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South Florida Pest and Disease Hotline
November 1, 2022
Scouting Report
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In Central Florida, whiteflies are reported to be at low to moderate levels in tomatoes, squash, and cucumbers. 

Whitefly pressure in SWFL has increased over the last few weeks as rains have diminished, although populations levels are about normal for this time of the year. Some young fields are being flooded with adults from neighboring mature fields and management is necessary. Currently, there is low to moderate pressure on tomatoes, eggplant, and cabbage, and moderate pressure on melons.

A few whiteflies were reported on tomatoes on the East Coast.

In Homestead, whiteflies in beans are increasing, but levels of associated viruses, such as cucurbit crumple leaf virus and bean golden mosaic virus, are low. Reports also indicate increasing silverleaf feeding damage symptoms in squash.

Click here for virus reports.
Whitefly: Management

Low thrips pressure is reported in peppers in Central Florida.
In SWFL, thrips pressure is low in pepper and other fruiting vegetables. Scouted thrips are presumed to be Florida flower thrips (F. bispinosa), as damage is not apparent.
In Homestead, thrips have remained at low levels in eggplant, but have increased to moderate levels in beans. The species mix in beans consists of Asian bean thrips (Megalurothrips usitatus), western flower thrips (F. occidentalis), and melon thrips (Thrips palmi).

Click here for virus reports.
Thrips: ID and Management
Asian Bean Thrips: ID and Management

Fall is worm season!
In Central Florida, caterpillars are at low to moderate levels with melonworms reported in cucumbers and squash, beet armyworms reported in peppers, and cabbage loopers reported to be the dominate species in tomatoes.
In Southwest Florida, armyworms are present at low levels in tomatoes, eggplant, and melons, and are at moderate levels in sweet corn. Other reported species are tomato fruit worms, melonworms, loopers, and tomato hornworms. Melonworm populations are reported to be increasing.
In the EAA, caterpillars are exhibiting moderate pressure, with armyworms being the main culprit on sweet corn and leafy vegetables. Loopers are also reported to have moderate populations on leafy vegetables, although they are at low levels in snap beans.
Fall armyworm pressure is also moderate on sweet corn grown on the East Coast.
In Homestead, melonworms are increasing on squash and cucumbers, and fall armyworms are following this trend in corn. Beet armyworms were reported at low levels in peppers.

Caterpillars: ID and Management

Leafminers are at low to moderate levels in tomato and squash in Central Florida.
In Southwest Florida, leafminers are increasing in tomato and eggplant, but are still at largely low levels due to the presence of natural parasites that are helping with larval control. They have reached moderate levels on some eggplant crops.
Leafminer populations are at low levels on leafy vegetables in the EAA.
In Homestead, some leafminer larvae have been found on eggplant, but populations are reported to be very low.
Leafminers: Management
Pepper Weevil

Pepper weevils have been increasing to moderate levels in Central Florida.
In Southwest Florida, pepper weevil adults have been found, although populations are low and are at normal levels for this time of the year.
Only a few pepper weevils have been found in Homestead.
Pepper Weevil: Management
Banded Cucumber Beetles

There is moderate and increasing banded cucumber beetle pressure reported from the EREC in the EAA.
Banded Cucumber Beetle: Management
Silk Fly

Some silk flies have been reported in the EAA, but populations are low.
In Homestead, silk fly adults have been seen in older corn plantings, but there are no reports of larvae yet.
UF/IFAS 2021-2022 Vegetable Production Handbook

Aphid populations are at low levels on leafy vegetables in the EAA and are also low in eggplant fields in the Homestead region.
Aphids: ID and Management

Broad mite pressure is low in both Central and Southwest Florida.
Broad Mites: Symptoms and Management
Weevil pest of celery and parsley (Listronotus sparsus):

A high level of weevil infestation was reported on young parsley and celery in the EAA (Palm Beach County) and Southwest Florida (Hendry County).

