Painted Lady Butterflies causing issues for local farmers

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NORFOLK, Neb. (KCAU)- If you’ve been on a walk or just in the back yard they are hard to miss, butterflies are everywhere this summer in Siouxland. They are known as painted lady butterflies and they migrated from the south during the month of March.

“This is the first year that I have had to deal with it,” said Jeremy Grant
a Nebraska farmer.

Grant is a fifth-generation farmer but this is his first encounter with the thistle caterpillars.

“They were chewed off enough that it was something we had to take care of right away,” said Grant.

After scouting his fields, Grant had to hire a crop duster to treat the problem before it was too late.

“So to have to go out and realize that your beans are being chewed on and you are looking at the lesser of two evils you treat which cost money and takes time or you let them take yield from you it’s just a decision we had to make,” said Grant.

The painted lady butterflies are extreme attracted to soybeans. The butterflies lay eggs on soybean plants and the caterpillars feed off the plant as they mature.

“It happens to be one of the host plants for caterpillars and we had a lot of eggs laid in soybeans this year when you get a lot of caterpillars you get a lot of adult butterflies coming later,” said Wayne Ohnesorg an Entomologist with the University of Nebraska.

A life cycle that has area farmers continually dealing with the problem pests.

“Right now we’re in the adult stage we will expect another round of eggs and caterpillars yet this year,” said Ohnesorg.

Experts say the painted lady butterflies will die off as we going have our first frost but-come next May, they’ll be back again.

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