Recent western bean cutworm (WBC) trappings by university entomologists and field professionals from Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont business, indicate the pest continues to move eastward through the Corn Belt. Here are five recommendations for managing this emerging pest.
WBC Is Expanding Its Reach. Trappings in late June and early July indicate WBC is continuing to move farther east. Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Missouri, and parts of Ohio have all seen the pest in recent years. This year, WBC has migrated farther into Ohio and potentially other states. Pioneer agronomists and sales professionals in high-risk states are placing more than 200 WBC pheromone traps.
Scouting Is Critical. Experts recommend early scouting when it comes to managing WBC. The pest can be detected by looking for a number of unique features. The forewings are a mixture of buff, tan, and gray with a cream-colored bar extending four-fifths the length of the wing along the front edge. There also are two spots in the shape of a "full moon" and a "boomerang" touching the cream-colored bar near the mid-length of the wing. "Growers need to continue to scout their fields," says Michael Rupert, Pioneer agronomy research manager in Bloomington, IL.
WBC Can Cause Significant Yield Reduction. WBC can reduce yields up to 40% in heavily infected fields. Young WBC larvae feed on tassels and silks, but eventually tunnel through the silk channel to reach developing kernels. Direct yield loss occurs as larvae consume all or parts of developing kernels. Partially consumed kernels may be attacked further by ear molds or secondary insect feeders that enter the ear through the WBC feeding channel.
There’s Protection Against WBC. Growers can get in-plant protection against WBC. Herculex I and Herculex XTRA insect protection traits, available in Pioneer brand hybrids, are the only traits on the market that protect against WBC. "In times of high commodity prices, in-plant solutions such as Herculex I and Herculex XTRA technologies offer additional protection, allowing growers to produce an optimum crop," Rupert says.
Insecticides Are Availble For WBC. Insecticide products, including DuPont Asana XL, are available against WBC and provide outstanding, longer-lasting control. With its unique cottonseed oil formulation, Asana XL resists washoff and provides superior ultraviolet stability — even under intense sunlight.