THE INSECT PEST SURVEY
Volume 18 Supplement to Number 3 May 15, 1933
ENTOMOLOGY AND PLANT QUARANTINE
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
THE STATE ENTOMOLOGICAL
Digitized by the Internet Archive
INSECT PEST SURVEY BULLETIN
Vol. 18 Supplement to Number 3 May 15, 1938
NOTES ON TOBACCO INSECTS IN 1937
By W. C. Nettles
Chairman Survey Committee, Tobacco Insect Council _1/
On July 8, 1937, the entomologists interested in the control of
tobacco insects met in Florence, S. C., and organized the Tobacco Insect
Council. In connection with the work of this group of entomologists, a
committee was appointed to make a survey of the distribution and abundance
of the principal tobacco insects in 1937. It is expected that in the
future surveys the committee will be able to present more detailed re-
ports. The need for making an annual survey of the irifsects infesting
tobacco in the States where it is grown was recognized and plans are
under way for making this a more detailed survey.
T03ACCO FLEA BEETLE (Epitrix parvula F.)
At Oxford, N. C., an infestation on the edge of a woods showed
3.5 beetles per square foot in December 1936 but only 0.6 beetle per
square foot in March 1937. Records from hibernation cages indicated
that beetles were active in February.
There was a recovery of living beetles in 1937 of 24.1 per-
cent from muslin-covered cages located in the edge of a woods and
33.6 percent in similar cages located from 6 to 8 feet within the
woods. In the spring of 1936 there was a recovery of 47.3 percent
in cages located from 6 to 8 feet within the woods and placed over
the natural undisturbed litter, and the greatest percentages of beetle
recovery occurred in cages having the smallest quantities of litter
on the soil surface.
l/ For assistance in assembling these notes on tobacco insects, the
writer is indebted to the members of the Surve.y Cozrmittee of the
Tobacco Insect Council as follows-: W. A. Shands, North Carolina;
J. 0. Rowell, North Carolina; H. H. Jewett, Kentucky; L. B. Scott,
Tennessee; W. W. Stanley, Tennessee; and W. E. Britton, Connecticut.
STATE PLANT BOARD
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At Florence, S. C., tobacco flea beetles were active on
January 23 in muslin-covered cages located in the edge of a woods.
The recovery of living beetles during the spring ranged from 0 to
41 percent in individual cages. The lowest recoveries were from
cages in which the beetles had been placed late in September 1936.
The earliest recorded activity of the tobacco flea beetle
in Tennessee was on April 12.
During the latter part of March a survey of 47,350 square
yards of plant beds in east-rn North Carolina showed that flea beetle
damage was severe in poorly constructed beds. Of 18 beds examined,
7 had from 0 to 40 beetles per square foot. No attempt was made by
growers to control the beetles in the beds examined. In 8 counties
of north-central North Carolina from 80 to 100 beds were examined
and beetle populations ranged from.8 to 45 per square foot.
Owing to unseasonably innin weather in January and February
in South Carolina, seeds germinated early and plants made an early
growth. The first beetle injury in the beds vi-s observed on Febru-
ary 25, near Loris. During March injury in plant beds wae common.,
A maximum infestation of about 46 beetles per square foot was found
on 1 bed, and injury was more pronounced where the beds were poorly
Observations mndt in the tobacco districts of Georgia and
Florida showed the populations of tobacco flea beetles to be heavier
in all periods of growth of the crop thin in 1936.
In Tennessee and Kentucky the dnnoge by. flea beetles in
plant beds was reported to be severe.
Plants in. the Field
Counts in fields of nevly set plants over southeastern North
Carolina late in March and in April showed infested plants ranging
from 20 to 100 percent in the various fields examined. Similar counts
made in 1936 indicated that beetles were more numerous on newly set
tobacco than in 1937. Severe injury by adults and larvae on newly set
tobacco occurred in the northwestern '.nd north-central parts of North
Carolina. Loss in stand was heaviest in Surry, Stokes, Yndkin, For-
syth, and Guilford Counties. The injury was also common but less se-
vere in Person and Granville Counties* In localities where the plants
were most severely injured replanting was carried out as many as six
times. Some of the fields were plowed ind seeded to other crops.
