Erin Hodgson

Dr. Erin Hodgson started working in the Department of Entomology at Iowa State University in 2009. She is an associate professor with extension and research responsibilities in corn and soybeans. She has a general background in integrated pest management (IPM) for field crops. Dr. Hodgson's current extension and research programs are focused on improving corn and soybean production by using IPM tactics to protect yield and increase overall farmer profits. Among other projects, she oversees insecticide efficacy evaluations for soybean aphids, Japanese beetles, and aphids in corn. Erin also helps manage emerging field crop pests and invasive species. 

Photo of Erin Hodgson
July 23, 2019 6:53 PM

Today for the first time this summer, I started to notice a few thistle caterpillars that didn’t look quite right. Some were very dark, some look deflated and some were kind of “slimy” in appearance. This happens to insects occasionally as a result of infection of an entomopathogen. That’s just...

Crop Production
July 12, 2019 4:06 PM

My lab has been collecting adult and larval soybean gall midge for a few weeks. We used emergence cages in several habitats to collect adults. This year, they were only collected from 2018 soybean fields in Iowa. Two of my trapping locations have identified second-generation adult captures this...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
July 12, 2019 7:57 AM

After visiting several ISU Research and Demonstration Farms this week, it was evident the abundance and diversity of caterpillars in soybean is ongoing. These species represented several insect families. We easily found 8 species while looking at and sweeping early-reproductive soybean. Of...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
June 21, 2019 9:25 AM

I was a speaker at the ISU Northern Research Farm field day near Kanawha yesterday. So many questions about thistle caterpillar and soybean gall midge. I also saw some feeding injury to vegetative corn. Here are some pictures:


Crop Production, Insects and Mites
June 18, 2019 11:35 AM

This year I’ve had a few people ask for tips on scouting for common stalk borer. The larvae are moving from brome to corn throughout Iowa and it is a good time to scout for timely management....

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
June 17, 2019 12:23 PM

The most effective way to make treatments decisions for pests with chewing mouthparts (e.g., Japanese beetle, bean leaf beetle, caterpillars, and grasshoppers) is to estimate defoliation. I’m a “lumper” and don’t try too hard to distinguish feeding by species. Replicated data over multiple...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
June 14, 2019 9:42 AM

I’ve been hearing about and seeing a variety of caterpillars in seedling crops this week. In soybean, you notice thistle caterpillars feeding and making webbed cavities from the leaves. They can be easy to find in early-vegetative soybean but rarely build up to economic populations. Read more...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
June 6, 2019 8:09 AM

Moth trapping began April 1 and came to an end May 31. This year, we had more than 45 trap locations and 42 cooperators across the state. These cooperators provide us data on black cutworm (BCW) and true armyworm (TAW) moth captures at their locations, which we use to...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
May 23, 2019 3:14 PM

Everyone is talking about the cool, wet spring this year. It's definitely slowed down my research projects, too. Thanks to the help of the Tylka Lab, we have about half our soybean plots in the ground. I am working on soybean aphid efficacy evaluations at the NWRF near Sutherland. I am starting...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
May 13, 2019 4:21 PM

This week we begin Week 7 of moth trapping in Iowa. Significant captures of black cutworm (BCW) have occurred in several counties during weeks 3-6 of trapping (bold and * in Table 1). Significant captures occur when 8 or more BCW moths are caught in a wing-style pheromone trap over 2 nights....

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
May 1, 2019 11:41 AM

This summer, I am starting a couple of new research projects looking at cover crop pest activity that might be relevant to corn production. Shout out to Alison Robertson and Mark Licht for including me on these massive research projects! The usual cover crop pest suspects are migratory moths,...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
April 19, 2019 5:00 PM

Each year, Iowa State University’s IPM team monitors field crop pests to help inform farmers and scouting personnel about pest activity in Iowa. This year, our moth trapping network includes black cutworm (BCW) and true armyworm (TAW), two migratory pests of crops in Iowa that are unpredictable...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
February 22, 2019 3:01 PM

The IPM team at Iowa State University has been monitoring for field crop pests for a long time. The target pests have changed over the years, but the goal always remains the same: help inform farmers about pest activity in Iowa. One long-standing...

Insects and Mites
July 17, 2018 8:06 AM

Humans are making more sound, and it can interfere with animals finding mates, food and other essential behaviors. Most of the research showing impacts of human-generated sound is largely focused on vertebrates. Biologists at Mississippi State University were curious about sound potentially...

Insects and Mites
June 14, 2018 3:46 PM


This week, I’ve had a number of people tell me they spotted Japanese beetle. I was initially surprised, because I track degree days to predict adult emergence every summer and it seemed a bit early. According to the ISU Agronomy Mesonet, adults could be emerging...

Insects and Mites
May 29, 2018 8:17 AM

Tom Petty said he was “learning to fly, but I ain’t got wings.” The last two weeks have made me think about flies way too much. The black flies, sometimes called buffalo gnats, have been terrible and making it hard to be outside. These small flies (1/4" in length) are black or gray and somewhat...

Insects and Mites
May 22, 2018 8:42 AM

True armyworm is a migratory pest that arrives in Iowa from southern states and lays eggs on living tissue. Adult females are attracted to fields with green plants, particularly weedy grasses or living cover crops. These plants serve as initial feeding sites for larvae. When these original host...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
May 7, 2018 11:31 AM

Over the weekend, someone let me know they saw a western corn rootworm adult. Remember this pest overwinters as an egg that hatches in June! They get confused with closely-related species every spring: striped cucumber beetle. Striped and spotted cucumber beetles overwinter as adults and become...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
May 2, 2018 6:54 AM

A free app is now available to simplify the early detection of brown marmorated stink bug in the Midwest. This new invasive species has a wide host range, including soybean, corn, apples, tomatoes, grapes and peppers. App features include:

  • A stink bug "look...
Crop Production, Insects and Mites
March 30, 2018 10:31 AM

Insecticide-resistant soybean aphids have emerged as a new challenge to farmers throughout the upper Midwest. In a new regional publication, we suggest strategies for managing soybean aphids resistant to pyrethroid insecticides. A few key points for managing aphids are: 

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
February 27, 2018 2:12 PM

The IPM team at Iowa State University has been monitoring for field crop pests for a long time. The target pests have changed over the years, but the goal always remains the same: help inform farmers about pest activity in Iowa. One long-standing...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
September 29, 2017 9:49 AM

This week, my technician Greg VanNostrand found a black widow in our storage Quonset at the ISU Johnson Research Farm. The farm is just south of Ames in Story County. She is an adult female and had a pile of dead body fragments below her web. Needless to say, she was healthy and happy in the...

Insects and Mites
September 25, 2017 7:58 AM

Often people have fond memories of monarch butterflies and look forward to their arrival each summer. But there is some confusion about their migration pattern and population decline. “How can such a tiny butterfly travel such a great distance?” and “What do you mean the population is declining...

Insects and Mites
September 12, 2017 10:28 AM

In mid-August of this summer, I wasn’t hearing anything about aphids feeding on corn and I thought we weren’t going to see it this year. These aphids are highly erratic and so where and when they land are not well understood. But the last week of August, I started to hear from folks in northern...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
August 28, 2017 11:50 AM

I’m getting a lot of questions regarding treatment timing for soybean aphid. Mainly, when is it too late to treat? In the last week of August 2017, most fields are reaching R5/R6 and so the question is an important one. In my soybean aphid efficacy evaluation, I have sprayed at different plant...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites