- Author: Shimat Villanassery Joseph
The western tarnished plant bug or commonly referred as lygus bug (Lygus hesperus) has emerged as a serious pest of celery in the Central Coast. The mouthparts of lygus bug, often referred as piercing-sucking, consists of four stylets. Lygus bug uses these stylets to probe host plants and feeds on the plant fluids. When lygus bug feeds, it inserts the stylets into the injured site. Once stylets are inserted, they pre-orally digest the meristematic tissue and the slurry of digested tissue is ingested.
Injury caused by lygus bug on celery seedlings and mature plants is not completely understood. Red to brown elongated lesions are suspected as to be lygus bug feeding injuries on both young seedlings and mature plants. Also, in the greenhouse, celery seedlings suffer severe stunting or poor plant growth which is often suspected to be attributed to lygus bug feeding injury. Thus, a study was conducted in 2015 to confirm injury caused by lygus bug.
In Central Coast, lygus bug develops on weed hosts such as wild radish,common groundsel,lupines , milk thistle and mustards (Brassica spp.) surrounding the production fields, ditches, and roadways (Zalom et al. 2012). As weed hosts senesce, lygus bug adults tend to leave them, seeking food, water and shelter elsewhere including seedlings in greenhouses and mature plants in fields. The invading female lygus bug settle on celery plants to feed and lay eggs. A lygus bug female lay 161 eggs (mean) at 80 F (Mueller and Stern 1973). Lygus bugs on celery are primarily managed using pyrethroid (such as permethrin or zeta-cypermethrin) and carbamate (methomyl or oxamyl) insecticides. Thus, proper early diagnosis of lygus bug feeding injury is critical in determining the need of insecticide use and application timing for its control.
The two major injury types noticed with lygus bug adult exposure to celery seedlings were dead necrotic tissues at the crown region (Figs. 1-4) and dead elongated lesions on the petiole (Figs. 5-8).
Lygus bug feeding injury as dead necrotic tissue was found at the crown area of the celery seedling. Research show that the incidence of injury in the crown area increases with the number of lygus bug adults and longer intervals of exposure (~7 days). If lygus bug invade celery plants in the greenhouse and remain for more than a day, extensive feeding injury at the crown area can be detected. Possibly, they use the cracks and crevices in the soil to hide and move from the soil directly to feed at the crown area.
Another type of injury found on the celery is elongated lesions on the petiole (less than 0.5 inch). It is likely that elongated lesions are related to lygus bug egg laying. When a female lygus bug initiates egg laying on petiole, it lays most of the eggs in aggregated manner on a given site rather than moving around and depositing eggs singly at various sites on the petiole. This egg laying pattern is further contributing to development of elongated lesion on petiole. Moreover, there were more elongated lesions when higher number of adults were exposed for a shorter interval (< 12 h). If females move into the greenhouse or field, they can quickly lay eggs and trigger elongated lesions on the celery petiole.
Thus, egg laying on petioles can develop into elongated lesions. Monitoring greenhouse or field is critical to reduce establishment of lygus bug population for a timely management. Feeding injury can develop if the plants are not managed after detection of incoming adults in the greenhouse. Growers often see a lot of lygus bug nymphs which suggest that adults already moved in and laid eggs.
Please find the peer-reviewed article for further reading. http://cemonterey.ucanr.edu/files/240312.pdf
Mueller, A. J., and Stern, V. M. 1973. Effects of temperature on the reproductive rate, maturation, longevity, and survival of Lygus hesperus and L. elisus (Hemiptera: Miridae). Ann. Entomol. Soc. Am. 66: 593-597.
Zalom, F. G., M. P. Bolda, S. K. Dara, and S. Joseph 2012. Strawberry: Lygus bug. UC Pest Management Guidelines, UC ANR Publication 3468. http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/r734300111.html (accessed on 14 February 2016).
- Author: Shimat Villanassery Joseph
Lygus bug (Lygus herperus) (Figure 1), usually a sporadic pest on vegetable crops, is now a major pest of several vegetables this year especially on celery, lettuce, and radicchio in the Salinas Valley.
