U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska


Document Type


Date of this Version



Journal of Applied Entomology Volume 129, Issue 6, July 2005, Pages: 281–292


US government work.


Dispersal of European corn borer, Ostrinia nubilalis Hubner was examined by release and recapture of the dye marked adults and by capture of the feral adults in and around the large 50 ha center pivot irrigated fields of Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) maize. Pheromone and black light traps were used to catch the adults. In 1999, 15 094 marked males and 7993 marked females were released, and in 2001, 13 942 marked males and 9977 marked females were released. In 1999, maximum mean recapture beyond the release point was 1.95 and 1.67% for males and females, but in 2001, the recapture rate was 9.97 and 4.37% for males and females. Few males (3.8%) and females (2.07%) were recaptured in neighbourhood maize fields. An exponential decay function explained recapture of marked adults across the dispersal distance. More than 90% of marked adults were recaptured within 300 m of the release point. Large numbers of feral adults were captured throughout the study fields. Feral adult dispersal could be fitted to a linear model. Virgin females (20% marked and 8% feral) were captured throughout the study fields. The recapture of marked insects suggests that the dispersal was limited. However, capture of feral adults throughout Bt-maize fields indicate that the actual dispersal may be more extensive than indicated by recapture of marked adults. Potential refuge sources for the feral adults were 587–1387 m from the edge of the study fields. It is not clear if the dispersal recorded in this study is extensive enough to support the current resistance management strategy for corn borers. There appears to be some dispersal of corn borers from the non-transgenic ‘refuge’ fields into the transgenic fields that allows some genetic mixing of the two populations.