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Issue No. 4, Article 4/April 17, 2009

Insect Trapping Network? Presently Scattershot, But Poised to Reemerge

In the early 1980s, we entomologists implemented a formal network of cooperators to monitor for black cutworm moths as they flew into Illinois from southern locations. The network proved to be an excellent way to obtain information that would aid in determining the potential threat posed by black cutworms during any given year, depending on the weather, planting conditions, weediness, etc. Over time, coordination of this effort passed from hand to hand, but the numbers of cooperators declined. Ultimately, the formal network disappeared, primarily due to a lack of funding, although efforts to capture black cutworm moths have continued through the mostly scattershot efforts of a few intrepid volunteers, including several University of Illinois Extension educators and specialists. Over all of those years, several volunteers also monitored for other insect pests--such as corn earworms, European corn borers, and western corn rootworms--and provided us with the information.

In more recent times (2005 and following), we established a network of volunteers to monitor for western bean cutworm moths, an insect pest of corn found in Illinois for the first time in 2004. The results from those trapping efforts have been reported voluntarily through Iowa State University's "Western Bean Cutworm Monitoring Network" website.

The last two formal insect trapping networks coordinated by University of Illinois specialists were the "Illinois Insect Monitoring Network" (black cutworm, corn earworm, European corn borer) and "The Hines Report" (armyworm, black cutworm, European corn borer, fall armyworm, Japanese beetle, southwestern corn borer). The first was coordinated by Kelly Cook (now Kelly Estes) until she took a position as the state survey coordinator, Illinois Cooperative Agriculture Pest Survey (CAPS), with the Illinois Natural History Survey. The second, established in about a half dozen southern Illinois counties, was coordinated by Ron Hines until he took a position a couple of years ago with Growmark. Neither network exists today.

So where are we right now in sharing information about important insect pests that can be monitored with traps? Unfortunately, we are mostly in a scattershot mode, but things are looking up. As part of a larger IPM grant proposal effort, Dr. Carl Bradley and I submitted a proposal for "Partnerships in Areawide Pest Monitoring" that includes components for insect trapping and for monitoring both insects and plant diseases. We anticipate that we will receive funding, although not soon enough for early-season establishment of traps for insects such as armyworm and black cutworm. Other insects to be included in our trapping and monitoring are corn earworm, European corn borer, fall armyworm, Japanese beetle, multicolored Asian lady beetle, southwestern corn borer, soybean aphid, western bean cutworm, and western corn rootworm. We anticipate devoting a website to reporting the information, an effort somewhat patterned after the University of Missouri's "IPM Pest Monitoring Network" website at ppp.missouri.edu/pestmonitoring. (After all, I am a Missouri alum: M.S., 1975.)

In the meantime, we will provide any information that comes our way from volunteers who continue to monitor for insects and send us their findings--refer to "A Rather Steady Flow of Black Cutworm Moths" in this issue of the Bulletin. We invite anyone who uses traps to monitor for insects to let us know what they find. Sharing such information helps everyone. When our formal network is in place, we will make the announcement in the Bulletin.--Kevin Steffey

Kevin Steffey

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