On celery, the feeding injury appears as lesions toward the base of the mature stock and young foliage in the center (Figure 2-3). On lettuce and radicchio, lygus bug feeding injury appears toward the bottom mid-rib area of the leaf (Figures 4-8).
Lygus bugs are highly mobile meaning they can move from field to field until they find a resourceful food source. Perhaps, lettuce and celery are not the nutrient rich diet to lygus bugs but these crops could provide much needed moisture and refuge. High populations of lygus bug could develop on weed hosts in the unmanaged areas such as ditches, side of the roadways etc. Also, alfalfa or beans could serve as hosts. When weed plants dry out or mowed, lygus bug adults tend to leave those hosts seeking food and water elsewhere and even seek temporary refuge in the lettuce or celery fields. Those female lygus bugs settled in the vegetables not only cause feeding injury but also lay eggs. A lygus bug female can lay on average 150 eggs for its life time in an ideal laboratory conditions. This suggests that a few lygus bug females settled in lettuce or celery can develop into colonies. Any disturbance to the favorable hosts such as mowing the weeds in the unmanaged areas or mass cutting of alfalfa could trigger lygus bug adult movement. It is important that alfalfa growers pay attention when they cut the alfalfa crop. Sequential or staggered alfalfa cutting is advisable because any area wide cutting will disturb them and will cause lygus bug adults flee the alfalfa field. Maintaining the alfalfa crop succulent with adequate water and fertilizer is advisable.
Management of lygus bug involves repeated use of insecticides particularly pyrethroid insecticides and Lannate (methomyl). Among those registered insecticides on celery such as Vydate (oxamyl) and Malathion have comparatively longer pre-harvest intervals (PHIs) than pyrethroid insecticides; thus, they are used during the early phase of the plant development. Among the pyrethroid insecticides registered on vegetables, Mustang (zeta-cypermethrin), permethrins and lambda-cyhalothrin (Warrior II) are widely used. Growers restrain from using Mustang because of maximum residue level (MRLs) restrictions imposed by certain export markets. There are several generics of pyrethroid insecticides available in the market. Repeated use or exposing pyrethroid insecticides to same generation of lygus bugs may lead to insecticide resistant lygus bug populations. Lack of insecticide coverage could also result in ineffective spray results. As indicated earlier, lygus bug adults are highly mobile and they could move as the spray equipment approaches. If nymphs exist in the field, they could easily hide in the crown areas of the plant. This suggests that there could be several reasons behind inadequate control of lygus bug. Monitoring the field is critical to reduce the establishment of lygus bug colony in the field for timely management.
- Author: Shimat V. Joseph
Lygus bug, Lygus hesperus feeding could cause economic damage to celery. Like any other true bug, lygus bug has a piercing and sucking mouth part which appears as a snout-like structure or beak on the head. Within the beak, four stylets are housed which come out while the bug feeds on the plant. In the process, stylets puncture the cells and leave a feeding sheath within the plant (Figure 1a and b). As time progresses, these injured tissues, depending on the severity, turn into sunken or elongated lesions or callus on the stem making the celery unmarketable (Figure 2).
- Author: Steven T. Koike
- Author: Carolee Bull
Since 2002, a severe leaf spot disease on parsley has occurred throughout central coastal California and particularly in Monterey County. Three different bacterial pathogens (Pseudomonas syringae pv. apii, P. syringae pv. coriandricola and an organism very closely related to P. viridiflava) have been associated with these outbreaks on parsley. Of interest to researchers and of potential importance to growers is the fact that two of these bacteria were already causing problems in coastal crops. Pseudomonas syringae pv. apii is the causal agent of northern bacterial blight of celery and P. syringae pv. coriandricola causes bacterial leaf spot of cilantro. Symptoms of all three diseases are similar and consist of small (usually less than ¼ inch in diameter) leaf spots that are noticeably angular in shape, with the edges of the spot restricted by leaf veins. The color of the leaf spots can vary from light tan to brown to dark brown. These bacterial leaf spots penetrate the entire leaf, so that the spot will be visible from both the top and bottom sides of the infected tissue (in contrast to chemical damage or abrasion in which the symptom is usually only seen from the top side of the leaf). See photos below.
