Garden Pest Update

Posted: July 21, 2012

The early spring and warm summer has helped several pests this year...

The potato leafhopper is a small insect that migrates up from the south. It usually arrives here in early June but takes several weeks to build up enough population to be a real problem. This year leafhoppers arrived early and in big numbers. They feed on potatoes, beans, and carrots in the vegetable garden and Lupines in the flower garden. Their populations will start to decrease at the end of August.

We are getting reports of the brown marmorated stinkbug (BMSB) damaging vegetables and fruit. The BMSB feeds by inserting a feeding tube into the fruit. It does not damage the foliage. It feeds on the fruit tissue just under the skin. The damage is evident when the vegetable or fruit is pealed. Predators that feed on the BMSB are not effective at controlling their populations.


If you choose to use an insecticide to control BMSB, the spray must directly contact the bug. They move around very easily.  Even if you can control what is in your garden today, more can move in quickly.

Late blight update: Late blight has been confirmed in Schuylkill and Snyder Counties in tomatoes and potatoes. The spread has temporarily slowed due to the hot, dry weather. When the weather turns cooler and wetter again expect late blight to spread. Remember that fungicides are only effective if applied before infection occurs. If you think you have late blight, please contact your local Penn State Extension office.

Downy mildew is related to the late blight pathogen except that it infects cucumber, melons, and squash. Downy mildew is now moved into Central Pennsylvania and is expect to be a problem in the Northeastern very soon. Cucumbers are the crop that is most susceptible to downy mildew.

For more information contact your local extension office. In Lackawanna County call 570-963-6842 or email

John Esslinger, Extension Educator
Penn State Extension