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Management of Western Bean Cutworm (Striacosta albicosta) in Western Nebraska

Jeffrey D Cluever, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


The western bean cutworm, Striacosta albicosta (WBC), is a major pest of corn and dry beans in the North American corn belt. In dry edible bean, WBC feeding damage can reduce yield and grade. This study's overall goal is to understand better the effectiveness of pest management options and the perceptions surrounding them. Inundative biological control was investigated by releasing Trichogramma ostriniae into western Nebraska corn and dry bean fields. Dispersal and parasitism were monitored with yellow sticky cards and sentinel egg masses (Ostrinia nubilalis, S. albicosta, and Ephestia kuehniella) at 36 locations in each field surrounding a central release point. T. ostriniae was able to disperse rapidly into the field. However, parasitism was low, possibly indicating a lack of suitability for semi-arid western Nebraska. The possibility of distributing Trichogramma via pesticide "tank mix" was investigated in the laboratory. T. ostriniae pupae were immersed in field-relevant concentrations of select herbicides, fungicides, and adjuvants. Host eggs were observed for emergence holes ten days after removal from the solutions. Using an herbicide "tank mix" for dispersing Trichogramma warrants further study since many treatments did not reduce emergence. A dry bean-winter wheat relay was investigated to assess the effect on conservation biological control. The relay treatment had lower WBC feeding damage than the conventional dry edible bean. However, the yield was lower in the relay. The effectiveness of four pheromone trap types (milk jug, green bucket, electric trap, and camera trap) was assessed for monitoring WBC populations. The green bucket trap tended to catch more moths than the other traps. Unfortunately, there was little correlation between the number of moths caught and feeding damage. Stakeholder concerns, perceptions, and practices were assessed with an online survey and a series of focus groups. The survey provided quantitative data, such as the average WBC feeding injury received by growers. An important finding is that direct harvest may reduce the risk of WBC feeding.

Subject Area

Entomology|Agriculture|Environmental Studies

Recommended Citation

Cluever, Jeffrey D, "Management of Western Bean Cutworm (Striacosta albicosta) in Western Nebraska" (2023). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI30318607.