Corn rootworm (CRW) larvae and adults cause economic loss every year. The impact of CRW larvae on yield varies greatly depending on the timing of rootworm feeding, available moisture and the hybrid’s ability to regenerate damaged roots. Plants with damaged root systems are more susceptible to drought stress and lodging. Adult CRW beetles feeding on corn silks during pollination can result in poor seed set and subsequent yield loss.
Corn rootworm management has become complex as the pest’s ability to evolve has made crop rotation ineffective in many areas. The soybean variant western corn rootworm has evolved to lay eggs in non-corn fields. The northern corn rootworm has shown “extended diapause,” in which eggs remain viable in the soil for several years before hatching. The recent documented resistance to the Cry3Bb1 protein further emphasizes the importance of an integrated pest management system. This article will discuss scouting for corn rootworm and management options for reducing damage from this pest.
Figure 1. Corn rootworm larvae.
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