Effect of Mowing Corn Stalks and Tillage on Overwintering Mortality of European Corn Borer (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae) in Field Corn

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Studies were conducted to determine the distribution of overwintering larvae of the European com borer, Ostrinia nubilalis (Hübner), in com stalks, and to examine the effect of primary tillage and flail mowing of com stalks on mortality of the overwintering population. Approximately 78% of the overwintering population was found in com stalks within 30 cm of the soil surface, and 25% within 7.5 cm. Most larvae found in stalks below the mower blades survived mowing. About 75% of the larvae in the stalks >7.5 cm were killed by the flail mower. Mowing com stalks after com harvest reduced overwintering populations of European com borer up to 85%. Primary tillage such as moldboard plowing or chisel plowing in the fall reduced overwintering populations. Mowing corn stalks combined with primary tillage improved mortality. The highest mortality was achieved by mowing corn stalks after harvest followed by moldboard plowing in the fall or chisel plowing in the spring. Mowing the stalks close to the ground (within 3 cm) resulted in the greatest benefit. Moldboard plowing alone in the fall resulted in mortality of between 29 and 80% depending on whether plow slices were left standing or flipped over. Mowing before moldboard plowing added up to 10% mortality. Chisel plowing in the fall resulted in mortality of up to 75%, whereas mowing before fall chisel plowing added up to 13% mortality. However, if mowing in the fall preceded chisel plowing in the spring, >95% mortality was achieved.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 1996

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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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