Some of this injury could be attributed to diseases, methods of culture,
and woather conditions. Apparently three brooks of beetles were pro-
duced in tobacco fields in North Carolina. The general abundance of
beetles and sevqrity of injury on theq mature tobacco appeared not to
vary greatly from that in 1956.6
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Owing to cool weather and,previous injury from downy mildew,
tobacco that was transplanted the latter part of.March and the first
part of April in South Carolina made slow growth, and flea beetle in-
jury in many instances was severe. This made a large number of re-
plantings necessary and resulted in an uneven growth of plants. No
survey of the tobacco-growing area in South Carolina was made in 1936
or 1937, but flea beetle outbreaks were serious in some sections of
the State. Injury to the tobacco in the fields in Horry County was
severe during the growing season of 1937. Severe injury to growing
plants in the fields was reported from many sections of the State in
In Tennessee the peak of abundance of flea beetles in tobacco
fields was reached during the period August 1 to 7, at which time a
survey at Knoxville showed an average of 16 bqetles per plant.
POTATO FLEA BEETLE (Epitrix cucszneris Harr.)
The overwintered brood of potato flea beetles appeared in the
tobacco fields of Connecticut about the first of June. The peak of
abundance of adults was reached in the fields during the period July
6 to 18. Owing to the application of control measures, the popula-
tions in shade tents wore not large. This insect was the most destruc-
tive pest of tobacco in the Connecticut River Valley in 1937.
,HOP,.VOR.S (Protoparce spp.)
In 1937 at Oxford, N. C., there was a recovery of 436 moths
or 19.66 percent of the larvae that were placed in hibernation cages
in September 1936. The numbers of male and female adults recovered
from the cages in 1936 were approximately equal, and the greatest
emergence occurred in mid-August. A total of 750 hornworm moths were
collected during 1937 in 9 traps, with heaviest catches on August 18.
From moths taken in the traps it was found that about 75 percent were
the tomato hornworm (P. sexta Johan.) and the remainder the tobacco
hornworm (P. quinquemaculata HFlaw.). Of the adults of P. sexta caught,
about G6 percent werp males, while only about 60 percent of the P.
quinquemaculata were males.
Larval injury in 1937 was probably more abundant in the vicinity
of Oxford than in 1936. The period of most severe injury was late in
Auaust, which was soon after trap catches indicated the greatest abund-
ance of moths. This injury occurred after about one-half to two-thirds
of the plant had been harvested.
The hornworms were present in destructive numbers in many parts
of South Carolina tobacco districts. No figures are available on the
damage that resulted. Two species of predacious wasps on horrnv.orm
larvae were reported. These were determined as Polistes canadensis
annularis L., and Polistes fuscatus rubialnosus Lep.
Larvae of the hornworms attacking tobacco were abundant in to- /
bacco fields around Knoxville, Tenn., during the period August 12-Sep-
tember 15, reaching the peak of abundance on the station farm on August
31. The population counts showed 80 larvae on units of 50 plants or
1.6 larvae per plant, in untreated fields.
The spring brood of adults of the tomato hornworm on tobacco
began around April 25 in tho Florida-Georgia tobacco districts. The
first gen-ration of adults emerged in June end the second generation
the latter part of July. The populations increased in each brood, but
during the latter part of August and September these insects largely
'isappearod from tobacco fields. By the first of October adults were
difficult to find.
In Connecticut the late fields of tobacco and suckers in har-
vested fields were heavily attacked by larvae of P. quinquemaculata.
This was an ,usru-uiy heavy infestation for this section,
A heavy infestation of the hornworms appeared in Maryland at
about harvest time and severe losses resulted in many tobacco fields.
