Sod Webworms- The lawn destroyer!

sod1One insect that is a major concern for gardeners and owners is the sod webworms. These are a common surface feeding insect that damage lawns. They live in virtually everyone’s lawn, but most of the time the damage is never noticed because there aren’t enough webworm larvae or the lawn is healthy and strong enough to repair itself.  No harm, no foul.  However, there are times when sod webworms become a problem and damage turf. Damage usually manifests itself as irregular dead patches that spread over time.  The grass blades seem to cut off at the crown and sometimes you can see little balls of worm dropping or frass.

sod2These pests look like tiny caterpillars but may not be visible as they hide in the soil. However, green pellets may be seen that they leave behind on grass blades. Sod webworms chew off the grass blades in lawns and the damage looks similar to a badly-cut lawn. What’s worse, sod webworms are drawn to beautiful looking lawns that are healthy and lush. They are small lawn caterpillars that feed on lawns, causing severe damage very quickly. Mature sod webworms can cause quite a bit of damage before they develop into dingy brown moths. They can consume enough grass in a short period of time to cause homeowners to think that the damage has occurred “overnight.”

Small brown spots may appear in the grass, a little at first, and then as the season progresses with rising temperatures and drier conditions, grass growth slows and the brown spots become larger and intersect. This is an indication of possible sod webworm infestation. They have even been noted to cause damage to small grain crops such as corn, wheat, and oats. The most severe damage usually shows up in July and August when the temperature is hot and the grass is not growing vigorously. In fact, most sod webworm damage is mistaken for heat and drought stress. Sod webworm-damaged lawns may recover slowly, without irrigation and light fertilization. These thin turf areas allow weeds to establish in the lawn making it unsightly.

The article given below would better explain the damage caused by these insects.

Tropical sod webworms active in local lawns

 By Larry Williams, October 2, 2014

During the past few weeks, numerous people have contacted the Okaloosa County Extension Office seeking diagnostic assistance and control options concerning fall sod webworms in their lawns.

Sod webworms are not consistently a problem every year. Some years their numbers are low enough that they are not a problem. Some years we do not see them at all.

Those years when they are a problem, it’s usually not until late summer and early fall that they become active. And, they may continue to feed on lawns until frost occurs.

Sod webworm larvae are commonly found feeding on St. Augustinegrass, bermudagrass and zoysiagrass.

Sod webworms tend to feed in patches and feed at night.

Adults of these species are fairly small grayish to brown moths.

Because sod webworms feed at night, don’t be surprised if you can’t find them during the day. The greenish or tan caterpillars will be resting, curled up near the soil line.

If you have damaged spots in your lawn, look closely for notched leaf blades, the telltale signs of their chewing damage.

They may also be found by parting the grass and looking for small green caterpillars (no larger than ¾-inch in length) curled up on the soil surface and for small green or brown pellet-like droppings.

Picking the bugs off grass by hand is obviously not an effective solution. Thus we need a solution which would effectively keep the sod webworm population in check, keeping them away from our lawns and crops, while at the same time not having any negative impact on the environment.

C Tech Corporation offers a product called Termirepel™, which is a non-toxic, non-hazardous, environmentally safe insect repellent. It can repel more than 500 species of insects on account of it being a broad spectrum anti-insect repellent. The most striking feature of Termirepel™ is that it neither kills the target species, nor the non-target species. It will simply keep the insects away from the application. This product is available in masterbatch and lacquer form and as a liquid solution. Termirepel™ can be added in mulches or incorporated in agricultural bags and films, which could be used to keep our lawns safe and guarded against the pesky sod webworms!











