June 99 - News from Elsewhere

News from Elsewhere

Did you say "frying cicadas"

It takes such a long time to meet some cicadas that some people are excited about the chance to study them.  Others, however, want to eat them.  The periodical cicada, a flying insect about the size of a thumb, appears only once every 17 years.  In the coming weeks, cicadas in eastern Ohio, most of West Virginia and parts of Pennsylvania and Virginia will end a long routine of chewing sap from underground roots.  They will emerge from the ground, wriggle out of their shells and fly about in noisy swarms.  They'll mate, lay eggs in slits they cut into twigs and then die, all within a matter of weeks. When the young hatch, they fall to the ground and burrow into the soil.

While some people are salivating about the chance to observe a once-every-17-year phenomenon, Craig Vance is just salivating.  He plans to fry the black-bodied, red-eyed cicadas and offer them to guests as a dinner appetizer.

Biological control of gypsy moth 

Releases of Pimpla disparis, a cocoon parasite of gypsy moth will continue beginning this month and ending in September.  We plan to release over 10,000 with an average of 500 a week.  In May tent caterpillar, forest and eastern, will be targeted; in June, whitemarked tussock moth; July gypsy moth sites; August, whitemarked tussock moth and September, fall webworm sites.  We will concentrate releases in the southeastern counties Olmsted, Winona, Fillmore, and Houston.  Other release sites will be determined by the presence of alternate pest hosts.

The egg parasite, Ooencyrtus kuvanae, will be reared and released near positive-trap gypsy moth sites in southeastern Minnesota.  We have just determined that the wasp can be reared in "prechilled" gypsy moth eggs which can be shipped across state lines.  We will plan to rear and release 20,000 Ooencyrtus wasps July through September.

From John Luhman, Minnesota Dept of Agriculture