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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In Episode 2, Matt and Erin cover a range of topics. First, they summarize planting conditions for 2017 - most places in the state are too wet and and cold to plant. The weather also affects insect activity as well. Matt expands on a recent ICM News article by Erin regarding "green bridges." Both had students graduating this semester - congrats to Eric Clifton and Shelby Pritchard on all your hard work and efforts during your time at Iowa State! Finally, Matt updates us on the recent legislative activity to close the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture.  


It's a new beginning for the podcast - Season 8 starts today! Matt and Erin have a bit of random conversation at the beginning like usual. But they eventually provide a summary of the recent new of an organophosphate, chlorpyrifos. The EPA has been dealing with a petition to revoke tolerances for this widely-used insecticide. The EPA will not move forward with restricting chlorpyrifos in any crop; this could be important as farmers make product choices for 2017. Erin wrote a recent ICM Blog about it. Matt shared updates about his recent travels to the S1055 Soybean Entomology Working Group meeting in Memphis where he compares soybean production in the North Central Region to the South. Surprise - it's a lot different! Erin wraps up by providing overwintering mortality predictions for bean leaf beetle. The 2016-2017 winter was moderate and about half of the beetles are expected to survive. Read more in her recent ICM News article

Bean leaf beetle

Bean leaf beetle adult. Photo by Winston Beck, ISU. 


In the last episode of season 7, Matt and Erin talk about two new insecticide options for soybean aphid in Iowa. Movento and Sivanto by Bayer CropSciences are products that target fluid-feeding pests, like aphids, and are considered reduced-risk options compared to broad spectrum insecticides. Movento is a Group 23 and Sivanto is a Group 4D. To learn more about these insecticide groups, visit the IRAC website.


It's unusually warm this February episode. Like Bugs Bunny cartoon said - Gosh, it's hot! Matt and Erin talk about accumulating degree days for the state so far in 2017. Northern counties have accumulated between 16-22 degree days, while southern counties have accumulated 50-53 degree days. Erin uses the ISU Agronomy Mesonet to estimate temperatures. Matt also shared that the Toth Lab is noticed honey bee foraging already this year. There may not be much to feed on right now, which is concerning to beekeepers. Matt also shared some information on pyramided host plant resistance options for farmers in Iowa. Finally, Erin encouraged new agronomists to attend the Crop Scout School in Ames on March 25. 



Matt's a bit under the weather in this episode, but that won't stop his awesome commentary (see connection to Michael Jordan here)! Today, Matt and Erin talk about a new research development with soybean aphid. The entire genome was recently sequenced; see journal paper here). This is only the fourth aphid genome to be sequenced so far. Colleagues, Drs. Brad Coates and Andy Michael, helped generate data for this journal article. Matt explains the reasoning for sequencing the genome of pest species like soybean aphid. Once we have a better understanding of the genetic makeup of a pest, we can try to disrupt it and make them less successful. Then, Erin shares some recent questions coming to her from around Iowa - particularly if snow cover can help insects survive the winter. 


In this episode, Matt and Erin talk about managing twospotted spider mites in soybean. Considering other pests is important, given the non-target effects with an application. This is particularly true if soybean aphid is in the field because of recent reports of pyrethroid resistance. They discuss options, including using miticides to suppress mite populations. Implications of pest ecology and economics plays a part in managing soybean pests. 

Twospotted spider mite

Twospotted spider mites. Photo by Frank Peairs;


It's the first podcasting episode of 2017! Matt and Erin talk briefly about a few topics related to insecticides today. First, Erin recaps the findings of her insecticide resistance project from 2016. A field sprayed twice with a pyrethroid (bifenthrin) did not have efficacy against soybean aphid. She conducted an assay and discovered elevated resistance ratios for bifenthrin and lambda-cyhalothrin. Distinguishing insecticide group will become important for future growing seasons so farmers can prolong the efficacy of pyrethroids and organophosphates. Learn more about insecticide groups and resistance management at the IRAC website. Matt shared updates on pending EPA approvals of existing insecticides. Chlorpyrifos, an organophosphate, had an open comment period that closed January 17, 2017; read more about the health risk assessment for chlorpyrifos. In addition, the EPA has four public comment dockets open now regarding pollinator-only risk assessments for the neonicotinoid insecticides clothianidin, thiamethoxam, and dinotefuran. 

Erin and Matt are speaking at the ISU Crop Advantage Series this month. Find locations and registration details here. Erin is also speaking on a resistance management panel at the 2017 Iowa Soybean Research Conference on February 8, 2017. 

Insecticide Resistance Management Committee

Watch an IRAC video on how insecticide resistance happens!


Matt and Erin wrap up a few loose ends before the holiday week. First, Matt shares DowAgroSciences sulfoxaflor insecticide got a renewed registration. This insecticide targets fluid-feeding insects and was an option for soybean aphid before it was canceled in 2015. Now, sulfoxaflor can be used in a number of crops, but not for corn or soybean; cotton and sorghum have emergency labels in some U.S. states. Over the weekend, a soybean aphid Biotype-2 colony died due to a bad compressor in a growth chamber. Aphids don't tend to do well in temperatures over 100 degrees, and these ladies got cooked. Our labs host all four soybean aphid biotypes plus a few other aphid colonies. Colony management is really important and the maintenance is ongoing to keep plants and aphids healthy. Iowa State University features a 3MT (Three-minute thesis) oral competition this week. Three people featured insect-related presentations (a long video of all the speakers can be found here).

Upcoming extension events:

ICM Conference (30 Nov, 1 Dec) in Ames

Crop Advantage Series (January 2017) in Iowa

CCA Online Review Course, (on demand)



In this episode, Matt and Erin interview the 2016 Gunderson Memorial Seminar speaker, Dr. Ric Bessin. Ric is a professor and extension entomologist at the University of Kentucky. His areas of extension and research interests range from row crops to specialty crops, and has a focus on IPM.  Their conversation starts off talking about agriculture in Kentucky compared to Iowa.

Ric Bessin

He also shares observations about early season pests, like wireworms, and moves to brown marmorated stink bug, an invasive species causing havoc in Kentucky. Ric was also a Peace Corps volunteer before graduate school, and where he spent time beekeeping. He shares an interesting story about using bees to help with pain management. 


Due to technical difficulty, this is a second take at the podcast today. Matt and Erin start by sharing highlights from the recent International Congress of Entomology (ICE) meeting in Orlando last week. Erin talks about pest resistance issues for corn rootworm and western bean cutworm. Matt summarizes some work on rapid resistance development in agro-ecology systems. Fall nuisance invaders were also briefly discussed, including minute pirate bugs, boxelder bugs and lady beetles. Matt got excited by a recent aphid find on ISU campus this week - aphids and parasitized aphids were on collected from buckthorn. They don't understand the implications for these finds yet, but it is certainly not a common find. Lastly, Matt and Erin are speaking at the upcoming ICM Conference in Ames. Registration details will be posted soon. 

minute pirate bug

Minute pirate bug adult feeding on white fly nymphs. Photo at


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