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The larvae of the northern and western corn rootworms tunnel through root systems and the base of their primary host, corn (Zea mays) plants, as well as other grass and grain species. Adults will eat almost every other part of the corn plant, but are especially troublesome in eating the corn silks, and in so doing, challenge fertilization in corn fields. Other beetles in this genus also are threats to other crops, especially the cucumber family (Cucurbitaceae).
Control is a major problem. Pheromone traps are widely used to monitor populations, especially in Europe with the aim to contain the beetle’s spread. Soil insecticides are applied at planting, and sprays are used to control adult beetles. Crop rotation, nematodes, host plant resistance (using genetic modified plants, such as Bt-corn), biological control, pheromone-laced insecticide baits are other wide-spread approaches. Although spread of these beetle pests is slow, occurring mainly by flight of the adult beetle, the spread of D. virginifera throughout North America in demonstrates its potential and is of great concern in Europe.
(CABI 2011; EPPO 2011; Wikipedia 2011)