Over the past several years, entomologists and corn producers have noticed very low densities of European corn borers in Illinois. In fact, Illinois densities have reached historic lows to the point where many are questioning its pest status, Gray says.

 

"Since the introduction of Bt corn, initially targeted primarily at the European corn borer, many entomologists and ecologists have wondered if population suppression over a large area would eventually occur," Gray says. "As this research shows, area-wide suppression has occurred and dramatically reduced the estimated $1 billion in annual losses caused previously by the European corn borer."

 

This information also provides incentives for growers to plant non-Bt corn in addition to Bt corn.

 

"Sustained economic and environmental benefits of this technology will depend on continued stewardship by producers to maintain non-Bt maize refuges to minimize the risk of evolution of Bt resistance in crop pest species," Gray says.