If you suspect L. sparsus in your celery, parsley, dill, cilantro, and carrot field, please contact Anna Meszaros:
Listronotus sparsus: ID, Injury, and Preliminary Management
Tomato Viruses

TYLCV has been identified at low levels in Central Florida.
In Southwest Florida, scouts also reported TYLCY in susceptible varieties at low levels.
Higher levels of TYLCV are being reported in the Homestead area in non-resistant varieties. Tospo virus has also been reported.
Whitefly (TYLCV vector): Management
Thrips (TCSV, GRSV, TomNSV? vector): ID and Management
Cucurbit Viruses

Cucurbit leaf crumple virus (CuLCrV) and Cucurbit yellow stunting disorder virus (CYSDV) were reported in squash and watermelon in Southwest Florida. Watermelon crinkle leaf-associated virus 1 was also found in melons in the area, but all viruses are currently at fairly low levels.
In the Homestead area, low levels of CuLCrV were reported.
Whitefly (CuLCrV, CYSDV, SqVYV vector): Management
Bacterial Diseases
Bacterial Spot

In Central Florida, older peppers and tomatoes that made it through hurricane Ian are showing bacterial spot lesions even on fruit (Xanthomonas sp.).
The same is true for peppers and tomatoes for Southwest Florida, and bacterial spot is affecting certain pepper varieties particularly hard and causing leaf drop. New pepper plantings are showing less disease pressure.
In addition to bacterial spot on tomato and pepper, Pam Roberts, UF/IFAS Pathologist at SWFREC, reported bacterial leaf spot on watermelon from several locations around Southwest Florida. This is an uncommon occurrence and can complicate disease management, as bacterial spot in melons is often misidentification with gummy stem blight, a fungal disease.
Bacterial Spot: Management and Symptoms
Fungal Diseases
Target Spot

Gary Vallad, UF/IFAS Plant Pathologist at GCREC, reported low levels of target spot (Corynespora cassiicola) in Central Florida.
In Southwest Florida, target spot is also present in mature tomato fields, but it is still at low levels.
Target Spot: Management and Symptoms

Rhizoctonia continues to be reported in Southwest Florida and in the EAA and is damaging the beans and leafy vegetables that survived earlier rains.
Rhizoctonia is also present in beans and leafy vegetables on the East Coast with similarly damaging effects.
Rhizoctonia: Management and Symptoms
Gummy Stem Blight

In Southwest Florida, gummy stem blight (Didymella bryoniae) has been reported across the region. Disease pressure increased to moderate-high levels after hurricane Ian and it is now being reported as one of the predominate diseases in melons in the area.
Gummy Stem Blight: Management and Symptoms
Powdery Mildew

Powdery mildew (Podosphaera xanthii) remains at low levels in Southwest Florida.
Powdery Mildew: Management
Southern Corn Leaf Blight

Moderate, but manageable, levels of southern corn leaf blight (Bipolaris maydis) were reported in sweet corn in Southwest Florida.
Southern corn leaf blight is also present at moderate levels in the EAA.
The East Coast is additionally experiencing moderate disease pressure from southern corn leaf blight.
Southern Corn Leaf Blight: Management
Oomycete Diseases
Cucurbit Downy Mildew

For Central Florida, Gary Vallad, UF/IFAS Plant Pathologist at GCREC, reported low to medium pressure from downy mildew (Pseudoperonospora cubensis) on cucurbits.
In Southwest Florida, scouts report low levels of downy mildew.
Cucurbit Downy Mildew: Management
Phytophthora Blight

In SWFL, reports indicate an increase in Phytophthora blight (Phytophthora capscici) in watermelon associated with increased soil moisture after Hurricane Ian.

There are also low levels of Phytophthora reported in pepper in the Homestead area.
Phytophthora Blight: Management and Symptoms

Pythium caused some losses in corn in areas where the crop was inundated with wet soil in SWFL and in the EAA.
Pythium: Management and Symptoms
Joel Allingham/AgriCare, Inc., Matt Bardin/Glades Crop Care, Dr. Ozgur Batuman/SWFREC, Gordon DeCou/Agri Tech Services of Bradenton, Jason Dyess/Agriquest, Inc., Craig Frey/Hendry County Extension, Rachel Giles/Advanced Ag Inc., Dr. Carrie Harmon/UF Plant Disease Clinic, Barry Kostyk/SWFREC, Leon Lucas/Glades Crop Care, Anna Meszaros/Palm Beach County Extension, Gene McAvoy/SWFREC, 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, and 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
Office: (863) 674-4092
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 Cell: (337) 501-7086 Email:

Check out this webpage for recent Pest and Disease Hotlines and information from past South Florida Vegetable Growers' Meetings. A new UF/IFAS Commercial Vegetable Production website will be posted soon.
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