Over the past few weeks, Ohio State University researchers have been receiving calls, emails and texts about finding large caterpillars feeding on corn ears. In most cases, these are turning out to be Western bean cutworms.
By Bruce Potter, IPM Specialist, and Ken Ostlie, Extension Entomologist, University of Minnesota
As agriculturalists re-enter corn fields to scout corn rootworm beetle populations and begin to estimate yield potential, they often find some unwelcome aphid visitors. Heavy infestations on ears and adjacent leaves can grab your attention and trigger the “Should I spray question?”
The Monsanto Insect Management Knowledge Program awarded Tom Coudron, Ph.D., from the USDA-ARS in Columbia, Mo., a grant for the proposal entitled “Entomopathogenic Nematodes (ENP) as Part of Corn Rootworm Resistance Management.”
Over the last couple of weeks, many out-of-focus pictures and videos of multitudes of looping worms crawling over high-boy equipment that has recently been through corn fields. What were these things? Were they eating the corn? How do we kill them? The best we could determine, especially with the grainy video, was that the worms are actually maggots – fly larvae. The only maggots found in cornfields this time of the year are syrphid fly larvae, which are predators of soft-bodied insects, especially aphids. So these are good guys in action!
Funded partially by a grant from the USDA in collaboration with N.C. State’s Dominic Reisig and other colleagues, as well as a five-year Hatch project (SC01700519) titled “Ecology and Management of Arthropods in Corn,” Reay-Jones is conducting ongoing research involving genetically modified corn containing Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) toxins.
With most of the attention on the central and eastern Corn Belt, very little attention has been focused on the western Corn Belt or High Plains this year—a region that is experiencing better than average corn growth from most reports. But that doesn’t mean the area isn’t having its annual July and August problem with mites.
A recent survey taken throughout the state by the University of Illinois Extension shows that the European corn borer population is down in Illinois. The recent work is part of an ongoing U of I Extension integrated pest management program sponsored by the USDA National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA).
If an insect lands on a soybean plant but there’s no one there to hear it, does it make a sound? As you contemplate the answer to that question, think about how many bugs might be buzzing through your soybean fields right now. They may be decreasing your yields, and you don’t even know it.