The billion-dollar bug: Corn rootworm

The corn rootworm is a species of leaf beetle which is considered to be the most widespread and problematic insect pest of corn. It is one of the most devastating insects in North America.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has previously estimated that the damage caused by the pest and costs associated with controlling it typically total $1 billion annually—including approximately $800 million in yield loss and $200 million in treatment expense and hence it is referred as the “billion-dollar bug.”

The corn rootworm rapidly expanded its range in North America and has now spread to various parts of Europe.

Rootworm larvae can complete development only on corn and a few other species of grasses.

Beginning in late May or early June the larvae hatch and begin their single generation life cycle. The larvae are immediately attracted to corn roots by the emission of CO2 from the root tips and begin feeding. Since corn roots are the primary food source for the larvae, extensive damage can occur with a high population of larvae in the soil. After the beetles emerge from the pupal case, they dig their way up to the surface of the soil. Progressive feeding on the roots causes difficulty for the plant to take up moisture and nutrients. Injured roots are also easy entry points for fungi and bacteria that may increase the severity of root and stalk rots and premature death.

The evidence for same is reported below:

Conditions ripe for corn rootworm hatches

Tom C. Doran, AgriNews Publications │ June 12, 2018

JACKSONVILLE, Ill. — A large portion of central Illinois and western Indiana are at high risk for corn rootworm hatches, according to weather-based predictions.

“Rootworm hatches are pretty timely and has been well correlated to heat unit accumulations,” said Sean Evans, Channel North America technology development manager.

Rootworms begin to hatch around 600 soil growing degree units, and once it reaches 750 GDUs, a 50 percent rootworm hatch is typical.

Based on the prediction by insectforecast.com, there was a significant hatch around Memorial Day weekend, when the first alert came out.

Maize pest exploits plant defense compounds to protect itself
Nowlan Freese, Max Planck Institute for Chemical EcologyNovember 27, 2017

A new study explains why biological control of the western corn rootworm has not been efficient

The western corn rootworm continues to be on the rise in Europe. Why attempts to biologically target this crop pest by applying entomopathogenic nematodes have failed, can now be explained by the amazing defense strategy of this insect. In their new study, scientists from the University of Bern, Switzerland, and the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena, Germany, show that the rootworm larvae are able to sequester plant defense compounds from maize roots in a non-toxic form and can activate the toxins whenever they need them to protect themselves against their own enemies.

Several insecticide products are available that come applied to the corn seed. But these are harmful to humans as well as the environment since it degrades the soil. Using pesticides to combat the nuisance is not a feasible way. Also, resistance to pest control practices in the corn rootworm is nothing new. This insect is notorious for developing resistance to control tactics such as insecticides and crop rotation. A destructive insect’s growing resistance to genetically modified corn seeds is costing American farmers as much as $1 billion annually.

C Tech Corporation can offer an eco-friendly solution to the nuisance caused by the corn rootworm. Our product TermirepelTM is low-toxic, non-hazardous and insect aversive. Our products work on the mechanism of repellence and they do not harm or kill the target species but generate fear or trigger temporary discomfort within the pests that keep the pests away from the application.

Our product works on the mechanism of repellency. It temporarily inhibits the mating cycle of the insects. The product impairs the ability of the insects to reproduce, that is the insects will not lay eggs or the laid eggs will be infertile. The product causes feeding disruption in an insect by triggering an unpleasant reaction within the insect which might try to feed on the application. The product temporarily blocks the reproduction system of the insects by hindering the release of the vital hormones for growth.

Our product is compliant with RoHS, RoHS2, ISO, APVMA, NEA and REACH and is FIFRA exempted. The green technology-based product can protect the crops and prevent the loss caused by the corn rootworm and other insects as well.

TermirepelTM is available in lacquer form. These products can be directly sprayed or applied to the application as a topical application. It can be applied to the already laid pipes and tubing in the farm. The lacquer is compatible with most of the surfaces like wood, metal, concrete, polymers, ceramics, etc.

Our TermirepelTM masterbatch can be incorporated with various polymeric applications like agricultural and other protective films, pipes, wires, and cables etc. while they are manufactured. This will prevent the pests from gnawing on the polymeric application.

TermirepelTM is available in liquid concentrate which can be mixed in paints and be applied on the fences in the garden and farms. Thus, using our products, you can get an effective solution to fight menace caused by cicadas and many such insects!

Contact us at technical.marketing@ctechcorporation.com to keep the pests away.

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