Issue No. 6, Article 3/May 1, 2009
Corn Flea Beetle: Expectations for Stewart's Wilt in 2009
The cold and prolonged winter in Illinois has prompted a few inquiries about corn flea beetle survival and the prospect for the development of Stewart's wilt this growing season. Entomologists have long observed that mild winters tend to favor the survival of flea beetles and increase the potential that Stewart's disease may be a problem. The average temperatures (of the 3 months combined) for December 2008 and January and February 2009 for Champaign, DeKalb, and Dixon Springs were 26.3, 19.3, and 34.7°F (Table 2). This suggests the potential for Stewart's wilt in Champaign and DeKalb will be very low this season, but producers in southern Illinois face a greater likelihood that early-season wilt and late-season blight could develop (Table 3). If you are interested in average temperatures for this 3-month period in other Illinois locations and the potential effect on corn flea beetle survival, please visit www.isws.illinois.edu/warm/pestdata/sqlchoose1.asp?plc.
Life cycle, biology, and management information for corn flea beetles can be obtained at www.ipm.uiuc.edu/fieldcrops/insects/corn_flea_beetle. --Mike Gray