From a field crop entomology perspective, this summer remains exceptionally quiet across most areas of Illinois. Japanese beetle and soybean aphid densities have remained very low, seemingly near absent in many fields. With 82% of the corn silking process completed statewide by July 20 and soil moisture plentiful in most areas, the threat of insects negatively affecting the pollination process have largely diminished. We intend to conduct some insect surveys in corn and soybean fields across the state as we move through early August. Similar to recent seasons, I suspect the overall densities of most pests will remain below economic levels.
Last week, we began our annual corn rootworm “digs” headed up by Ron Estes (Principal Research Specialist, Department of Crop Sciences) and Nick Tinsley (Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department of Crop Sciences). Overall root injury in our checks at the Northwest Research and Education Center located near Monmouth was greater than in previous years. Thus far, injury in our checks across various trials located near Urbana has been impressive as well. So, in spite of significant precipitation throughout much of June and early July, it appears that larvae were able to hatch successfully and establish on root systems quite well. As in previous years, once we complete the root evaluations from our trials, we will publish the preliminary results in this Bulletin.