Two insect species featured at orchard tour

AFP Correspondent

CANA, Va.  — The Brown Marmorated Stick Bug and three species of ticks had top billing at the Tree Fruit Growers Orchard Tour on June 16 as Virginia Tech entomologists Douglas Pfeiffer and J. Christopher Berg warned growers about the threats to their crops and their field workers.
The stink bug threat is economic damage to fruit by the eating habits of the nymphs.
The three species of tick discussed are harmful to people, even life threatening or altering in some cases.
They distributed an integrated pest management plan for stink bugs developed by scientists from several universities based on conditions in the Mid-Atlantic region.
“BMSB is a serious agricultural pest for numerous crops during the late spring and summer,” the researchers said.
Berg brought the message that the stink bugs may move between wild and cultivated pests and feed alternately among them.
Both apples and peaches are at risk from the stink bug nymph as are a number of other plants.
“Peach is considered a preferred and highly vulnerable host,” the research said in the plan. “The survival of BMSB nymphs has been studied on only a few hosts, but peach was the only host on which they completed development without feeding on another plant.
Nectarines show BMSB injury and may be as vulnerable a peach, but the relative susceptibility of apricots is less well known.”
Apples and European and Asian pears are reported to be very susceptible to the bugs which cause feeding injury. Even hazelnuts can be damaged, they said.
The IPM plan for stink bugs in Orchard Crops is available through Virginia Cooperative Extension.
The three tick species pose health risks to humans are as follows:
• Blacklegged or deer tick: can cause Lyme disease; the minimum time for a tick to transmit Lyme disease is 36 hours;
• Lone Star tick: Ehrilichiosis, causes an allergy to the meat of cattle and hogs; the minimum time for the tick to transmit Ehrilichiosis is 24 hours; and
• American dog tick; can cause Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever; minimum transmittal time is 10-20 hours.
The best protection for humans to avoid these diseases is to check their whole body each night to be sure they do not have any ticks on them.
Berg stressed the importance of examining the whole body to be sure.
He also said 20 percent or more of the repellant Deet and Picaridin are good products to use when in the outdoors to provide protection from ticks.
The attendees were urged to stress to their workers the importance of being aware of ticks and of performing the nightly checks for the disease bearing insects.