, Volume 87, Issue 2, pp 259-271

Field evaluation of an attract and kill strategy against western corn rootworm larvae

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Abstract

The larvae of the invasive maize pest Diabrotica virgifera virgifera (Coleoptera; Chrysomelidae, western corn rootworm) hatch in the soil in spring and search for maize roots following CO2 gradients. CO2 is one cue that might be used as an attractant towards soil insecticides, a mechanism already shown in laboratory experiments. This study compared the efficacy of several combinations of in or between-row applications of different rates of CO2-emitting capsules and/or soil insecticides (here tefluthrin) aimed at preventing root damage by the pest larvae under field conditions. CO2 emission of the capsules in the soil lasted up to 28 days with a peak after 21 days coinciding with the first larval hatch. The pest density in the soil was not high enough to cause root damage above the economic threshold. Furthermore all tefluthrin applications, regardless of whether at full, half or quarter rates effectively prevented root damage; thus CO2 did not significantly further increase this efficacy. In-row applications of tefluthrin with or without CO2-emitting capsules prevented root damage to a much larger extent (59–77 % on the node injury scale) than the between-row applications of tefluthrin with or without capsules (17–31 %). In conclusion, further research on belowground orientation and movement of D. v. virgifera larvae, as well as tests with combinations of CO2-emitting capsules and lower rates of soil insecticide are needed to potentially develop attract and kill strategies as a management option against this maize pest.

Communicated by M. Traugott.