Termirepel™ against Rutherglen bugs threat

r1A farmer has to take into consideration a number of factors during the germination and subsequent growth of seedlings and crops. Bad weather, unavailability of nutrients and pest damage are just some of the issues that a farmer has to be prepared for. While bad weather is something that cannot be controlled no matter what, prevention or control of pest damage is one thing that farmers can take care of to make sure they get abundant produce. One such pest of agriculture is the Ruther­glen bug.  Rutherglen bugs are mainly sapsuckers and may cause damage to susceptible plants in a way similar to that caused by aphids.

r3Rutherglen bug is best known as a seed-feeding pest, attacking grain as it develops and fills. However, in some seasons, large numbers of nymphs and adults can cause damage to establishing winter or summer crops. Their populations can build up in summer weeds, and move from these into establishing winter crop, feeding on and killing small seedlings. Large numbers of Rutherglen bugs moving out of crops pose a threat to nearby establishing summer crop. The adults migrate into fields from local weed hosts, or more distant sources in spring. Infestations can be large and the period of invasion prolonged. The damage caused by these bugs may include flower abortion, reduced pod set, and seed development. Direct feeding on developing seed may affect oil quantity, quality, and seed viability. These bugs can persist into windrows, and at harvest cause problems with seed flow through harvesters, and by raising the moisture content of the grain to above acceptable standard.

r2The main issue with Rutherglen bugs around har­vest time is con­t­a­m­i­na­tion of har­vested grain. When they are in very large num­bers they can cause a num­ber of issues at harvest; live bugs in the sam­ple can result in rejec­tion of a load at the deliv­ery point. In some seasons the infestation can reach plague proportions, typically when the senescence of weed hosts in spring and early summer forces adults and nymphs into nearby crops. Although Rutherglen bug is usually a pest in spring, in rare instances large infestations have occurred in autumn with seedling crops decimated by the feeding of adults and nymphs. In very large num­bers, these bugs can dam­age seedling crops purely by weight of num­bers feed­ing on seedlings. The bugs maintain their populations on fallen sunflower seeds and migrate to cotton as the seedlings emerge. They suck the cotton seedlings dry resulting in establishment problems and gappy stands. This situation can also arise in fields with poor hygiene where weeds act as a winter host. They can also build in some winter crops such as canola and then move into adjacent seedling cotton in the spring.

The below article would further emphasize the damage caused by these pesky creatures.

Rutherglen bugs storm northern crops


An infestation of Rutherglen bugs that may have ridden recent storms into the northern grains region is causing headaches for growers from northern NSW to Central Queensland.

Dr Melina Miles, Queensland Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) says large numbers of Rutherglen bugs have migrated into cropping regions since early November.

“While the exact origin of the bugs is unknown, it is likely they are being carried on storm fronts from inland regions where they have bred up over winter and spring on native host plants,” Dr Miles said.

“Large numbers are affecting seedling establishment, simply by weight of numbers feeding on the emerging seedlings.

“In some instances the seedling crops are invaded by large numbers of nymphs walking out of weedy fallows into establishing crops.”

Dr Miles says ploughing a deep furrow between the seedling crop and the source of bugs, or a border spray may be sufficient to prevent ongoing infestation.

She says sorghum is vulnerable to Rutherglen bug from flowering to soft dough stage.

Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC)-supported research shows sorghum crops infested during flowering will fail to set seed, and infestations at milky dough stage will result in seed covered in small, dark feeding wounds.

Dr Miles says developing grain affected by Rutherglen bug feeding is light in weight, with poor germination. Under wet conditions, fungal and bacterial infections further degrade Rutherglen bug-damaged grain, infecting through feeding wounds on the seed.

If large num­bers of Rutherglen bug move into the estab­lish­ing crop, insec­ti­cide seed dress­ings will not pre­vent dam­age to seedlings, as each bug must feed to get a dose of the insec­ti­cide, and in doing so con­tribute to the plant damage. Therefore we need a solution that helps protect our plants and trees from damage, while at the same time does not harm the environment in any way. So, how do we fight this pest?  Keep reading!

At C Tech Corporation, we offer a safe and foolproof solution to deal with these tiny insects. Termirepel™ is a non-toxic, non-hazardous product that primarily repels insects from the application. It is a broad spectrum repellent which works against almost 500 species of pestering bugs thus efficaciously fending them away from the application. The best feature of this product is that it is environmentally safe and causes no harm to the insect as well as humans and the environment. It is available in masterbatch and lacquer form and as a liquid solution. To keep these insects at bay, this product can be coated on the tree trunks in lacquer form or added in mulches or films. The repelling mechanism of the product would ward off the Rutherglen bug and any other insect that could harm our crops.

