Lords Environmental - Fall Webworm


Hyphantria cunea

The larvae of the fall webworm feed on more than 100 species of fruit, shade and forest trees and are especially noticeable during the late summer and early fall. The larvae spin conspicuous webs enclosing entire branches or groups of branches. The webs are more numerous in open locations such as along roadsides. Larvae feed inside the webs stripping the leaves with just the mid-vein remaining.

Damage is usually not severe as fall webworms are seldom numerous enough to cause total defoliation. When they are present in large numbers the damage is still not serious because these insects are late season feeders and by the time the leaves are consumed the leaves have already performed most of their function to the plant. The webbing which may persist after leaf drop, however, is unsightly.


The larvae are quite hairy, and range in color from light buff green to near black. Both color forms may be present in a local area. The adults are one of our common tiger moths, white, sometimes with dark spots on the wings.

There may be two broods of the fall webworm each year in some areas of New York State. The first brood occurs in May but is small and often goes unnoticed. The main brood occurs during July and August, and is larger than the first.

Eggs are laid in hair-covered masses on the undersides of leaves from May to August. The eggs hatch and the tiny larvae start building a web enclosing a few leaves. As they grow, they expand the web covering more foliage and thus encompassing more food. The larvae leave the web in the last instar, crawl down the tree trunk or spin down and pupate in a thin cocoon spun in the debris at soil surface or just below soil surface.
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Adult flea beetles feed on the leaves of cabbage, tomato, tobacco, potato, cucumber, melon, grape, spinach, eggplant and related crops. They chew many holes in the leaves and a heavily infested plant may look as if small shots had been fired into it. The foliage may be very badly eaten on many garden plants causing the plants to die. Larvae feed on the roots and tubers of the host plants. In most cases different kinds of flea beetles attack only closely related plants, but some are general feeders.

The adult flea beetle is small - 1/16 to 1/5 inch long, oval in shape, and it varies in color from blue-green to black. These small jumping beetles have the hind femora enlarged. The larvae are delicate, whitish, slender cylindrical worms, not over 1/3 inch long with brownish heads and long legs.

After mating in the late spring, the female beetle enters the soil near the base of the food plant to lay her eggs. The eggs hatch in 5 to 8 days. The larvae feed on the roots for 2 to 3 weeks. When the larvae are mature they enter the inactive pupal stage for 10-14 days. Adults emerge and a second generation begins and sometimes even a third. The insect overwinters as an adult in the soil and emerges again in May or June to begin feeding on the next season's crops.
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Fleas are small, 1/2 inch in length, wingless, laterally flattened brown to black insects that feed as adults on the blood of birds and mammals. They have sucking mouth parts and long hind legs for jumping. Many species are very annoying because of their bites, and a few act as vectors of disease. Some people and pets are known to develop allergic reactions to flea bites.

Fleas become pests when they get into our houses. Fleas in houses are usually linked with a pet or a visiting cat or dog. Cat fleas (Ctenocephalides felis) and dog fleas (C. canis) are the species most often found in houses. Wild animals have fleas also, and if such animals are living in the homes, fleas may become a problem. Flea problems often occur when the host animal has been absent for a period of time, such as when the family goes on vacation taking or boarding the pet. Fleas may also be driven into the house during prolonged periods of wet weather.

:Each species of flea has one or two kinds of animals it prefers, although when hungry, it will attack a wide variety of warm blooded animals sometimes including humans.

Cat and dog fleas periodically jump on and off the host. When the host is removed for a period of time, they are left without food. Hungry adult fleas often attack the first warm blooded animal that comes in the door, often biting people around the ankles. In addition to adult fleas present at the time, vibrations are known to cause, at least in part, the emergence of new adults from pupae. Walking across the floor may trigger emergence. Adult fleas live on the blood of the animals, and must have a blood meal to reproduce.

Female fleas lay eggs, usually on the host, after taking a blood meal. The eggs, however, are not attached to the host and shortly fall off and develop on the ground or in the host's nest or resting place. The eggs hatch in 2 to 12 days under favorable conditions (65-80 degrees F. and 70% or greater relative humidity) into tiny, whitish, legless larvae with bristly hairs. They have a well developed head capsule with chewing mouth parts. Flea larvae feed on organic debris (hair and shed skin of the animal), their own case skins and on the feces of adult fleas. Thus they are often found in pet resting places. Larvae tend to avoid light by burrowing down into carpeting or hiding under pet bedding. The larval stage may last from 4-6 to 24 days in the summertime, 21 to 200 days under less favorable conditions.

When fully grown, the larva spins a silken cocoon and enters the pupal or resting stage (lasting usually 5 to 14 days, however, if the stimuli for emergence are absent, fleas may remain in the pupal stage for prolonged periods of time). The adult cat and dog fleas emerge from the pupae and often crawl up on blades of grass out-of-doors or onto furniture, draperies or the like indoors and wait for a host to pass. They jump quickly onto the host and begin feeding. Adult cat or dog fleas are long lived; they may live a year or more with periodic feeding.

A few relatively simple observations can help determine what a flea problem is like. Keep an eye on your pet and watch how much it scratches. Note if and when fleas attempt to bite people. Determine where fleas are active by walking through suspect areas wearing white socks (tuck in pants legs) which will allow you to see fleas as they try to bite. Write down your observances.

Or, if you suspect fleas are present, place a shallow pan of water containing a little dish washing detergent or vegetable oil on the floor and place a gooseneck lamp with the light about 6 inches above the liquid surface. Adult fleas try to leap toward the light at night and fall into the liquid and drown. There are also commercial lighted flea traps available. A good monitoring tool, these traps also help to remove fleas.

Use a flea comb to comb your pet regularly. The flea comb removes fleas from a pet, but does not kill them. Inspect the comb after each pass over the pet, dip comb into a bowl of warm soapy water, or pull captured fleas from the comb and flick into the container of soapy water to drown them. Keeping records of flea activity will help you determine if a population is increasing.
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Poesilocapsus lineatus (Fabricius)

The fourlined plant bug is a sucking insect that feeds by withdrawing the green colored matter of the leaf from localized spots. The feeding sites turn brown and if abundant, coalesce to form a large brown blotch. Relatively few individuals can cause great damage.

This insect has a wide range of host plants including Amur maple, viburnum, currants and gooseberries and a great variety of herbaceous plants such as chrysanthemum, dahlia, delphinium, lupine, peony, phlox, snapdragon, daisy, mint, sunflower, zinnia and many garden vegetables.

Adults are yellowish or yellowish-green bugs with four longitudinal black lines down the wing covers. These longitudinal stripes account for this insect's name. The antennae and legs are greenish-black in color. Adults are about 1/4 inch in length. The nymphs are yellowish-green to bright red with blackish spots on the thorax.

Fourlined plant bugs overwinter in the egg stage in slits cut by the female in canes of currants, brambles and other woody plants. Eggs hatch in last spring and the newly emerged red nymphs begin to feed. Nymphs grown rapidly and are full grown in about seventeen days, in which time they have molted five times. The full grown nymph is about 1/5 inch (5mm) long, with black wing pads that extend halfway to the end of the abdomen and bear a yellowish-green stripe near the outer margin.

The adults appear about mid-June and are active feeding on plant tissue for about a month and then they disappear. During the adult stage, mating occurs and the females commence laying eggs in about one week. The female has a strong ovipositor with which she inserts the eggs into slits cut lengthwise into the stems of plants. One-half dozen or more eggs are packed into the slit which may be two or three inches long.
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