Our research team is also investigating a possible new bacterial disease on fennel, as well. Because of these developments on commercially grown plants in the Apiaceae, we are seeking additional samples of foliar problems from any member of the Apiaceae crop group: celery, cilantro, dill, fennel, parsley, and others. Further clarification of the relationship between these various bacterial pathogens, determination of which hosts are susceptible to which pathogen, and other aspects may assist industry in managing these diseases.
The best samples will consist of diseased plants collected from several different locations of a field. Send samples to the UC Cooperative Extension diagnostic laboratory in Salinas: 1432 Abbott Street, Salinas CA, 93901 (phone 831-759-7550), attention Steve Koike.
Bacterial leaf spot of celery.
Bacterial leaf spot of cilantro.
Bacterial leaf spot of parsley.
- Author: Steven T. Koike
White mold disease, caused by the fungus Sclerotinia sclerotiorum, is causing damage to a number of vegetable crops in California and Arizona during the late 2010 and early 2011 months. On the coast of California, white mold is being found on crucifer crops such as broccoli and cauliflower. In the desert regions white mold is causing damage on broccoli, cauliflower, celery, lettuce, and other vegetables (for lettuce this disease is commonly called lettuce drop). White mold incidence on these crops appears to be greater than normally observed. See photos 1 through 6 below.
The first symptoms on most vegetable crop hosts are small, irregularly shaped, water-soaked areas on stems, leaves, pods, or flower heads. These infections quickly develop into soft, watery, pale brown to gray rots. Rotted areas can expand rapidly and affect a large portion of the plant. Diseased tissues eventually are covered with white mycelium, white mycelial mounds that are immature sclerotia, and finally mature, hard, black sclerotia. Mature sclerotia usually form after tissues are rotting and breaking down. Plants with infections on the main stems can completely collapse and fall over.
The black sclerotium is the survival stage of the fungus and can measure from ¼ to ½ inch long. Sclerotia are found in the soil and can directly infect plants if stems are in close proximity. However, these winter cases of white mold are due to ascospore infections. If sufficient soil moisture is present, shallowly buried sclerotia germinate and form small, tan mushroom-like structures called apothecia (photos 7 and 8). Ascospores (photos 8 and 9) are released from apothecia and carried by winds to the host plant. These ascospores are responsible for these winter infections and result in disease of the above-ground parts of plants. The relatively cool, moist weather found in most regions has allowed for the production of apothecia production and ascospore releases.
For ascospores to start colonizing plant tissues, nutrients and plant fluids from damaged tissues are usually needed. This is why white mold is very severe if ascospores land on compromised tissues such as lettuce leaves with tip burn, leaves and heads damaged by frost or other factors, stems with open wounds or exposed leaf traces (vascular tissue in the stem that is left exposed when a lower leaf falls off), and senescent leaves and stems.
Controlling white mold under these winter weather conditions is difficult. Protective fungicides provide some assistance and can be used effectively in lettuce. However, such fungicides need to be applied prior to ascospore flights and usually will require multiple sprays. Fungicides may not be warranted for crucifer crops.
Steve Koike thanks Jeff Rollins and Karen Chamusco for assistance with photographs for this article.
Photo 1: White mold (lettuce drop) on romaine lettuce.
Photo 2: White mold (lettuce drop) on romaine lettuce, showing white mycelium and two black sclerotia.
Photo 3: White mold on broccoli stems.
Photo 4: White mold on broccoli stem, showing white mycelium and one black sclerotium (center).
Photo 5: White mold on cauliflower head, showing white mycelium.
Photo 6:White mold on celery, showing numerous black sclerotia.
Photo 7: One sclerotium and several apothecia (spore producing structures) of Sclerotinia sclerotiorum.
Photo 8: Microscopic view of the spore-producing apothecium of Sclerotinia sclerotiorum. Note the lined-up ascospores (red) ready to be released. Photo used by permission (K. Chamusco).
Photo 9: Microscopic view of ascospores lined-up in a tube (called an ascus) and ready to be released. Photo used by permission (J. Rollins).