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.



The 4th of July weekend delayed Matt posting this podcast.

We talk about pests: corn rootworms, japanese beetles, and soybean aphdis. The dry weather is making people worried about two-spotted spider mites, so we talk a bit about that.

Matt gives shares a "Fun (?) Insect Trivia" question about the conservation reserve practice described as "Pollinator Habitat" or CP42.  Some new analysis of where CP42 is located in Iowa is the source of this question.

We talk a bit about how and where this conservation practice is placed in Iowa farm land.

For more information about CP42, visit



Erin and Matt make it back for a second episode. There is a lot of soybean aphid talk in this episode, maybe, maybe too much talk. For a summary of some of that talk, check out this link (

If you get through the first 15 minutes and are still awake there is another 12 minutes about the following:

  • Pea aphids on alfalfa in northern Iowa, may be insecticide resistant.
  • Japanese beetle adults have emerged, look to them feeding on corn and soybean. Erin notes that the defoliation on younger soybeans is not 'more bad' than defoliation on older soybeans, it just looks worse because the beans are so small.
  • Outside of crop pests, Erin shares a finding of 'kissing bugs' in Nebraska. This is a vector of Chagas disease, which can be lethal.
  • Matt gives Erin a FIT that involves this picture (what is the insect, listen to the podcast to find out).

  • Erin is doing field days throughout the northern part of the state and at FEEL in central Iowa. Check her twitter account for details.
  • Matt and many others are sharing their interests, research some swag at the Pollinator Fest at Reiman gardens:

Season 12 of the soybean pest podcast starts off with a bang, a hot, dry bang.  The midwestern drought is affecting all of us, even the 6-legged.

Check the UNL drought monitor for the current status (hint, its bleak:

We talk spider mites, cause its hot and dry.

Erin discusses the remarkable pests outbreaks occurring in alfalfa, exacerbated by a mild winter and hot, dry spring.

Matt turns our attention to Japanese beetles (JB), and the duo speculate about the impact weather has on their abundance. Erin notes a trend of JB larvae in the interior of cropfields, not just the edges. (

Erin notes the first appearance of soybean gall midges in northeaster Iowa. Matt notes some progress in detecting insecticide resistant aphids.

Rootworms are also discussed as we note egg hatch, signaled with the appearance of lightening bugs.

Finally, Erin takes might to school with reports of the Hackberry emperor. Its a pretty butterfly, definitely not a thistle caterpillar and notorious for being a cheater (

To wrap up- Erin gives updates on her live events and we note the 26 June is pollinator fest at Reiman gardens (

Also, did we mention its hot and dry?

Stay tuned for weekly updates now that the field season is in full gear.


Erin reports back from a Extension meeting on the impact of the Derecho on agriculture in Iowa.  More details and help in recovering from the Derecho can be found here:

Matt tries to get our minds off of the Derecho, drought and rising soybean aphid populations with a Fun (?) Insect Trivia question.

Stay safe.



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.



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