This pilot study was funded by the Innovative Projects Grants Program of the Oregon State Extension Service. We see this as a first of potentially many such websites, aimed at the many crops grown in Oregon. As such, we welcome feedback of any kind.
Currently, unknown insects have to be keyed out in the field (often difficult), or sent to the Oregon State University Insect ID Clinic for identification. Both these options take time, and treatment decisions may be delayed, with consequent crop loss. Incorrect identification of pests may lead to unneeded pesticide use.
This site is intended to help farmers to identify insects in grass seed fields and determine if an insect is a pest, the seriousness of the infestation and what treatment is possible. Pests can also be identified through the nature of the damage they cause.
The 40+ insects in the identification key are grouped into logical groupings by several possible criteria: similar-looking (e.g. cutworms), similar-size (e.g. mites and thrips), where they are found (eg soil insects). An insect may be in more than one group. In the next step, the groups are further separated into individual insect species (or groups of species when the distinction is not practically important). The final result is a page of text about the insect and pictures showing the life stages, hpw to tell it from similar-looking insects, type of damage caused, etc.
The damage key works in a similar way. The types of damage are grouped together by which part of the plant (eg root, leaf), or stage of development (e.g. established fields, new stands) they affect. The next step leads to a list of insects which cause that type of damage. From there, the text of each page is aimed at confirming the identification of the pest, and also discusses sampling, monitoring and treatment.
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