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Protect Your Corn Yields from Insect Pests

September 16, 2019
This agronomic image shows a corn rootworm beetle

A successful corn harvest starts with season-long control of insect pests.

Throughout the growing season, a variety of insects can threaten the health and profitability of your corn crop. These pests, such as corn rootworm (CRW), the $1 billion pest, can be difficult to control without the right knowledge and tools.

Scout your fields in late summer

Unmanaged CRW beetles can clip corn silks, which hinders pollination and hurts your yields. It’s important to scout your fields for signs of adult CRW activity, as your corn crop approaches maturity.

We recommend using yellow sticky traps (unbaited) as silking begins. Perform weekly checks and count the number of CRWs you find.

For more tips on using sticky traps, read our full article on scouting for corn rootworm in late summer.

Know what a wet 2019 means for 2020

This season, parts of the Midwest experienced record levels of rainfall. While it’s true that wet seasons can reduce CRW and other insect populations, these pests are resilient and adaptable. In some cases, rain can raise insect pressure.

The weather prevented many growers from applying a full herbicide program, meaning that weed presence will be higher. Species of insects that use weeds as egg laying spots, habitats and food sources could benefit this season.

Late-planting also means that corn crops will have fresh silks later into the season, coinciding with adult CRW emergence. Beetles will seek out the freshest corn in their area and may spread to fields that haven’t experienced CRW pressure in the past. This could affect your 2020 corn crop.

For more information, read our full article on why a wet 2019 won’t wash away 2020 insect pressure.

Interrupt the corn rootworm life cycle

In the spring, CRW larvae hatch from eggs that survived in the soil over the winter months. The carbon dioxide given off by young corn roots attracts the worms, which immediately begin feeding. The resulting damage to the root system can destabilize the entire plant.

During the summer, CRW emerges from its pupal stage, and adult beetles feed on corn silks, another critical stage of your crop’s growth. With every silk consumed, this highly-adaptable pest takes another bite out of your yields.

For more information, read our full article on the corn rootworm life cycle.

The solution

To manage corn rootworm and other insect pests, we recommend considering Force® 6.5G insecticide for next season, which features a high-load granular formulation to give you proven control with fewer stops to refill. It manages CRW and other soil-dwelling insects with enhanced convenience.

Learn how to control corn rootworm pressure in your fields with the new Force 6.5G Interactive Infographic.

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All photos are either the property of Syngenta or are used with permission.