in buildings seek the seclusion of
between-wall spaces, window frames, attics and other voids. They may
be stimulated by warmth to resume activity shortly after entering, or
at any time until spring weather lures them outdoors to resume their
natural behavior. Thus from mid-August to April cluster flies, warmed
within a building, may be attracted by windows or lights to occupied
rooms, creating a serious nuisance Back to Pest Information
Cockroaches are household pests throughout the United
States. Although cockroaches are traditionally associated
with dirty dwellings, they are being discovered even in the
"best of homes". Cockroaches are one of the oldest of
insects&emdash;there are fossil remains of them dating back
200,000,000 years. They have survived such a long time
because they have demonstrated outstanding ability to adapt
to a wide range of habitats.
Cockroaches feed on a variety of foods, with a preference
for starchy and sugary material. Cockroaches will sip milk,
soda or beer left out or left in unrinsed bottles, nibble
cheese, feed on meats, pastry, grain products,
sugar&emdash;practically all the foods that we eat. They
will also feed freely on book bindings, sizing, innerlinings
of shoe soles and dead insects. They carry debris on their
legs and bodies and may spread germs and contaminate food.
Cockroaches also give off an offensive odor that may ruin
food, or may persist on dishes or other items the roaches
There are four types of house-infesting roaches that are
commonly seen in New York State. These are the American cockroach,
brown-banded cockroach, German Cockroach and Oriental cockroach.
Cockroaches have a broad, flattened shape and six long spiny legs.
They are dark brown, reddish-brown, light brown or black and the
adults of most species have wings. The following describes the
roaches and their habits:
FOUR KINDS OF
COCKROACHES TROUBLESOME IN BUILDINGS
Reddish brown to dark brown
Adults 1 1/2 to 2 inches long.
Develop in damp basements & sewers; forage mostly on
floors of buildings.
(also called tropical Cockroach)
Light brown. Mottled, reddish- brown wings on female;
lighter wings on male.
Develop and live all over the building. Adults 5/8 inch
(also called croton bug and water bug)
Light brown. Black stripes runninglengthwise on back.
Adults 5/8 inch long. Most common of the four kinds.
Develop & live all over the building, particularly in
kitchens and bathrooms.
(also called black beetle and shad roach)
Black or dark brown. Traces of wings on females; short
wings on males. Female adults 1 to 1 1/4 inches long; male
adults a little Shorter. More sluggish than other three
Develop in damp basements & sewers; forage mostly on
first floors of buildings.
Cockroaches undergo a gradual metamorphosis which means that
there are three stages in their development, egg - nymph - adult. The
young nymphs resemble the adults but they are smaller and have no
Cockroaches hide during the day in sheltered places. They come out
to look for food at night, and if disturbed, run rapidly for shelter
and disappear through openings to their hiding places. Some typical
hiding places for roaches include warm, dark, moist places such as
under a sink, behind a dishwasher, stove, refrigerator and upper
cupboards. Back to Pest Information
The Colorado potato beetle was first described in
1824 from the upper Missouri River Valley where it fed on a
weed called buffalo bur or sand bur, but when early settlers
first began to plant potatoes, the beetles discovered the
new food plant and liked it.
Adult potato beetles are yellow and have ten black
longitudinal stripes on their wing covers, and are about 3/8
inch in length. The larvae (or slugs as they are sometimes
called) are brick red in color, hump-back, soft bodied and
are a bit more than _ inch in length when full grown. They
have two rows of black spots on either side of the body.
Eggs are orange-yellow in color and laid in clusters on the
underside of the leaves.
Larvae and adults feed on the foliage of potato, eggplant,
tomatoes and peppers. They may reach large numbers and eat
all the foliage from the plant as well as spoil the fruit by
eating into it. They are especially destructive to small
Adult beetles come out of winter hibernation in mid-May on Long
Island and a week or ten days later in central New York just before
the early planted potatoes are up. Clusters of 20 or more eggs are
laid on the underside of the leaves soon after the beetles emerge.
The eggs hatch in 7 to 9 days. The larvae feed on the foliage, grow
rapidly and complete their development in 18 to 21 days. The full
grown larva burrows into the ground and changes to the pupa or
resting stage. After 7 - 10 days the adult beetle emerges from the
pupa, crawls up out of the ground, and after a short period of
feeding, lays eggs for the second generation. Back to Pest Information
The currant borer is a destructive insect pest which has
been known to become so abundant in some gardens that the
raising of currants may be abandoned for a time. In addition
to currant, it may attack gooseberry, black elder and sumac.
The currant borer adult is a clear wing moth which usually
appears in June and may be found flying around the plants or
resting on the leaves. The wing span is about 3/4" (18 mm)
and the female has a purplish-black body with three narrow
bands of yellow across the abdomen. The male has four bands
of yellow on the abdomen. The transparent wings of both have
a golden-purple border and a band of the same color on the
The larva, which is the damaging stage, is whitish with a
brown head and legs. It is found in the pith of the stems of
the currant plant.
In June the females deposit brown globular eggs singly on the bark of
younger stems of the host plants. Upon hatching the tiny larva bore
into the stem and burrow through the center. By the end of summer the
1/2" (13mm) larva is nearly full grown, and it is this nearly mature
caterpillar that overwinters.
The following May the larva burrows toward the surface of the
stem, forming a silk-lined hole just below a thin layer of bark, and
pupates there. When the adult is ready to hatch the pupal case is
pushed part way out of the stem and the adult moth emerges leaving
the empty pupal skin projecting from the hole. There is only one
generation per year.
The caterpillar causes the injury by feeding on the pith of the stem.
Infested canes do not die in the fall, but put out a sickly growth
the following spring. Larval feeding prevents the movement of
adequate amounts of water and nutrients, and the canes eventually
die. Back to Pest Information
Cutworms are the larvae (caterpillars) of night flying
moths. The adult moths are nectar feeders or do not feed at
all. The damage is caused in the larval stage only.
There are many species of cutworms and each differs
somewhat in appearance. Many of the more common species are
stout, soft bodied, smooth and cylindrical larvae. The color
ranges from brown to gray to black. Cutworms may be either
spotted or striped, or may have no particular markings at
all. The adult moths are robust, dull-colored moths,
sometimes called millers, which fly only at night.
Cutworms feed on a great variety of plants. In the home garden they
may cause severe damage in one of the following ways: (1) surface
cutworms eat off plants near the soil surface, (2) climbing cutworms
climb plants and eat leaves, fruit, etc., or (3) army cutworms occur
in great numbers and consume nearly all the foliage of the plants, or
(4) subterranean cutworms remain in the soil to feed upon roots and
underground stems. Cutworms feed at night and hide in the soil or
under piles of debris during the day.
Some cutworms overwinter as partly grown larvae, although a few
overwinter as pupae. They find shelter in the soil, under clumps of
grass, or under piles of debris. In spring as the warm weather
arrives, the cutworms begin feeding. In early summer, the mature
cutworm hollows out a chamber in the soil and transforms to the pupal
or resting stage. For the species that overwinter as pupae, the adult
moths emerge in early spring and the egg laying begins at that time.
Pupae change to moths and the moths crawl out of the soil. Another
generation begins as the females start to lay eggs in last summer on
the stems of plants or the soil surface. One female is capable of
laying from a few hundred to 1500 eggs. Eggs hatch after a few days
to two weeks and the larvae feed until cold weather arrives Back to Pest Information