Soybean Pest Podcast

by Matt O'Neal and Erin Hodgson

Erin HodgsonMatt O'Neal

Drs. Matt O’Neal and Erin Hodgson created a podcast to promote IPM concepts, like identification, sampling, economic thresholds, and insecticide efficacy. They also talk about updates on invasive pests and regulatory news, and translate new research relative to insects in agriculture.

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Calm before the (or a) storm?

Soybean Pest Podcast

It's a low-key episode that features new intro and outro-music and a new pest noted in our round up (grasshoppers).

Erin's had a long week talking about corn rootworms. We recap the current insect species occuring in soybean fields (grasshoppers, Japanese beetles, soybean aphids, a mix of caterpillars). Some pests are no longer present on the plants as the second generation is developing as immature stages in the soil. These are gall midges and bean leaf beetles. Matt tries to bring her spirits up with two trivia question. The first is a bit silly, noting the music videos on youtube that have been viewed over one billion times. The second question is a FIT that Erin gets immediately. Erin's on a roll.

see you next week, and as always, consider scouting your fields.



Part two is an interview with our listener, Dr. Dominic Reisig of North Carolina State University.

Dr Reisig is a Professor and Extension specialist in the Entomology and Plant Pathology Department. Dominic develops pest management programs for insects pests of corn, soybean cotton and small grains. Hes’ a long time listener and first time visitor to the SPP.  We invited him onto discuss stink bugs as pest of corn.

The majority of our discussion this week is about four stink bug species (brown, southern green, green and the brown marmorated stink bugs) that can attack corn in the south. Dominic identifies stink bugs as the number one pest of corn in North Carolina. For more details visit this website:

We discuss how best to sample stink bugs on corn when there is a risk of feeding on the ear. To see this scouting in action, watch this youtube video.

Finally, we get to a F.I.T. for a Big 12 vs ACC showdown. Erin goes head-to-head against Dominic with a simple question about the etymology of the name for the family of insects to which stink bugs belong, the Pentatomidae.


This week's podcast is a long one that we split into two parts. 

Part one is our usual pest round out. Erin gives us a quick summary of the insects active in soybeans. It’s the usual for this time of year, Japanese beetles, rootworms in corn, gall midges in soybeans and potato leaf hoppers in alfalfa.   

Soybean gall midges are active now and to find more information on what to look for when scouting, visit this website:

Part two is an interview with our listener, Dr. Dominic Reisig of North Carolina State University.

Dr Reisig is a Professor and Extension specialist in the Entomology and Plant Pathology Department. Dominic develops pest management programs for insects pests of corn, soybean cotton and small grains. Hes’ a long time listener and first time visitor to the SPP.  We invited him onto discuss stink bugs as pest of corn.


Here at the soybean pest podcast, we do not limit ourselves to our namesake. After Erin summarizes ongoing effortst to track insect pests of soybeans, we look to Iowa's other commodity, corn. She breaks down the progress of soybean aphids, Japanese beetles, thistle caterpillars and  leaf hoppers (in the drought plagued corner of nortwest Iowa). We discuss corn rootworms, and old wives tale connecting rootworms to lighting beetles and a surprise attack of stink bugs to a corn field in southeastern Iowa. If you want more immediate pest alerts, consider joining the Midwest Pest Alert Network:

After the pest talk, Erin shares a new insect identification challenge from University of Nebraska. See how well you do against Professor Doctor Erin, she scored a 97%.

Matt completes the pod with a Fun Insect Trivia question.  What do the four insects have in common? Below are the scientific names that he tries to pronounce. If you look up the common names, you'll immediately learn the answer.

1.Aphis nerii

2.Tetraopes tetrophthalmus

3.Oncopeltus fasciatus

4.Danaus plexippus



Erin and Matt recap a week that saw several firsts for 2022.

Soybean aphids were first sighted, so too were thistle caterpillars, and Japanese beetles.  We are obligated to encourage you to scout for these pests, as the season goes on. Thier first appearance is not a cause for alarm, just a reminder that these potential pests may cause trouble later in the season.

If you value updates about pests, consider signing up for pest-alerts:

After summarizing 5 different pests (soybean aphids, Japanese beetles, Thistle caterpillars, gall midge, Armyworms), Matt introduces 2022's first Fun Insect Trivia question.

For more about the topic of the F.I.T., visit these websites:


Despite a slow start to planting, some insects are starting to respond to emerging soybeans.

In this episode Erin and Matt kick off the 13th season on the 13th of June with a brief discussion of the spiders on Stranger Things before getting into soybean pest activity. Erin reviews predictions about bean leaf beetle winter mortality and subsequent activity on spring emerging soybeans.  Erin also reviews her groups work tracking several lepidopteran pests (that’s a bunch of moth species that feed as caterpillars on corn and soybeans).  Matt notes that it’s not just soybeans that these hungry beetles are feeding on.

