December 2013

SportsTurf provides current, practical and technical content on issues relevant to sports turf managers, including facilities managers. Most readers are athletic field managers from the professional level through parks and recreation, universities.

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FieldScience | By Brandon M. Gallagher Watson Entomology 101 Safe and effective management of shade tree pests I NSECTS ARE ONE OF THE MOST SUCCESSFUL GROUPS OF ORGANISMS ON THE PLANET. For hundreds of millions of years, insects and plants have co-evolved, sometimes antagonistically, sometimes to the benefit of both parties. Insects are also of considerable concern to arborists, but we are long past the days in which we just spray indiscriminately and hope we kill the bad ones. Insect management today requires knowledge of biology, ecology, tree physiology, phenology, and chemistry so we can protect trees with minimal impact on beneficial insects and the rest of the ecosystem. So what are the basics we need to know to safely but effectively manage shade tree insect pests? First, we need to wrap our heads around the sheer number of insects and their diversity. The current count is more than one million named species, represent- 14 SportsTurf | December 2013 ing about half of all animal species alive on the planet today. The estimates of not-yetnamed species is anywhere between six and 10 million species; so if you have an interest in discovering and naming new species, entomology may be the field for you. Insects are grouped with other invertebrates such as spiders, millipedes and lobsters, but have some distinguishing characteristics. Like these other arthropods (from the Greek word for "jointed leg"), insects have, of course, jointed appendages, exoskeletons made from chitin, and segmented body parts. Every organism classified into the Class Insecta will have six legs, two antennae, a three-part body consisting of a head, abdomen, and thorax, and two pairs of wings. All insects go through some form of metamorphosis, but not all of them do it the same way. Some insects go through a complete metamorphosis (known as "holometabolis"), where the immature in- WEBWORMS — All photos provided by Rainbow Treecare Scientific Advancements sect looks nothing like the adult. Look no further than the differences between a caterpillar and a butterfly to understand this process. Other examples would be grubs, maggots, and whatever you call those cool looking ladybug larvae — all of them start life with one body type, then go through a pupa stage where they emerge looking like something else altogether. The adults and their offspring not only look different, they often have completely different diets, and, often, completely different relationships to plants. As larvae, an insect may be a plant parasite eating the leaves and disfiguring the appearance, but, as an adult, they may be an important pollinator of their flowers. Depending upon the source, North America has roughly 30 Orders of insects, 600 Families, 12,500 Genera, and, oh, let's say about 86,000 Species.

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