Project monitors rootworm beetles

A rootworm beetle trap is shown / photo via Bryan Lessen, Rob-See-Co.

Farmers are better managing corn rootworm on their farms thanks to a beetle monitoring project.

Rob-See-Co did a pilot study back in 2018 and liked what they saw so they conducted an extensive beetle trapping project in 2019 and 2020. The goal was to help customers think about managing the pest.

“It is a different insect to manage because the beetle lays eggs in a different year than the larvae attack the root system then we have western variants,” explained Wayne Fithian, agronomy manager for Rob-See-Co.

Fithian said the company wanted to help customers by demonstrating the value of Agrisure Duracade, which is a dual mode of action corn rootworm trait they sell.

The entire project was conducted through local Rob-See-Co representatives who found the fields and placed the traps, checking those traps during a three-week period.

“We were active in fields from the Colorado-Nebraska border all the way east into Central Iowa,” said Fithian.

There were 151 fields total in the two year trap project and of those, 47 were used to compare the beetles emerging from two different control strategies. Then, 104 fields had a single trap to give an idea of how many beetles were there.

“I reported all of the data and the number of beetles per trap per day because that’s how we approach management.”

The management strategy is based on how many beetles were in each trap every day and what that means for next year’s rootworm population. Rob-See-Co plans to do the rootworm monitoring project again as the company likes what it is seeing when comparing Duracade to another control strategy.

Fithian has observed different beetle pressure in corn on corn versus corn on soybeans. To participate in the 2021 study, reach out to the Illinois Rob-See-Co local representative Bryan Lessen.

A summary can be viewed at in the Agronomy section under special projects.

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