Little larvae, big bites

Published on: 14:56PM Aug 06, 2010

Caydee Savinelli

Be prepared to roll up your sleeves, tighten your boots and get out into your fields at any second because information from Iowa State University states that European corn borer might be lurking in your corn stalks and there is only a short time frame for treatment. European corn borer, though small, can do some real damage, as American farmers lose $1 billion in potential grain each year. 
Now is the time to start, and as always, continue scouting for European corn borer to protect your fields from yield loss. Research from Iowa State University shows that as moths, European corn borers lay eggs for approximately three weeks at a time and by the end of that time, many larvae will already have hatched. Scout your fields by looking for percentage of fresh whorl feeding and the number of live larvae in the whorl. As a good rule of thumb, as long as the majority of larvae have remained in the whorl, insecticide treatment is not too late.
If left untreated, European corn borer can damage leaves and conductive tissue, leading to stalk rot, lodging and ear dropping. Research from Iowa State University shows that just one larva per stalk during whorl stage can reduce grain yield by five to six percent and 12 percent if left untreated. For reliable control of European corn borer, growers should use a long-lasting insecticide that provides quick knockdown and low use rates to simultaneously save you money and yield.   
If you are a grower in or south of the Corn Belt, be aware that you might observe two or more generations of corn borer. This pesky, adaptable bug reminds us that even after insecticide treatment it is important to always scout to ensure nothing robs your yield.
Have your fields or neighboring fields had a problem with European corn borer this year?