Black-light trapping shows low numbers for pests

Published 8:53 am Wednesday, July 22, 2015

A way to keep track of pests that feed on crops such as peanuts and soybeans is by using a black-light trap. Drawn to the light, they can become ensnared in a bucket-shaped device, which is later retrieved for inspection. Two insects that are being tracked regionally, which includes Suffolk, are the corn earworm moth and the brown marmorated stinkbug.

“Corn earworms will also go after cotton,” said Austin Brown, the agent for the Southampton County Cooperative Extension, which is based in Courtland. “We’re tracking populations to see when the populations are moving from one crop to another.”

Brown added that he’s also looking for different generations, such as one that will find a place to lay eggs, and then the next, which will begin eating the plants.

So far, though, no CEMs have been caught in the trap he set up. But, there have been 1.3 BMS per night over the past seven nights. These will also go after different crops as well, Brown said.

Details of the trappings can be seen regularly on the Virginia Ag Pest Advisory, which can be found at You can also read them at the Southampton County Extension Office Facebook page. Got to

Sean Malone, a research specialist at the Tidewater Agricultural Research Extension Center in Suffolk, compiles the data from different stations. For example, for the week ending July 16, Malone reported the following:

“Corn earworm moth catches from reporting stations were low this week. Nightly averages were: Warsaw=zero; Southampton (Courtland)=zero; Suffolk=0.4. Brown marmorated stink bug nightly averages were: Warsaw=zero; Southampton (Courtland)=1.3; Suffolk=zero. Thanks to the following for their reports this week: Mary Beahm, Austin Brown and Dr. Herbert’s Entomology team.”