 Locusts: The wreckers of food!!!

 imagesLocusts are the swarming phase of certain species of short-horned grasshoppers in the family Acrididae. In the solitary phase, these grasshoppers are innocuous, their numbers are high and they cause an economic threat to agriculture. However, under suitable conditions of drought followed by rapid vegetation growth, serotonin in their brains triggers a dramatic set of changes and they start to breed abundantly becoming gregarious when their populations become dense enough. They form bands of wingless nymphs which later become swarms of winged adults. Both the bands and the swarms move around and rapidly strip fields and cause damage to a crop. The adults are powerful fliers they can travel great distances, consuming most of the green vegetation wherever the swarm settles.

Locusts eat plant material. They are a problem because swarming locusts will strip an area of its vegetation including the crops. Locusts very often live singly or in small groups, sometimes the numbers build up and they can do a great deal of damage to the crops. A locust plague is threatening the livelihoods of 13 million people in Madagascar, nine million of whom earn a living from agriculture. Locust infestations, if untreated, could wipe out food crops and livestock grazing lands – and with it a family’s ability to provide for itself.

Locust swarms devastate crops and cause major agricultural damage and attendant human misery—famine and starvation. They occur in many parts of the world, but today locusts are most destructive in sustenance farming regions of Africa.

locust_616_600x450The desert locust is notorious. Found in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, they inhabit some 60 countries and can cover one-fifth of Earth’s land surface. Desert locust plagues may threaten the economic livelihood of one-tenth of the world’s humans.

A desert locust swarm can be 460 square miles (1,200 square kilometers) in size and pack between 40 and 80 million locusts into less than half a square mile (one square kilometer).

Each locust can eat its weight in plants each day, so a swarm of such size would eat 423 million pounds (192 million kilograms) of plants every day.

Like the individual animals within them, locust swarms are typically in motion and can cover vast distances. In 1954, a swarm flew from northwest Africa to Great Britain. In 1988, another made the lengthy trek from West Africa to the Caribbean.

From October 2003 to May 2005, West Africa faced the largest desert locust outbreak in 15 years. The costs of fighting this upsurge were estimated by the FAO to have exceeded US$400 million, and harvest losses were valued at up to US$2.5 billion, which had disastrous effects on the food security situation in West Africa.

In 2010 in mid-August, eastern Australia was hit with the biggest locust plague in more than 30 years. Without intervention, there was more than $1.8 billion worth of damage to pastures, cereal crops, and forage crops. Chris Adriaansen, the director of the Australian Plague Locust Commission, said that 5 million hectares of land were affected. But he also said that Australian farmers are as prepared as they can be: aircraft contractors are organized for surveillance and insecticide aerial sprays, and farmers have been alerted to the risks. In Victoria, where the government has allocated $39.9 million to combat the plague, government authorities will have the power to enter farms and spray locusts without farmer consent.

locustsHeavy rainfall during the Australian summer led to higher numbers of the insects. Those that hatched in autumn managed to destroy 35,000 hectares of wheat and barley crops in Forbes Shire in central-west New South Wales. Graham Falconer, deputy mayor of Forbes, calculates $36.7 million worth of damage. Falconer believes that Australia wasn’t prepared for the locusts in March and is even more worried about what will happen in August. “It’s like a war,” he says. “If we don’t win it, we lose billions of dollars in the crop.”

According to the U.N., the FAO began a $45 million pesticide campaign in Madagascar after the 2012 locust plague, but funding has stalled with many millions still needed.

Let’s take a look at the below article regarding the problem faced to overcome the battle against locusts:





Funds are running out in battle against Madagascar’s locusts


download In Madagascar, the battle against an ongoing plague of locusts risks being lost as funds to continue operations to subdue widespread infestations of the crop-hungry insects run out, posing a serious food security challenge for 13 million people.

Failure to carry through the joint 2013-16 FAO/government anti-locust programme would annul the more than $28.8 million mobilized so far and could trigger a food-security crisis in a huge part of the country.

Some $10.6 million is needed to complete the locust programme, including monitoring and spraying operations going through the end of the rainy season in May 2015.

