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South Florida Pest and Disease Hotline
March 16, 2023
Scouting Report
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Special Alerts
Thrips parvispinus

East Coast: Current Thrips parvispinus levels range from low to high in bell pepper fields depending on farm location. It seems that infestation levels depend on neighboring crop conditions too. Populations remain high in certain areas, although not as high as originally seen last fall at the location of first detection. In heavily infested pepper fields, as many as 8 adults per bloom were observed. Immatures on fruits were also reported. Population levels are still very low in inland Palm Beach and Martin Counties.

SW Florida: Pepper, eggplant, tomato, and potato fields are being scouted. T. parvispinus has not been found on these crops yet, however the pest has been reported in an ornamental nursery.

Homestead: Dr. Dakshina Seal, entomologist with UF/IFAS TREC reports T. parvispinus in very low numbers, 0-4 per 20 leaves in peppers and beans.

If you suspect T. parvispinus in your crop, please contact Anna Meszaros: or Craig Frey: for sampling and confirmation.
Thrips parvispinus: Identification and Damage
Environmental Effects
Environmental effects on crops

The dry and warm weather has impacted crops across south Florida and Pam Roberts, plant pathologist with UF/IFAS, indicates more abiotic damage will be expected due to recent high winds.

On the East Coast, sun scald on pepper is a major concern as it has been sunny with temperatures reaching 90. Some sun shade has being applied. Getting pepper transplants and cucumber established in this weather has been challenging. Blossom end rot is also common. Potential solutions to reduce BER include reducing rapid growth during flowering through N reductions and maintaining consistent soil moisture to increase calcium update and reduce crop stress.

In the Homestead area, the hot dry weather has increased insect pressure and accelerated crop maturity to the point that farms have a hard time picking crops on time and keeping crops irrigated. Significant increase in all the dry weather related pests such as mites along with sun scald. Sun scald is a significant problem in many crops such as green bean, tomato, eggplants, and pepper. Bad pollination problems are also increasing especially in squash. A positive thing about the dry weather is that disease development has slowed down, according to Qingren Wang, commercial vegetable extension agent in Miami Dade County.

SW Florida: Scouts report whiteflies in SW FL in higher than normal levels. In some areas adults are present on all crops. In many places whitefly nymphs are starting to build and become high enough to create sooty mold.

EAA: Whitefly population levels are moderate on beans from area to area, but expected to increase with dry weather continuing.

East coast: Whitefly population levels are moderate on beans from area to area, but expected to increase with dry weather continuing. Whitefly pressure has also picked up on mature tomatoes.

Homestead: Dr. Dak Seal, entomologist with UF/IFAS TREC reports high whitefly populations on all crops. Scouts are also reporting increasing whitefly pressure in bean, tomato, squash, and brassica fields with silverleaf symptoms showing on squash.

Click here for virus reports.
Whiteflies: Management

SW Florida: Thrips numbers are increasing in pepper, tomato, eggplant, and beans as expected for this time of year. Florida flower thrips are the most common species but some melon thrips also can be found in pepper fields.

EAA: Thrips pressure is increasing in snap beans but overall it’s still at a relatively low level.

East coast: Thrips pressure varies from low to high depending on crop and location. Population levels are increasing as expected at this time of the year in pepper, tomato, eggplant, and snap bean fields. In certain areas thrips numbers increased from 0-5 to 1-50 adults per bloom.

Homestead: Thrips are present on all vegetable crops and increasing to severe levels. Bean crops are reported to be under extreme pressure by multiple pests including melon thrips and western flower thrips. Thrips infestations on eggplants are also severe and fairly noticeable on tomato fields.
Click here for virus reports.
Thrips: ID and Management
Asian Bean Thrips

SW Florida: Scouts started seeing both immatures and adults in bean fields.

EAA: Asian bean thrips populations are at low to medium levels and increasing.

East coast: Asian bean thrips populations are at low to medium levels and increasing.

Homestead: Asian bean thrips pressure is extremely high on beans. Dr. Dak Seal, entomologist with UF/IFAS TREC reports 5 to 10 thrips per bloom.
Asian Bean Thrips: ID and Management
Diamondback Moth

SW Florida: Diamondback moth (DBM) pressure has been low over the past month. Sprays have been controlling DBM populations effectively.

EAA: DBM pressure has been low over the past month. Sprays have been controlling DBM populations effectively.

