What insects may be lurking in your fields this year?

Published on: 16:39PM May 25, 2010

Caydee Savinelli

It is an unpleasant thought of unwelcome insects invading your corn and soybean fields. What insects should you keep your eyes open for in 2010?


University of Illinois entomologists recently predicted corn and soybean insect threats. According to University of Illinois Extension entomologist Mike Gray, Japanese beetle infestations will continue to vex growers this year. Despite the cold winter, snow cover across many areas of Illinois most likely served as a buffer and enhanced the survival of overwintering grubs.


The western corn rootworm causes some management challenges every year. Gray expects light to moderate infestations this year like last year when wet soil conditions in the spring resulted in high mortality of western corn rootworm larvae soon after the hatch occurred.


Growers across the Midwest are concerned that an expected grasshopper infestation could ravage crops. Over the coming weeks, federal officials say grasshoppers will likely hatch in bigger numbers than any year since 1985 – a year when hungry swarms caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damage when they devoured corn, barley, alfalfa, beets and more. 


Soybean growers may face another threat – red-banded stink bugs. Kelly Tindall, an entomologist at the University of Missouri Delta Research Center, recently found stink bugs in three soybean fields in Dunklin County, Missouri. Research in Louisiana proved that red-banded stink bugs caged on soybean pods for 72 hours, damaged up to 41 percent of the seeds and reduced seed weight by a third.


Entomologists anticipate soybean aphid and corn borer populations may be down.


It’s still too early to assess the potential impact of insects that migrate such as black cutworms, corn leaf aphid, fall armyworms and corn earworms, but it’s a good idea to stay on the look out for problem insects, and work with your agronomist to scout, if needed. Click here to watch a short presentation that includes insect scouting information.


What insects are you most concerned about for the 2010 season? What insects have historically been problematic in your fields?