Blister Beetle (Coleoptera: Meloidae) Mortality Evaluated During Alfalfa Harvest

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A striped blister beetle, Epicauta occidentalis Werner, found aggregating in Kansas alfalfa fields, can be incorporated into baled hay and has been documented to cause horse deaths. Different types of alfalfa harvest equipment and operation were evaluated to quantify, blister beetle mortality using simulated swarms of known numbers. Mowing was responsible for most of the beetle mortality. A self-propelled mower-windrower with crimper rollers removed gave the lowest beetle mortality of any equipment tested. A self-propelled mower-crimper-windrower gave the second lowest mortality. Although the sicklebar mower is widely recommended to reduce cantharidin contamination, identification of previously unrecognized factors related to equipment operation has clarified its contribution to blister beetle mortality, Three sources of beetle mortality ranked from most to least important were wheel traffic over mowed forage before beetles could disperse, crimping. and, finally, the cutting step itself. Raking and baling steps dislodged beetles from forage.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 1995

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  • Journal of Economic Entomology is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December. The journal publishes articles on the economic significance of insects and is divided into the following sections: apiculture & social insects; arthropods in relation to plant disease; forum; insecticide resistance and resistance management; ecotoxicology; biological and microbial control; ecology and behavior; sampling and biostatistics; household and structural insects; medical entomology; molecular entomology; veterinary entomology; forest entomology; horticultural entomology; field and forage crops, and small grains; stored-product; commodity treatment and quarantine entomology; and plant resistance. In addition to research papers, Journal of Economic Entomology publishes Letters to the Editor, interpretive articles in a Forum section, Short Communications, Rapid Communications, and Book Reviews.
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