Pest associated with drought now devastating crops
MILWAUKEE — Farmers in southern Wisconsin are being dealt another blow. On top of drought conditions ruining crops, the dry weather has invited a pest along for the ride — spider mites.
Soy bean farmer Dan Craig says the drought has definitely taken a toll on his crops. Now, he’s especially worried the spider mites will finish off what’s left.
“You see the field behind me turns kind of a lime green color. That’s actually the leaf turning brown,” said Craig.
Spider mites are tiny bugs, difficult to see on a plant’s leaf. But they trouble they cause is much easier to spot. The mites feed on soy bean plants — taking nutrients and moisture out of the plants. In drought conditions, the bugs can mature in one week. The females can produce a dozen eggs a day.
Craig is fighting the spider mites. He’s spraying an insecticide on the fields — trying to stop the spread across his 350 acres.
Craig says he won’t know until late October whether all his preventative measures have worked.
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