Homestead: Scouts are reporting increasing DBM pressure on brassica crops. Populations vary from low to medium level.

Diamondback Moth: Management

SW Florida: Worm pressure is low overall. Beet armyworms, southern armyworms, melon worms and loopers are all present. Lesser cornstalk borer damaged some corn near Clewiston despite at plant insecticide applications.

EAA: Fall armyworm and corn earworm are being reported at low to medium population levels with increasing pressure. In certain areas slight decrease in armyworm activity was observed in young corn. Lesser cornstalk borer damaged some corn around Belle Glade despite at plant insecticide.

East coast: There has been an increase in beet armyworm numbers in peppers. Populations are mostly low, but one location with significant egg-laying was reported.

Homestead: Fall armyworm and beet armyworm populations are increasing in corn. Dr. Dak Seal, entomologist with UF/IFAS TREC reports diamondback moth and worm populations are low to medium. Melon worms are also present in cucurbit crops.

Caterpillars: ID and Management

SW Florida: Leafminer populations are low.

EAA: Leafminer populations are reported to be medium and increasing.

Homestead: Dr. Dak Seal, entomologist with UF/IFAS TREC reports leafminers are commonly seen in research plots causing a lot of mines. Scouts are also finding leafminers in high numbers on beans.
Leafminers: Management
Pepper Weevil

SW Florida: Pepper weevil infestations are reported to be low.

East Coast: Pepper weevils are present and increasing in all pepper fields.

Homestead: Dr. Dak Seal, entomologist with UF/IFAS TREC reports high pepper weevil abundance. Scouts are also seeing increasing weevil pressure too.

Pepper Weevil: Management
Listronotus sparsus

Listronotus sparsus is an emerging weevil pest of Apiaceae crops (celery, parsley, dill, and carrot). On-farm trials are ongoing to study management options for weevil control in celery and parsley. See data from a fall 2022 research trial. Grower partners indicate that some insecticides have been effective to lower the pest population in conventional celery and parsley production. However, managing this pest in organic production remains challenging. Blacklight traps seem to be an effective method to monitor weevil populations, but this method still needs to be further studied. For more information, see article in Specialty Crop Industry Magazine.   Southwest Florida: Population level varies from low to medium depending on crop and location. Multiple eggs can be found per plants, especially on parsley. EAA: Weevil numbers are low, but slightly increasing in celery.   If you suspect L. sparsus in your celery, parsley, dill, cilantro, and carrot field, please contact Anna Meszaros: or Craig Frey: for sampling and confirmation.
Listronotus sparsus: ID, Damage, and Preliminary Management
Banded Cucumber Beetles

Cucumber beetle populations are overall decreasing in southern Florida.

In the EAA, in sweet corn, cucumber beetle populations are at low to moderate level.
Banded Cucumber Beetle: Management
Silk Fly

SW Florida: Corn silk fly pressure has increased a lot over the past several weeks.

EAA: Corn silkf ly pressure has increased a lot over the past several weeks especially in the Pahokee area. Maggots are at moderate levels overall with some phorid fly activity around South Bay.

East Coast: Corn silk fly pressure has increased in the past several weeks.

Homestead: Silk fly maggot numbers are increasing in sweet corn. Dr. Qingren Wang, commercial vegetable extension agent also reports silk flies in corn from low to medium level.

UF/IFAS 2021-2022 Vegetable Production Handbook

SW Florida: Aphid pressure is moderate to high depending on location. Colonies have been forming in watermelon, eggplant, pepper, cabbage, and potato crops. An increase in aphid numbers on lower leaves were also reported in bean fields. Aphid pressure has been moderate in lettuce and brassica crops, but infestations have been managed with a few insecticide applications.

EAA: Aphids can be found in low numbers on corn. Aphid pressure has been moderate in lettuce and brassica crops, but infestations have been controlled by a few chemistries rotated. Aphid pressure is overall moderate on beans and expected to increase with dry weather continuing.

East Coast: Aphids are colonizing peppers in areas in mostly low numbers. They also can be found in low numbers in corn fields.  Aphid pressure is overall moderate on beans but expected to increase with dry weather continuing.

Homestead: Increasing aphid numbers have been reported on Brassica crops.

