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Insects and Cool, Wet Weather--Abbreviated Comments

May 24, 2002
In issue no. 7 (May 10, 2002) of the Bulletin, I provided an overview of the effects of delayed planting on several insect pests of corn and soybeans. Sadly, not much has changed since that article was published, except temperatures have been even cooler! Corn and soybean planting has proceeded at a snail's pace in many areas of Illinois, and corn that has emerged is growing very slowly. The slow-growing corn has been a prime target for some subterranean insects, such as white grubs and wireworms, in some areas of the state. On the other hand, small corn plants are not going to be very supportive of rootworm larvae or very attractive to female European corn borers laying eggs for the first generation. For example, Ron Hines, senior research specialist at the University Dixon Springs Agricultural Center, is capturing European corn borer moths (as well as other species of moths), but there is very little corn available for the egg-laying females. Such a scenario suggests that populations of some of our major insect pests could be seriously reduced by the environmental conditions we have experienced this spring.

Keep the article from issue no. 7 (May 10, 2002) of the Bulletin handy for the near future when planting resumes in earnest. Understanding the complex relationship among crop growth stages, temperatures, rainfall, and insects could give you a heads-up for possible problems.--Kevin Steffey

Author: Kevin Steffey

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

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