Insect scouting

Regular scouting is important to determine pest presence and changes in insect populations in the crop. Crop staging, climatic conditions and an insect’s life cycle can all be factors in considering what and when to expect insect pests. When monitoring, it is important to look for the presence of the insect, what life stages are present, damage to the plant and where the damage is. Another component to scouting and monitoring is determining how many insects are present. The method of counting insects will vary for different pests and can include counting the number of insects per square meter (e.g., grasshoppers), counting the number of insects per plant (e.g., diamondback moths and bertha armyworm) or using a sweep net to determine the average number of insects per sweep (e.g., cabbage seedpod weevil). When the insect pressure is known, economic or action thresholds can be used as a guide for control decisions. Economic thresholds will vary with the cost of the insecticide, the cost of application and the current value of the mustard crop as well as the insect pest in question.

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