Aphids: ID and Management

SW Florida: Spidermite pressure is moderate and varies between locations. Increasing spider mite numbers were observed on lower leaves of snap beans, the pressure is moderate from area to area, but expected to increase with dry weather continuing.

EAA: Spidermite populations are low in corn fields, while they are at moderate level on beans. Overall mite populations are expected to increase with dry weather continuing.

East coast: Low levels of spidermites are observed on corn. They are also present on beans at moderate level but numbers are expected to increase with dry weather continuing. Spider mites were also reported in high numbers in strawberry fields. Broad Mites are fairly common in pepper and eggplant fields, from low to high levels increasing rapidly if not controlled.

Homestead: Significant increase was observed for all dry weather pest including spidermites. Their numbers are increasing in multiple crops such as tomato, corn, and eggplants. Broadmite numbers are increasing significantly in pepper too.

Broad Mites: Symptoms and Management
Spider Mites: Symptoms and Management

Homestead: Bird damage is also increasing in sweet corn fields. Silk fly maggots and birds are serious pests in the spring sweet corn.

Tomato Viruses

SW Florida: Whitefly pressure is high as well as tomato virus incidence. Tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV) is reported to be high in non-resistant tomato varieties.

Homestead: Drs. Dak Seal, entomologist, and Qingren Wang, commercial vegetable extension agent in Miami Dade County, report TYLCV from medium to high level. In some cases Varsity tomato variety showing 100% incidence. Tomato Chlorotic Spot Virus (TCSV) incidence can be observed in most tomato fields at a very low level depending on the cultivars.
Whitefly (TYLCV vector): Management
Thrips (TCSV vector): ID and Management
Cucurbit Viruses

SW Florida: Virus symptoms are also appearing in spring watermelons and expect to see more symptoms developing because of the high whitefly pressure. The following viruses were identified from watermelon fields: squash vein yellowing virus, cucurbit yellow stunt disorder virus, cucurbit chlorotic yellows virus, and cucurbit leaf crumple virus. Dr. Pam Roberts, plant pathologist at SWFREC, also reports WCLaV-1 common in the area.
Significant virus incidence was not reported by scouting partners on the East Coast nor in the EAA.

Qingren Wang, commercial vegetable extension agent, reports cucurbit crumple leaf virus on cucumber at medium incidence level.
Whitefly (CuLCrV and CYSDV vector): Management
Bacterial Diseases
Bacterial Spot

No tomato bacterial spot reports received from SW FloridaEAA, and East Coast.

Homestead: Tomato bacterial spot (caused by Xanthomonas sp.) was reported in the Homestead area. Qingren Wang, commercial vegetable extension agent, also reports bacterial spot in tomato fields at medium level.
Bacterial Spot: Management and Symptoms
Bacterial Blight

Homestead: High severity of bacterial blight (Xanthomonas campestris pv. phaseoli) infestations are detected in some snap bean fields.
Bacterial Blight: Management and Symptoms
Black Rot

Black rot infestation (caused by Xanthomonas campestris pv campestris) has been low in cabbage in SW Florida and in the EAA.
Black Rot: Management and Symptoms
Angular Leaf Spot

Homestead: Angular leaf spot (Pseudomonas syringae pv. lachrymans) incidence is increasing in cucumbers in the Homestead area.
UF/IFAS 2021-2022 Vegetable Production Handbook
Halo Blight

SW Florida: Moderate infestation level of halo blight (caused by Pseudomonas syringae pv. phaseolicola) was reported in snap beans.
UF/IFAS 2021-2022 Vegetable Production Handbook
Fungal Diseases
Target Spot

SW Florida: Target spot of tomato (caused by Corynespora cassiicola) pressure is moderate in tomatoes.

East Coast: Target spot of tomato pressure is high on the east coast.
Target Spot: Management and Symptoms

East Coast:  Disease in pepper is minimal with most areas having none. Some Fusarium crown rot can be still found occasionally in pepper fields from earlier but it looks to be subsiding with the hot weather. 

Homestead: Qingren Wang, commercial vegetable extension agent, also reports Fusarium infestation at medium level.
Fusarium: Management and Symptoms

EAA: Cercospora leaf spot of lettuce (caused by Cercospora sp.) pressure is moderate, especially found in iceberg and romaine close to harvest.