Extra $10.6 million urgently needed to avoid a resurgence of locust plague

 The locust plague that started spreading across Madagascar in 2012 was successfully halted last year but the risks of relapse are high during the rainy season, which provides ideal breeding conditions for the pests.

“Taking action now is critical to ensure the significant efforts made so far, financially and technically, are built upon rather than lost,” said Dominique Burgeon, Director of FAO’s Emergency and Rehabilitation Division.

“The current campaign is essential to reinforce the decline of the current plague, avoiding any relapse, and then continue towards a full-fledged locust recession,” he added.

“The costs that will result from ceasing locust control activities will be far greater than the amount spent so far, so it is critical for the international community stay the course and complete the Locust Emergency Response Programme,” said Patrice Takoukam Talla, FAO’s Representative in Madagascar.

No time to waste to combat wingless hoppers

The first quarter of the year is especially critical as it corresponds to the second generation of breeding and to the formation of wingless “hopper” locust bands.

It is easier to combat hoppers, which are more sensitive to the pesticides and move more slowly than winged adults. As control operations have already been successfully carried out for one year, the hoppers are likely to form a smaller group, which however makes them harder to find and requires more ground and aerial surveys.

Biologically, even a short two-month interruption in monitoring and spraying operations could significantly erase much of the progress made so far.

Food production sharply down in southern regions

As much as 40 percent of crops in southern Madagascar are at risk from the locust crises in combination with the droughts and cyclones to which the island nation is prone, according to FAO.

More than three-fourths of the population in the Autism Andrefana and Androy regions, where maize and cassava production have declined sharply and rice output remains well below trend, currently face food insecurity, up notably from a year earlier.

Successful programme

FAO, working with the government, designed a three year $39.4 programme starting in 2013 that has already surveyed more than 30 million hectares – an area almost as large as Japan – and controlled locust infestations over more than 1.3 million hectares with pesticides and biopesticides, all without triggering any major impact on human health and the environment.

FAO’s has also invested resources in training personnel so that Madagascar has national capacity to monitor and combat the insects.

The resources raised so far in support of this effort have come from the governments of Austria, Belgium, France, Italy, Japan, Madagascar through a World Bank loan, Norway and the United States of America as well the European Union, the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund and the International Fund for Agriculture Development. Algeria, Mauritania, and Morocco also donated pesticides.

images (1)These measly creatures are surely causing us a lot of agricultural and economic losses. In countries like Africa, the Middle East where there is already a scarcity of food and poverty, the havoc caused by these creatures is proving too much of trouble for the people. Traditional methods of using insecticides and pesticides are very harmful and toxic to the crops, environment as well as human race. These insecticides harm the target species along with nontarget species. Some important insects are also killed which indirectly affects the ecological system. Thus some eco-friendly, non-toxic and non-hazardous method is needed to overcome such problems.

C Tech Corporation has designed a new coming era revolutionary product called Termirepel™.

Termirepel™ is a non-toxic, non-hazardous and eco-friendly polymer additive which works on a unique mechanism of repellency. It works at effectively creating a repellent response within the termite species against the application in which Termirepel™ has been incorporated and used. This response is temporary and does not kill the termite colony. This is a very important aspect as every species has a role to play in the ecological cycle. Termirepel™ is also available in the form of a liquid concentrate as well as lacquer that can be applied on the wooden floorings and other wooden construction in the houses. It can also be incorporated in agricultural films to provide protection against the insects/termites.

Ravenous Caribbean termite with pointy head!!!!!

5371577-tree-termiteNasutitermes Corniger, more commonly referred to as the conehead termite, is an invasive species of termite that aggressively eats wood in just about any form. Its nickname stems from the cone shape of its soldier termites’ heads. Soldiers make up an unusually large portion of the total conehead termite colony – anywhere from 20-30% of the colony. Only 1-2 percent of subterranean and dry wood colonies are soldiers. Another way to distinguish conehead termites is by the appearance of their tunnels. While subterranean termites also build mud tunnels, coneheads build wider and much more extensive tunnels than subterranean. Still another distinctive characteristic is the appearance of their nest. Visible conehead termite nests are usually built in the open, perhaps in a tree, and look like a large, dark-brown “bumpy” round or oval shaped ball.