For more details about the overwintering survival of bean leaf beetles-

Erin and her technician Ashley Dean have developed a pest alert system. Visit this website for more details-

If you are looking for an interesting event about pollinators, visit ISU’s Pollinator Fest on 25 June at Rieman Gardens, just south of the Jack Trice stadium.


Erin and Matt welcome Ashley Dean to the podcast to talk about her work tracking and trapping insect pests of corn and soybeans in Iowa, and the breaking news that the EPA has banned chlorpyrifos.

Ashley gives us an update on the low populations of soybean aphids, occurrences of spider mites and grasshoppers, and the slow spread of soybean gall midge into the more central part of Iowa.  She also shares her work on trapping corn rootworms and the discovery of a red western corn rootworm. We geek-out a bit about that one.

We discuss the recent announcement that the EPA is reducing the tolerances for chlorpyrifos to zero for all foods.  This is a bigger deal than the announcement just over a year ago that Corteva would stop producing chlorpyrifos. Ashley Dean wrote an article about that decision:

We discuss how the removal of chlorpyrifos will reduce the number of insecticides with different modes of action that corn and soybean farmers can use.  For details about modes of action, visit this website:

There are insecticides that can replace chlorpryifos, but they are more expensive.  For soybean aphids, there are also aphid-resistant varieties. Ashley wrote an article about the economic factors related to pest management and soybean production. She developed partial budgets for this article that goes into great detail about the costs of different approaches for managing the soybean aphid:


We got some rain in central Iowa , but it is still hot and dry. This is important for the pest that is the subject of today's Fun Insect Trivia (FIT). IN addition to that pest, Erin and I discuss the insect pests that are persisting into August.

Erin runs down the list of insects that are active in corn and soybean fields- rootworms, Japanese beetles, gall midges and soybean aphids.

Although rootworms are active and surprising some farmers in their abundance, Japanese beetles are appearing to be limited to field edges. Gall midges were found in western Iowa, but aphids are low to non-existent. 

Our last pest is the topic of todays FIT. Matt asks Erin a series of questions that include the pictures below, which are leaves damaged by this pest.  See if you can match Erins knowledge on this pest.


We also discuss the upcoming fair season- check out Erin in the beer tent on August 14-15.

We also discuss the latest edition of the Tenderloin trail.

Matt was also interviewed about the STRIPS project, including a discussion about the impact of CP43 for pollinator conservation:



Erin's back.

ON this episode we talk soybean aphids (so few), soybean gall midge (they are active agian), redheaded flea beetle (not really a pest, but common in some parts of Iowa) and on ogoing research.

Erin shares with us a might haul of articles she just published in the Journal of Integrated Pest Management. Check this links for her work on some key pests, including one on the soybean gall midge (is it new to science? read and find out).

1.Identification and Biology of Common Caterpillars in U.S. Soybean

2.Soybean Gall Midge (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae), a New Species Causing Injury to Soybean in the United States

3.Current Distribution and Population Persistence of Five Lepidopteran Pests in U.S. Soybean

4.Needs Assessment for Corn Insect Pest Management in Iowa


Finally, we discuss the FIT from last week. Check out the photo and hear Erin nail it!

Read more about the insect that was the topic of this FIT here:


This half pod is just Matt giving a few updates, a "thank you" to the Iowa Honey Producers Association and preparation for a Fun Insect Trivia (FIT) question for next week.

Erin is out in the field today. She and I will return next week, Tuesday, to discuss what she is seeing in the field and the answer to the FIT.

In the meantime, Matt wraps up the week of 12-16 July. One big observation is the occurence of soybean aphids at really low populations. One encouraging sign is the co-occurence of insect predators and mummies. The mummies are evidence that aphids have been parasitized by wasps.  Combined, these predators and parasitoid wasps may prevent outbreaks later in the summer.

Matt gives a big thank you to the Iowa Honey Producers Association for the invite to speak at their field day last weekend. Ebert honey was the host, providing a great location to share our research on prairie strips.  The beekeepers were excited to learn more about this practice and how these patches could help improve honey bee productivity.

Finally- Note the blurry picture below.  This picture was taken by a colleague working at a central Iowa research farm. Next week, I'll ask Erin what she thinks it is and what impact, if any, it could have on crops in Iowa.

(Matt failed to add it in the original submission. Its added below.)


In todays episode, Erin shares her experience seeing RNAi-based techonology for rootworm management in action.  She was not impressed. Erin describes her rootworm trapping network as the adult rootworms start to emerge. If you would like to participate, contact Erin's colleague, Ashley Dean at

We talk about other insects including soybean gall midge, leafhoppers, flea beetles, and eventually soybean aphids.

Matt offers up a Fun (?) Insect Trivia question. After listening read this for more detials:

Matt is talking at the Iowa Honey Producers Association on 10 July. Check this for more details:

See you next week.


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