D'-r.gLe s reported also in the barns where the stalks were cut and
hung for air curing.
BUDWORMS (Heliothis spp.)
In the Florida-Georgia tobacco districts the tobacco budworm
(H. virescens F.) was present in about the same numbers as in 1936.
0;ing to the efficient manner in which control m-rn :-ur: s were applied
by the growers of cigar tobaccos, highly destructive populations were
not present in tobacco fields.
The tobacco budworm (H. virescens) anl the corn ear worm (H.
obsoleta F.) on tobacco were abundant in lNorth Carolina around July
1 but, ouing to the-effective application of control measures, the
insects were brought under control in most fields.
During June and July severe outbreaks of the budworms were
reported on tobacco in many sections of the South Carolina tobacco
The budworms on tobacco were reported from Tennessee and
Kentucky but no unusual outbreaks occurred on the burley and dark
H. virescens was observed in small numbers in fields of sun-
grown tobacco in Connecticut.
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TOBACCO THRIPS (Frankliniella fusca Hinds)
This insect is of greatest economic importance in the shadie-
grown cigar tobacco districts of Connecticut and Florida. Severe
damage was reported from Florida in 1936 but in 1937 little damage
was reported, owing apparently to more abundant rainfall. H-avy
d-i-L'ge .as reported from the shale tobacco districts of the Connecti-
cut River Valley, including the States of Connecticut and Massachus .ttn.
The damage was observed to be most severe around the edges of fields
bordering on grasslands.
Cutworms were reported to be inflicting important damage to
tobacco plant beds in 1937 from South Carolina, North Carolina,
Connecticut, Tennessee, and Kentucky. In North Carolina the ide i tifiid
species found injuring tobacco plants wore as follows: Fjltia sub-
gothica (Haw.), Lcophotia margaritosa s2u'cia Hbu., Parastichtis
bicolorago Guen., ani Agrotis ypsilon (Rott.).
The species reported most Ldstructive in Connecticut were the
dark-sided cutw'vorm (Euxo- messoria (Harr.)) an'l the climbing cutv.'orm
(Agrotis c-nigrum (L.=).
W11"Y.0 v\Rr T.S (Elateriudae)
Wireworms werc. observed in North Carolina and South Carolina,
inflicting severe damage on newly set plants. The species involve l
were not ilentifie.. In South Carolina fields were exLmined rhich
showed that fr'm 70 to 80 percent of all the newly set plants were
attacked by wireworms. Severe injury to nev.ly set plants vas observed
also from some sections of North Carolina.
Wireworms, the principal species of which was Limonius agonus
Say, inflicted severe dain to newly s-t plants of cigar tobaccos in
Connecticut in 1937.
V^-E. 3LE i..LE=VIL (Listroderes obliguus Klug)
The vegetable weevil was found attac:inr, your tobacco plants
in the seedbeds at Quincy, Fla. This is the first record of the apj -.r-
ance of this insect as a p;st of tobacco in'the United States.
Grasshoppers were reported in destructive !LuTmb-rs from Tennessee,
North Carolina, and Connecticut.
71hite grubs, Cotinis nitida (L.), and mole crickets, Scap-
toriscus spp., were serious pests of tobacco plant beds in South
Carolina and sections of the Florida-Georgia tobacco districts.
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UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
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In North Carolina midges, Chironomilae, and the black European
slug (Agriolimax agrestis L.), ,rj present in injurious numbers in
tobacco plant b6ds.
The following soil-inhabiting insects were destructive to newly
set tobacco plants in Connecticut: The seed corn maggot (Hylemyia
cilicrura Rond.) and the crane fly (Nephrotoma soclalis Loew).
Infestations of th, root aphid Trifidaphis phaseoli Pass.,
on the roots, and of the tarnished plant bug (Lygus pratensis (L.)), on
thy leaves, were reported on the growing crop in Connecticut.