Currently, the EPA requires that growers who use traited corn hybrids include some conventional corn nearby for insect resistance management. Why is a refuge needed?
Refuges help maintain rootworm genetics that have never been exposed to Bt. If non-exposed populations breed with exposed populations, we may delay resistance, according to some entomologists. Refuges are designed to prevent a “survival of the fittest” situation where rootworm populations shift to those carrying a higher level of Bt tolerance.
Of course, refuge acres still need corn rootworm protection, and growers have found options for those acres.
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