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Insects and Hot, Dry Weather--A General Statement

July 19, 2002
In many areas of Illinois, the stress on crops from hot, dry weather has been exacerbated by insect problems. Injury caused by corn rootworm adults and Japanese beetles has added stress to crops already stressed by a lack of moisture. And some insects benefit directly from hot, dry weather conditions. Populations of corn leaf aphids, grasshoppers, potato leafhoppers, and spider mites almost always benefit as a consequence of hot, dry weather.

With all of these problems occurring at the same time in some areas and with the second generation of European and southwestern corn borers looming, making control decisions is becoming more difficult. Farmers are willing to spend only so much money for insect control. And if yield potential begins to decline or if the value for the crops remains low, deciding whether to apply an insecticide becomes that much more difficult.

In every situation, you have to consider the potential impact of the insect or mite pest, the amount of damage the pests are causing, the yield potential of the stressed crops, the value of the crop, and the cost of control. Assessing all of these variables is not an easy task, and the process is fraught with uncertainty. We hope that the information we provide helps with the decision making, but ultimately you have to use your best judgment for each insect problem you encounter.

Good luck out there. These are trying times.--Kevin Steffey

Author: Kevin Steffey

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

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