sam74
Full Member
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2015 3:42 am
Location: North Dakota

white flying insect a problem?

Hello,

Second post since I posted in the new member forum.

I've got a good looking garden growing in ND and in the past week I've noticed a small white looking flying insect very prevalent in my garden on my corn plants in particular.

I've got three varieties growing. One is just now beginning to tassel. The second should begin in another week and the third about 2 weeks after.

The potential problem I have seen within the last week is a lot of the small white looking flying insects when I am hand watering/fertilizing my corn plants. They are everywhere when I walk through and water my corn plants. I tried to research and thought they were aphids personally but no luck on self identification.

Does anybody have any ideas what they are and if they are harmful. Up until this point I've just had to dodge mosquitos but these things have me concerned for my corn plants health.

I've got pole beans planted around my corn and some tomato and cherry tomato plants along with some cucumbers and pepper plants.

Anybody got any ideas or information if I should be concerned or not?

Thanks,

Steve from TN/ND

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: white flying insect a problem?

A picture or two if you can capture it would help and knowing where you are.

How big are they? Do they settle down and then fly up in a cloud when disturbed? If so could be whiteflies:

Image
http://www.everythingabout.net/articles ... eflies.jpg

They are small:

Image
http://www.optimara.com/doctoroptimara/ ... %20fly.jpg

I haven't heard of whitefly as a common pest of corn, but they will attack many different vegetables. They are plant juice suckers. They will weaken the plant and can cause yellowing and death of leaves. They also excrete the excess sugars from their diet as a clear sticky substance called honeydew. The honeydew will attract ants and other pests and gets black sooty mold.

Let us know if this sounds like what you have.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

sam74
Full Member
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2015 3:42 am
Location: North Dakota

Re: white flying insect a problem?

I'm in Western North Dakota. I'll try to sneak up on them and get a picture this afternoon. The only time I've noticed them is walking between the corn rows and inspecting/watering and there will be a cloud of flying white insects as I walk through. Really in just the past week have I noticed this.

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: white flying insect a problem?

Infestations of whitefly can mushroom quickly.

You didn't say if yours are small like this. But it is sounding like whitefly.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

sam74
Full Member
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2015 3:42 am
Location: North Dakota

Re: white flying insect a problem?

Okay, I'm pretty sure it is not white flies and I'm not nearly as infested (if I'm infested) as your picture. I tried to take some pictures but I it is windy and hard to keep the camera phone focused.

I think it may just be regular old insects maybe baby grasshoppers. They have a lot of bugs up here and I'm in the country and grasslands. I've got a variety of flies and other creeping bugs and spiders, dragon flies and frogs hanging out. These bugs do seem to be on all plants (tomatoes and cucumbers and corn). You can kind of hand wave the cuckes and tomatoes and see them more jump/fly and walk through the corn and they disperse. They aren't to camera friendly either. They are probably not infest level but are more prevalent than the other bugs.

I've tried to attach the two best and clear pictures

Thanks for your help,

Steve
Attachments
154.JPG
IMAG0449.jpg

ahl389
Full Member
Posts: 27
Joined: Thu Jul 16, 2015 6:15 pm
Location: NY/NJ Zone 7a

Re: white flying insect a problem?

I'm curious to know what these are too. I've seen a couple hanging around my plants as well, but not many.

imafan26
Mod
Posts: 11126
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: white flying insect a problem?

It looks like a leaf hopper. The biggest problem with them is that they can transmit diseases. If you have an active garden patrol, their predators will take care of them.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27490
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: white flying insect a problem?

Yep leaf hopper. Do you have spiders in your corn patch? A few good spiderwebs and climbers like crab spiders take care of those nicely. Like @imafan said it really makes a difference if you don't kill off the Garden Patrol.

I had to duck yesterday because a dragonfly was zooming from the opposite direction in the narrow space between the corn row and espalier fruit trees :lol:
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: white flying insect a problem?

I agree, leaf hoppers. Like aphids and white flies, they are plant juice suckers and they can feed on many different plants. They can leave marks on foliage, where they pierced it to suck juices, and especially if there are a whole lot of them, they can cause yellowing and curling of leaves.

But unless you have a major infestation of them, they generally don't do enough harm to worry about. It is not generally recommended to bother trying to control them (which is difficult).

By "garden patrol" we mean the beneficial insects, birds, and other creatures that eat your pest insects and so keep their populations under control. It is always good to encourage these in your garden. Predators of the leaf hoppers include lace wings, minute pirate bugs, ladybugs, some tiny stingless wasps that parasitize their eggs, and certain spiders.

Planting nectar-rich, spring and summer flowering shrubs and ornamentals is a good way to be sure you have beneficial insects in your garden. That includes things like marigold, cosmos, mints, and flowers that have their nectar in tiny florets, like all the umbelliferae (carrot family) plants -- carrots, parsley, caraway, dill, fennel, cilantro etc. Other good flowers for beneficial insects include yarrow, tansy, milkweed, penstemon.

Planting a variety of nectar flowers like this in and around your vegetable gardens will help ensure that you attract and maintain a good population of beneficial insect (and your garden will be so beautiful! :) )
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

Taiji
Greener Thumb
Posts: 885
Joined: Fri Oct 05, 2012 7:19 am
Location: Gardening in western U.P. of MI. 46+ N. lat. elev 1540. zone 3

Re: white flying insect a problem?

I've noticed lots of extra leaf hoppers this year too, along with lots of other little almost invisible things that fly away whenever I water or brush past my plants. It's just that kind of a year. Consequently, lots of my leaves have shown little pinholes and more disease than usual. Things have survived pretty well though.

Even a lot of the native plants are showing tattered leaves.

imafan26
Mod
Posts: 11126
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: white flying insect a problem?

Leaf hoppers can transmit viruses, especially to corn. The one here that is a problem is Maize mosaic virus. To get around that we have a couple of maize mosaic resistant tropical corn cultivars that is put out by the UH. Temperate corn does not fare as well and when those plants get the disease, I have to yank them. Leaf hoppers do suck juices from the plants but unless they show up in large numbers, most plants will handle that. The price of maintaining a healthy garden patrol will be tolerance of a little damage. The garden patrol keeps the problem insects under control but do not eliminate them. If they did they would have nothing to eat.

I admit I have never had a swarm of leaf hoppers on my plants, at most I only see one or two and I don't see them around for very long.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

sam74
Full Member
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2015 3:42 am
Location: North Dakota

Re: white flying insect a problem?

I believe you guys and gals are correct. I googled leaf hopper and got several pictures of similar looking creatures. The fancy colored ones look interesting. I wonder if they are from tropical regions. I've just got the plain jane variety but I suppose that is what they need to blend in up here.

I'll try and snap some photos of the other insects, spiders and amphibians hanging out in the garden to maybe post in a later thread.

Thanks

Return to “Vegetable Gardening Forum”