DNR - Entomology Weekly Review, Aug. 28


Weekly Review for August 28, 2018

Indiana Department of Natural Resources
Division of Entomology & Plant Pathology
Phone: (317) 232-4120
Our Website
Inspector Territories

This informal report by the Division of Entomology and Plant Pathology is designed to update the Nursery and Greenhouse industry of insect and disease pests the Division has been encountering on a week to week basis and as a way to give a “heads up” of things to be on the lookout for. 

Links can be found at the bottom of the page to manage your subscription to this list. Comments and questions about this report are welcome and can be sent to Eric Biddinger or to your respective Inspector.

Eric Biddinger (Nursery Inspector & Compliance Officer) - EBiddinger@dnr.IN.gov 

Well, this is it - the last scheduled Weekly Review for 2018. Now that’s not to say we won’t send something out as the need arises. 

A few reminders…

  • You can find all the Weekly Review Archives on our webpage. I always seem to be about a month behind getting them posted, but I’ll get caught up this week. 
  • The Purdue Landscape Report is another great email newsletter you can subscribe to. They will often dive deeper into something that we mention in our reports. 

  • If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our staff. Throughout the year we do speaking engagements, attend trainings, and staff displays at various events. We are more than happy to share about what we do. 

  • The Terrestrial Invasive Plants Rule is still open for public comments. Text of the rule, comment form, and a timeline can be found at the bottom of the Natural Resources Commission New Rules page. 

Between the HIS Multistate Inspection last week and phyto inspections, I haven’t had a chance to finish up my inspections. However, when driving around, I have noticed a lot more bag worm damage in landscapes and fall webworm in wooded areas. The bagworm is particularly worrisome as by this time of year the damage is done and there is little to be done except remove the bags and prepare to treat next year.

Speaking of bagworms (and many other insects), the winter weather is a major part of predicting severity for 2019. To that end, NOAA is forecasting an El Nino pattern with average precipitation and warmer temperatures. The Old Farmer’s Almanac is in the same vein with a milder, dryer winter.  However, The Farmer’s Almanac breaks rank calling for bone chilling temperatures and plenty of snow for Indiana. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. 

Ren Hall (Nursery Inspector & Compliance Officer) RHall@dnr.IN.gov

Last week, Eric, Jared, and I attended the annual Multistate Inspection held by the Central Chapter of the Horticultural Inspection Society (HIS). This year’s inspection was in St. Louis, Missouri. This gathering is a great opportunity to learn how other states run things, meet inspectors from other states, and acquire training on horticultural topics.


Our first stop was Forrest Keeling Nursery in Elsberry, Missouri. This family-owned nursery has been in business for 70 years. They have over 50 acres of container-stock and 30 acres of field grown seedlings for wholesale (as well as a garden center open to the public), and boast over 90% of their plant production is native species. Forrest Keeling was a great place to visit for HIS because it’s one of a handful of nurseries in the pilot program of the National Plant Board’s SANC program (Systems Approach to Nursery Certification). According to SANC’s brochure, SANC is “a voluntary, audit-based program designed to reduce pest risks associated with the movement of nursery stock.”

For the first part of our visit, the nursery’s manager, Kim Lovelace, talked to us about their facilities and production, as well as their pest management techniques, and gave us a tour to show us how the SANC program integrates into the nursery’s operations. She also taught us about the nursery’s Root Production Method (RPM), a patented process for which the nursery is known.

The second half of the day we were set free on the grounds to do our inspection. It was a nice opportunity to visit with the other inspectors, admire the wide variety of plants, and of course, look for bugs.


If you’ve ever wondered how some of our inspectors get such nice photos of very small insects, here is a picture of Eric demonstrating the technique we use: hold your handlens over the phone camera and hold the phone and the insect very steady.


For our second day in Missouri, we visited the Missouri Botanical Gardens (“MoBot”) in St. Louis. According to its website, this is the nation’s oldest botanical garden in continuous operation, and it consists of almost 80 acres of land with gardens, greenhouses, museums, and more.

The first part of the day, we were given a tour of the greenhouses (which are not open to the public) by MoBot’s Senior Nursery Manager, Derek Lyle. I think we all really enjoyed seeing the “behind the scenes” production areas as well as learning about how pests are controlled in the greenhouses. In the last several years, MoBot has moved away from primarily chemical control of greenhouse pests to a more integrated pest management (IPM) approach which was really cool to hear about. Now they use a combination of control measures including “biologicals” such as predaceous or parasitic insects and mites as well as spot-control with pesticides only when necessary. The greenhouses are even home to about 500 geckos which help control pest insects!


Another interesting thing that Derek mentioned is that MoBot is committed to sustainability in harvesting of wild plants. Historically, collectors and natural historians would go to exotic places and just collect whatever plants they wanted with little regard for preserving the native ecosystems there. As a result of overharvesting and habitat destruction, many species of plants are now extinct in the wild, or the only living specimens are in collections. In addition to its commitment to only collect plants sustainably, MoBot also is dedicated to preserving and propagating rare specimens and wild habitats.


Once again we were set free to wander and explore for a bit. I enjoyed seeing their huge orchid collection, the succulent greenhouse, and the water plant tanks, as well as keeping my eyes peeled for geckos.


After lunch, we were allowed to explore the grounds at Missouri Botanical Gardens, which was a lovely experience. Everything there is just gorgeous and you’d be hard-pressed to see everything in one day. If you are in St. Louis, I highly recommend a visit.


Special thanks to Missouri Department of Agriculture’s Zach Starr and Susan Ehlenbeck for organizing and hosting this year’s event, and thank you also to Forrest Keeling’s Kim Lovelace and Missouri Botanical Gardens’ Derek Lyle for speaking to our group and allowing us the use of your facilities. Overall, I think it’s safe to say we had a great time at this year’s HIS multistate inspection. We are looking forward to seeing everyone again for the upcoming HIS Meeting in Holland, Michigan in October!

Angela Rust (Nursery Inspector & Compliance Officer) - ARust@dnr.IN.gov


No reports this week

Megan Abraham (Division Director & State Entomologist) - MAbraham@dnr.IN.gov

Eric Bitner (Nursery Inspector & Compliance Officer) - EBitner@dnr.IN.gov

Kallie Bontrager (Nursery Inspector & Compliance Officer) - KBontrager@dnr.IN.gov

Vince Burkle (Nursery Inspector & Compliance Officer) - VBurkle@dnr.IN.gov

Ken Cote (Nursery Inspector & Compliance Officer) - KCote@dnr.IN.gov

Phil Marshall (State Forest Health Specialist) - PMarshall@dnr.IN.gov

Kathleen Prough (Chief Apiary Inspector) - KPrough@dnr.IN.gov

Jared Spokowsky (Nursery Inspetor & Compliance Officer)Jspokowsky@dnr.IN.gov

Kristy Stultz (Nursery Inspector & Compliance Officer) - KStultz@dnr.IN.gov

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