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Soybean Pest Podcast

Soybean Research Podcast

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.


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.

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.

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:

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 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 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.

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

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.

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.

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:

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 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:

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:


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: