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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Areawide Control of Corn Rootworms

Author
item Hoffmann, Wesley

Submitted to: Ag Pilot International Magazine
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: December 1, 1995
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: One of the most damaging pests to corn is the corn rootworm (CRW). The CRW larvae damages the root system of the plant, thereby, reducing water and nutrient uptake and weakening the support system of the plant which can cause the plant to fall on the ground before harvest. The adults feed directly on the leaves and silks of the plant. This article describes a study for controlling adult CRW over a 3,000 acre area using a reduced toxicant insecticide called Slam. Slam is designed to drastically reduce the adult CRW population before egg lay can take place which reduces the following years infestation levels of CRW. The objectives of this study were to evaluate several population monitoring methods, demonstrate the areawide control was feasible, and design a program that could be run by farmers and crop consultants. Whole plant counts and modified cone traps baited with attractants were found to be efficient and accurate monitors of fCRW populations. After the fields had reached populations of 1 beetle/ plant with at least 40 percent females, the area was treated with Slam. There was a 90-95 percent reduction in the adult CRW populations in the fields that were treated while the fields outside the treatment area continued to have high populations. By finding effective monitoring methods and showing that populations could be significantly reduced, a control protocol has been developed which can be implemented by the farmers and crop consultants in the area.

Technical Abstract: An area of approximately 3000 acres was selected in central Texas for a pilot study on the application of areawide management principles to the Mexican corn rootworm (Diabrotica virgifera zea Krysan and Smith). Previous research had shown that the semiochemical-based insecticide Slam was effective in significantly reducing adult corn rootworms (CRW). The study was designed to select the most efficient population monitoring method, demonstrate that areawide control was possible, and create a control program that could be taken over by area farmers. Local farmers, state extension service, crop consultants, and persons from industry were all involved in the project. Whole plant counts and modified cone traps baited with attractants were found to be efficient and accurate monitors of CRW populations. After the fields had reached populations of 1 beetle/ plant with at least 40 percent females, the area was treated with Slam. There was a 90-95 percent reduction in the adult CRW populations in the fields that were treated while the check fields outside the treatment area continued to have high populations. By finding effective monitoring methods and showing that populations could be significantly reduced, a control protocol has been developed which can be implemented by the farmers and crop consultants in the area.

Last Modified: 12/22/2014