Corn Insect Pest Management

Field corn is a widely planted crop grown in 48 U.S. states. Different pest complexes occur across the various production regions of North Carolina (Mountain, Piedmont, Coastal Plain, Tidewater). Recent focuses on mycotoxin levels in corn create a need for both sound agronomic practices and more efficient insect management systems for ear-damaging pests. Formerly devastating pests, such as corn rootworm (Diabrotica spp.), European corn borer (Ostrinia nubilalis Hubner), and billbugs (Sphenophorus spp. ) are effectively managed with insecticide treatments, seed treatments, rotation, or plant-based toxin delivery systems. However, changing agronomic systems, i.e. the introduction of seed treatments that control some soil pests but repel others such as wireworm species, can create problems for susceptible crops grown in rotation with corn. The specter of resistance to Bt and other plant-produced toxins will dictate continuing research and monitoring of European corn borer and corn rootworm and newer targets of Bt, such as corn earworm and fall armyworm. The efficacy of genetically altered plants against these pests and refuge requirements and effectiveness will require continual evaluation.

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