Conehead termites are species native to the Caribbean. They were first brought to Florida via wooden Pallets delivered from Caribbean Island in 2001. Residents in Florida referred to them as ‘Tree Termites’ for years but they were renamed conehead termites to alleviate the misconception that this pest is only found in trees. They act like peers infesting any wood it can find to feed, build colonies, and generally wreak havoc.

They grow in hot, humid environment, which is why they prefer tropical and subtropical region. Unlike most termites, the conehead termite does not rely on underground tunneling to travel. Instead, they forage on the ground like ants, allowing them to spread quickly. Conehead termites are an extremely aggressive termite species known for causing widespread property damage in a short period of time.

termite-prevention-conehead-drywoodTermites are nothing new to South Florida; 20 or so species provide a challenge to homeowners and a steady income to the pest-control industry. What makes this termite different is that it lives above ground, so it doesn’t compete with the more common subterranean termites.“The behavior and biology of conehead termites are entirely different from what the industry is accustomed to,” said Allen Fugler, executive vice president of the Florida Pest Management Association. “It will build a nest in a tree. It looks like a paper wasp nest, and it could be easily overlooked, even by trained professionals.

In early 2000, The Department of agriculture along with Florida Pest Management Association and Certified Pest Control Operators of Florida worked together to devise consistent, reliable control methods the average pest-control operator can use. The department had requested $202,000 from the state Legislature and the National Pest Management Association lobbying Congress for matching funds on a three to one ratio, for a maximum of $606,000 in federal money. The funds were used towards training and subsidizing termite control for property owners, who can’t afford it, said Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for the National Pest Management Association.

Let us have a look at the below article regarding how this coneheads again invaded the colonies in south Florida’s Dania Beach.




Conehead termites invade Dania Beach

Species first discovered in city in 2001

Author: Jenise Fernandez


sfl-termite-species-pictures-003Broward County is experiencing a major bug problem, as conehead termites are spreading throughout the area just before termite swarming season.

The conehead termites popped up in Dania Beach about 14 years ago. Since then, experts have been able to contain the species. On Tuesday they were out at several properties, destroying nests before swarming season.

Experts said the colonies of conehead termites are nestled in the trees and not visible to the naked eye.

The insect is a ravenous Caribbean termite that’s easily recognizable by its pointy head. The species is also considered dangerous and highly adaptable.

“It can also get into ornamentals, fruit trees. There’s almost nothing that it won’t eat,” science adviser Barbara Thorne said.

The species first popped up in Dania Beach in 2001.Termites_large

To prevent them for spreading, experts go out once a year to try to destroy the nests in hopes of eradicating the species altogether.

“What you want to do is contain them here and kill them before they swarm to another location,” Andy Rackley, with the Florida Department of Agriculture, said.

A property off of Southwest 45th Street is one of two active nesting grounds for the conehead termites. But despite that, experts believe they’re doing a good job at making sure the species doesn’t spread throughout the county.

Experts said once they spot a nest, they destroy and incinerate it. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of termites are expected to take to the air and find their territories during swarming season.

“This termite is very capable of spreading quickly and probably quite far in South Florida if not beyond,” Thorne said.

The process of killing the termites takes about a day and a half. Once the nests are destroyed, experts will come back out to make sure no more pop up.

These pointy heads are responsible for much of the estimated $40 billion in economic losses attributed to termites annually. Their habitat ranges over in South Florida, already home to a daunting number of invasive plant and animal species thriving where they should not. It is not always possible for an untrained individual to see evidence of termites; however, homeowners can sometimes identify a potential termite problem by being vigilant in and around the home. Thus termination of these termites is need of an hour.

C Tech Corporation, an Indian based company has come up with a novel solution to deal with such problems. Termirepel is an aversive for termites and insects. It has unique qualities which range from being non-toxic and non-hazardous to being “ECO-FRIENDLY”. Aggressive species are further deterred from attacking by advanced mechanisms like aversion, feeding deterrents, mating disruption, reproduction cycle inhibition, growth impairment and chemo sterilization thus modifying their response towards the Termirepel containing products resulting in them staying away from the application. Thus, Termirepel actually helps in modifying insect behavior. It does not harm or kill the insect but just repels them away from the application.