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Plant Biology/ Entomology 101

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It’s raining it’s pouring the bacterial spot is showing. Looks like it is going to be one of those years where we are constantly fighting fungal and bacterial problems. In the past we have had serious problems specifically with bacterial spot. Bacterial spot is caused by bacterial pathogens. If you aren’t in the biology field I am sure you are wondering “What the heck is a bacterial pathogen?”. Well, get comfortable because I am about give you a description of what that is. OR you could stop reading now and just google it yourself.

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Bacterial Pathogens = Bacteria that cause disease. That’s it! Short and sweet. These pathogens live on plant surfaces. This particular disease loves high humidity, wet, hot conditions. Which….. brings me to my next complaint. It can stop raining at any point now! We have been pummeled with thunderstorm after thunderstorm. Two weeks ago it was so intense we had five inches of rain in one week! This is why you never ask a farmer “how’s it going” because they will either complain about the weather or pests or disease. It’s always something.

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The symptoms of bacterial spot are relatively easy to ‘spot’ (ahaha) but can easily be mistaken for many other types of bacterial and fungal disease so it is always best to have it checked out at a plant clinic. I spotted the scabby looking areas on some of my peppers a little over a week ago. I was really hoping it wasn’t what I thought it was but sure enough, the University of Illinois Plant Clinic confirmed my suspicions. Once you have bacterial spot it is impossible to get rid of. At this point we are treating it with copper in the hopes it doesn’t worsen with the scabs spreading to the fruit.

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This weather has also brought out several pests. Our farm is an entomologist’s playground right now! Because they are not causing much damage yet, aside from the Colorado potato beetles that just won’t die, it has been fun playing the ‘I spy’ game. Can you identify these pests?

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