Injury and Interplant Compensation for Southwestern Corn Borer (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) Infestations in Field Corn

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Growers that plant Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) Berliner corn (Zea mays L.) hybrids are required to plant non-Bt corn for resistance management. Refuge in a bag (RIB) is an emerging approach for resistance management where, for some hybrids having multiple Bt traits for a target species, the refuge is planted as a blend of Bt and non-Bt corn. Studies were conducted to evaluate how southwestern corn borer (Diatraea grandiosella Dyar), when infested at different densities and growth stages, affected the yield of infested, non-Bt plants and neighboring Bt plants. Infesting non-Bt corn plants with southwestern corn borer larvae caused significant injury. Both the number of larvae infested on plants and the timing of these infestations affected the number of kernels per ear, total kernel weight, and the weight of individual kernels. Infestation timing was more important than the number of larvae inoculated onto plants, with pretassel infestations causing more yield loss. There was little compensation by Bt plants that were adjacent to infested plants. Thus, the risk of yield loss from stalk tunneling larvae in a refuge in a bag scenario should be directly proportional to the percentage of non-Bt plants and the level of yield loss observed in these non-Bt plants. Because current refuge in a bag systems have five or 10% non-Bt corn plants within the seed unit, the likelihood of substantial yield losses from infestations of corn boring larvae is remote given our results, especially for infestations that occur after silking has begun.

Keywords: Diatraea grandiosella; compensation; corn; refuge; southwestern corn borer

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: April 1, 2013

More about this publication?
  • 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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