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What Insect Problems and Insect-Management Issues Can We Expect in 2001?

December 15, 2000
The most honest answer to this question is, "We have no idea." However, some issues and occurrences are bound to grab our attention next year. As always, we can anticipate discussions about managing corn rootworms and European corn borer, even if neither occurs at economic levels in 2001. Even their occurrence in low numbers generates discussion. New soil insecticides, seed treatments, and transgenic crops for management of either pest will continue to generate a great deal of interest next year, and we will do all we can to keep you informed. I hope some of the controversy regarding transgenic crops ebbs, but I imagine that this is wishful thinking. Expect other issues to arise or "old" issues to escalate in 2001.

Will secondary insect pests of corn (for example, grape colaspis, white grubs, and wireworms) be problematic again in 2001? And what about southwestern corn borers in southern counties? Who knows? If the winter is relatively mild and producers plant early in 2001, expect some problems. And if problems with secondary insect pests reoccur in 2001, expect research efforts to escalate. We are going to need answers to some very difficult questions, and we are going to need some reliable management strategies.

Everyone will be watching for the soybean aphid in 2001. We plan to establish an "early-warning system" to watch for the earliest occurrence of this potentially serious pest. With a little funding from a C-FAR grant, entomologists and plant pathologists in Urbana-Champaign are planning a small network of aerial suction traps with accompanying "ground truthing" to keep us (and you) informed about the population dynamics of the soybean aphid. Entomologists and plant pathologists in adjacent states will be doing similar work. Through the Bulletin and other mass media, we will keep everyone on top of the situation.

Bean leaf beetles will receive some focus, too. The explosive populations that occurred in Iowa and northwestern Illinois during late summer of 2000 bear watching. Evidence that bean leaf beetles can transmit viruses adds some gravity to the situation. Everyone should be attentive for the first occurrence of bean leaf beetles in 2001, especially if soybean producers plant early.

These are just a few of the insects that will receive some attention in 2001. If we add alfalfa weevils, black cutworms, Japanese beetles, potato leafhoppers, southern corn leaf beetles, wheat curl mites, and others to the list, one gets a sense of the amount of preparedness required for protecting our crops from these pests. So stay tuned. We'll be here to help handle whatever situations arise.--Kevin Steffey

Author: Kevin Steffey

The Pest Management and Crop Development Bulletin
Executive Editor: Kevin Steffey, Extension Entomologist

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