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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It was a terrible, horrible, no good very bad week in central Iowa.  Erin and I give a summary of the Derecho's impact. We give a brief shout-out to ISU Extension, and Meaghan Anderson's summary of the damage to corn ( Consider joining Meaghan's newsletter:

We also talk about the recent increase in soybean aphid populations and the occurence of sub-populations that are resistant to pyrethroids. This may result in soybean aphids remaining in fields that were sprayed with insecticide.

No fun insect trivia this week. It was enough just to clear the yard, fields, etc and get the power back on.



Erin and Matt are back after a week off of podcasting to discuss a remarkable sitatution in Iowa. Soybean plants are developing faster than normal, 1-2 weeks ahead of schedule.  Aphid populations are increasing. Are the plants going to out grow the aphids? So what should a farmer do? Erin and Matt discuss the pros and cons of a foliar insecticide application.

Erin discusses some insects attacking the other crop grown in Iowa (hint: its corn). Corn earworms are causing injury due to the second summer migration.

Its a drought in the wester half of Iowa and the duo discuss how that may or may not be the cause of more frequent observations of spider mites.

Finally, Matt has a short FIT-ish question for Erin that she gets right! That's two in a row.


The heat is making field work challenging and podcasting an attractive alternative.

Erin covers a lot of ground, recapping reports of increasing (though sub-economic) soybean aphid populations, rootworm injury and new additions to the insects found in corn and soybean fields, including skipper sightings in soybeans (

The hot and dry conditions in the western half of the state is making it challnging for corn and soybeans. We've seen this issue in the past, and this article reviews how to address spider mites that may be exacerbated by these weather conditions:

Matt highlights some observations from a cannabis farm, in which a Eurasian Hemp Borer was observed on several plants.  A summary of this pests biology, ecology and management can be found in this factsheet from the Colorado State University:

On 23 July, 2020, Matt is speaking at a webinar sponsored by the Liberty Prairie Foundation.  He wil talk about how the prairie strips practive in the Conservation Reserve Program (CP-43) can conserve pollinators on farm land. Details about this webinar and others hosted by the Liberty Prairie Foundation can be found here: Please feel free to join the webinar.

See you next week and stay safe.



Erin breaks it down for us, describing the increasing the number of pest species attacking soybeans in Iowa.  This includes, but not limited to, aflafla caterpillar, soyean gall midge, soybean aphids and why not, Japanese beetles. Matt shares a mythological inspired FIT.

Erin will be at "Essential Row Crop Managment Summer 2020" Webinar series. This is a joint venture between University of Minnesota Extension and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, starts next week. This series of short, timely, and topic-specific webinars for farmers, ag professionals, Extension personnel and other interested parties will be held from 1:00 to 1:30 p.m. on July 14, 16, 21, and 23. 
To continue reading, view page:


Matt will be featured in a webinar sponsored by the Liberty Prairie Foundation's summer lecturer series:

Stay safe out there!



Erin and Matt talk about the growing community of insects found in soybean and cornfields.  Erin shares updates from her field staff, including observations of several species of lepidoptera that are still in caterpillar form. For more details visit,

She also gives an update on the frequency and growth stage of soybean gall midges.  For more information about the Soybean gall midge, visit

Finally, Erin mentions her rootworm trapping network. Details can be found here:

Matt shares a F.I.T. that was inspired by a 2019 interview of Saturday Night Live cast member Kate McKinnon,

Don't watch the clip until after you heard the clues, as Kate gives a way the name of the type of insect in her interview.  If you want a hint, names associated with this insect include, but are not limited to: biting, non-biting,  phantom, mountain, meniscus, and dung.



Erin and Matt are back. Erin talks about insect pests that are starting to show up in fields, including the soybean gall midge.  Matt shares a FIT inspired by a trip to a field of Iowa's newest crop.



Erin and Matt are back from a skipping a week. Erin shares a observations from around the state of a several different insect pest sightings, including japanese beetles, thistle caterpillars, and soybean aphids. This includes a discussion of Brian Lange's discovery of soybean aphids in north east Iowa. Erin also shares a first! Below is a link to the longer article about scouting for corn rootworm larvae.

Matt's been writing grants and a little out of it, but he took some time to challenge Erin and our listener with a Fun Insect Trivia. (Hint: its an insect).

Stay safe!





Erin and Matt talk about insects pests showing up in places other than soybeans, like alfalfa and the twin cities. Some are currently causing problems and others may be a problem in the future.

Aphids in alfalfa:

There are stalk borers on the move:

Want to learn more about soybean gall midge (of course you do):

Khapra beetle citing in MN:

Matt gives a FIT with a bonus question and then goes on a historical tangent about the history of an ecological phenomenon described as "persistent and straightened-out movement effected by the animal’s own locomotory exertions or by its active embarkation on a vehicle.  It depends on some temporary inhibition of station-keeping responses, but promotes their eventual disinhibition and recurrence."

This FIT was inspired by the recent book, Tne Next Great Migration written by Sonia Shah.






In this episode, Matt and Erin quickly review current pest activity given slightly behind degree days in 2020. 


In this episode, Matt and Erin quickly review current pest activity given slightly behind degree days in 2020. 


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