Submitted to: Journal of Economic Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/25/2005
Publication Date: 12/15/2005
Citation: Reay-Jones, F.F., Showler, A.T., Reagan, T.E., Legendre, B.L., Way, M.O., Moser, E.B. 2005. Integrated tactics for managing the Mexican rice borer (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) in sugarcane. Journal of Economic Entomology. 34(6):1558-1565. Interpretive Summary: The Mexican rice borer has been the dominant insect pest of sugarcane in Texas since the 1980s. A field study was undertaken to determine the effects of water-deficit stress and varieties on selected nutritional components and water potential of the sugarcane, and on Mexican rice borer infestation. Heightened nutritional quality that occurred with water-deficit stress was associated with increased Mexican rice borer infestation, and varieties that were more drought-tolerant than others were less affected by Mexican rice borers.
Technical Abstract: A two-year field study conducted in Texas to evaluate the effect of several management strategies on the Mexican rice borer, Eoreuma loftini (Dyar), in sugarcane, Saccharum spp. hybrids, showed that irrigation reduced injury in both susceptible and resistant by 2.5-fold. Irrigation, host plant resistance, and insecticide applications of tebufenozide decreased injury from 70% bored internodes to <10% during both years. The use of multiple control tactics was substantially better at suppressing E. loftini in sugarcane than sole reliance on insecticide applications. In addition to accumulations of free praline, several free amino acids (histidine and leucine) essential for insect growth and development were increased in sugarcane leaves by drought stressed conditions, which exacerbated E. loftini infestations. Modifying the suitability of the crop by reducing water-deficit stress makes rational irrigation input a key component in the integrated pest management of E. loftini, in addition to other tactics such as cultivar resistance and insecticide application.