Cercospora early blight on celery (caused by Cercospora apii) remains active but at low levels.
Early Blight on Celery: Management
Alternaria Leaf Spot

SW Florida: Alternaria (caused by Alternaria alternata) can be found in low levels in snap bean fields in the Clewiston area.

Alternaria leaf spot (caused by Alternaria brassicola and A. brassicae) was detected in hotspots of mature cabbage around Clewiston.

EAA: Alternaria Leaf Spot found in hotspots of mature cabbage in Belle Glade area too.
Alternaria: Management
Powdery Mildew

SW Florida: Powdery mildew of cucurbits (Podosphaera xanthii) infestation is moderate in some squash fields.

East Coast: Powdery mildew pressure is high on mature squash plantings.

Homestead: Scouts report increasing powdery mildew infestation in squash fields.
Powdery Mildew: Management
Northern Corn Leaf Blight

In SW Florida, in the EAA, and on the East Coast, northern corn leaf blight (caused by Exerohilum turcicum) can be detected in a few more areas but it is controlled with fungicide applications. When it’s detected on susceptible varieties, more aggressive fungicides are applied. In the EAA, disease severity is observed to be the highest, when corn fields are successively planted with corn.
Northern Corn Leaf Blight: Management
Southern Corn Leaf Blight

Reports from SW Florida, EAA, and the East Coast indicate that the Southern corn leaf blight (Bipolaris maydis) infestation is at low level, pressure is increasing but manageable with fungicides.
Southern Corn Leaf Blight: Management
Oomycete Diseases
Cucurbit Downy Mildew

SW Florida: Scouts are reporting cucurbit downy mildew (caused by (Pseudoperonospora cubensis) on spring watermelons and also on cucumber, squash, and cantaloupe. According to Dr. Pam Roberts, plant pathologist at SWFREC, downy mildew on watermelons is picking up and it is widespread, but if growers are on a good program, then the level should be low.

Homestead: On cucumber, the downy mildew pressure is increasing. Infestations are about at medium level.
Cucurbit Downy Mildew: Management
Downy Mildew of Crucifers

Homestead: Downy mildew (caused by Peronospora parasitica) is increasing in Brassica fields.
UF/IFAS 2021-2022 Vegetable Production Handbook
Lettuce Downy Mildew

EAA: Lettuce downy mildew (caused by Bremia lactucae) has been found in a few lettuce fields. Aggressive fungicide sprays are keeping new infections and development under control.

Growers and scouts are asked to notify Anna Meszaros ( and Dr. Katia Xavier if lettuce downy mildew is suspected in your location.
Lettuce Downy Mildew: Symptoms and Management
Joel Allingham/AgriCare, Inc., Matt Bardin/Glades Crop Care, Dr. Ozgur Batuman/SWFREC, Dr. Julien Beuzelin/EREC, Carol Brooks, Jason Dyess/Agriquest, Inc., Craig Frey/Hendry County Extension, Rachel Giles/Advanced Ag Inc., Kevin Hampton/Agriquest, Inc., Dr. Carrie Harmon/UF Plant Disease Clinic, Lisa Hickey/Manatee County Extension, Loren Horsman/Forecheck Crop Consulting, Barry Kostyk/SWFREC, Leon Lucas/Glades Crop Care, Anna Meszaros/Palm Beach County Extension, Chuck Obern/C&B Farms, Dr. Jawwad Qureshi/SWFREC, Dr. Pam Roberts/SWFREC, Wes Roan/Lipman Family Farms, Dr. Dak Seal/TREC, Kevin Short/ICM, Dr. Gary Vallad/GCREC, Mark Verbeck/GulfCoast Ag, Dr. Qingren Wang/Miami-Dade County Extension, Dr. Shouan Zhang/TREC.
The South Florida Pest and Disease Hotline is compiled by Craig Frey and Anna Mészáros and is issued on a biweekly basis as a service to the vegetable industry.
Craig Frey
Hendry County Extension Director
Multi-County Commercial Vegetable Extension Agent

Hendry County Extension Service
1085 Pratt Blvd.
LaBelle, FL 33935
Cell: (863) 517-5880
Anna Mészáros Palm Beach County Extension Agent Commercial Horticulture (Vegetable Crop Production) Palm Beach Co. Extension Service 559 N Military Trail West Palm Beach, FL 33415-1311 Office: (561) 233-1718 Email:
Check out the new UF/IFAS Commercial Vegetable Production webpage!
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