Entomology, Department of


Date of this Version



Environ. Entomol. 41(6): 1494-1500 (2012)


Copyright 2012 Entomological Society of America


Western bean cutworm, Striacosta albicosta (Smith), has undergone a recent eastward expansion from the western U.S. Corn Belt to Pennsylvania and parts of Canada. Little is known about its ecology and behavior, particularly during the early instars, on corn (Zea mays L.). There is a narrow treatment window for larvae, and early detection of the pest in the field is essential. An understanding of western bean cutworm larval feeding and early-instar dispersal is essential to understand larval survival and establishment in corn. Studies were conducted in 2009 through 2011 in Nebraska to determine the feeding and dispersal of early-instar western bean cutworm on corn. The treatment design was a factorial with three corn stages (pretassel, tassel, and posttassel) and five corn plant zones (tassel, above ear, primary ear, secondary ear, and below ear) in a randomized complete block design. The effects of different corn tissues on larval survival and development were investigated in laboratory studies in a randomized complete block design during 2009 and 2011. Treatments were different corn tissues (leaf alone, leaf with developing tassel, pollen, pollen plus silk, and silk alone). Results demonstrated that neonate larvae move to the upper part of the plant, independent of corn stage. Larval growth was optimal when fed on tassel tissue. Overall results indicated a selective benefit for movement of the early instar to upper part of the plant.