Michael Gray, University Illinois professor of crop sciences, says a recent survey of corn and soybean insects shows that insect levels are low across the state. The survey was taken across randomly selected corn and soybean fields during the first and third weeks of August.
“Although densities of western corn rootworm adults were somewhat greater in 2013 as compared with the most recent surveys conducted in 2011, they remain low by historic standards (mid-1990s and early 2000s), particularly in soybean fields,” Gray says.
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Gray says that the 2013 results in many respects mirror the survey results from 2011, when insect density levels were also low across the state. “Reasons for this include several environmental factors such as wet springs, the record drought of 2012, extensive use of Bt hybrids, and the widespread broadcast applications of pyrethroid insecticides (tank mixed with fungicides) to corn and soybean fields in recent years,” he says.
Gray stresses that the goal of integrated pest management (IPM) is to keep pest numbers below economic injury levels by the thoughtful integration of several management tactics and that near elimination of pest densities is not the objective.
“As the classic definition of IPM indicates, implementation will help promote favorable economic, environmental, and sociological consequences. Excessive use of inputs, used primarily as an insurance approach, will hasten the onset of resistance and shorten the longevity of some very useful management tools,” he said.
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