2021 Insect Control Planning

Every year is different, and knowing what insects may be a problem in 2021 can be difficult. However, by asking a few simple questions, we can predict and then make plans to control these insects. What insects were a problem this year? Do they overwinter in your geography? What is their life cycle? If they don’t overwinter, what conditions do they favor? Does weather affect populations? A lot of insect populations go in cycles, so are the populations increasing or decreasing?

I like to break these insects down into overwintering insects and migrating insects.

Overwintering Insects:

Overwintering insects, in my opinion, are a little easier to predict. If there was a problem this year, there are potentially more eggs or larvae that can overwinter into next spring. Knowing what factors can affect the number of eggs or larvae surviving the winter can help predict the potential survival the following year. For example, cold temperatures can reduce the number of corn rootworm eggs surviving the winter or chopping corn stalks can reduce the survival of corn borer larvae by exposing them to the elements. By knowing your specific insect, you can ask, “What can I do this fall or winter to reduce insect pest populations and what environmental factors may reduce their populations?” Remember, these factors can potentially reduce their populations, not control them. There must be a plan as to how to control them next year. 

At Channel, there are several options to help to control insects, such as Acceleron® Seed Applied Solutions seed treatments along with Bayer soil and foliar insecticides. Additionally, corn insect trait options such as SmartStax® Technology (protects against northern and western corn rootworm, European and southwestern corn borers, fall armyworm, black cutworm, and corn earworm), VT Double PRO® Technology (protects against European and southwestern corn borers, fall armyworm, and corn earworm), and Trecepta® Technology (protects against European and southwestern corn borers, fall armyworm, corn earworm, western bean cutworm, and black cutworm) in combination with rotation provides flexibility to help to control troublesome insects.

Migrating Insects:

Depending on your geography, some insects are unable to overwinter and must migrate from southern locations instead. With these insects, we must consider what environmental factors increase their risk? Also, what habitat attracts them? Some insects like to lay eggs in grassy waterways while others are attracted to winter annuals or other broadleaves. For example, black cutworms fly north each year on southerly winds and are attracted to late-planted corn and weedy fields. As we start to grow more cover crops, migrating insects may be a bigger problem because the cover crop could potentially attract more insects or provide more habitat. In corn, many of these are Lepidopteran insects, which can be controlled with Trecepta Technology. In soybeans, we can help to control labeled insects with Bayer insecticides such as Leverage® 360 insecticide.

A special note for corn rootworms: Populations have increased in many areas the last two years. In my geography, corn rootworms were a real struggle in fields that were corn on corn for three or more years. That is telling me there are extremely high larval populations. So, how do we reduce those populations? The obvious answer is crop rotation to a non-corn crop. However, in some situations, farmers might not be able to rotate. Another option is to plant a non-corn rootworm traited corn with a soil-applied insecticide at planting. However, this might not be an option for some because many planters today don’t have insecticide boxes. Another way to reduce potential corn rootworm pressure is by spraying an insecticide such as Baythroid® XL insecticide to kill females before they lay their eggs. However, timing is critical; therefore, fields should be scouted to determine population densities and if females are still gravid (with eggs). Farmers should consult their local extension resources for information on population thresholds and timings.

When Planning for Future Insect Pressure:
  • Evaluate previous-year insect populations
  • Consider crop rotation
  • Utilize corn products with resistant trait(s)
  • Have an in-season field evaluation plan in place

Nathan Falk

Agronomist

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ALWAYS READ AND FOLLOW PESTICIDE LABEL DIRECTIONS. B.t. products may not yet be registered in all states. Check with your seed brand representative for the registration status in your state.

IMPORTANT IRM INFORMATION: RIB Complete® corn blend products do not require the planting of a structured refuge except in the Cotton-Growing Area where corn earworm is a significant pest. See the IRM/Grower Guide for additional information. Always read and follow IRM requirements.

Performance may vary, from location to location and from year to year, as local growing, soil and weather conditions may vary. Growers should evaluate data from multiple locations and years whenever possible and should consider the impacts of these conditions on the grower’s fields.

Roundup Ready® 2 Technology contains genes that confer tolerance to glyphosate. Glyphosate will kill crops that are not tolerant to glyphosate. Insect control technology provided by Vip3A is utilized under license from Syngenta Crop Protection AG. Baythroid® XL and Leverage® 360 are restricted use pesticides. Not all products are registered in all states and may be subject to use restrictions. The distribution, sale, or use of an unregistered pesticide is a violation of federal and/or state law and is strictly prohibited. Check with your local dealer or representative for the product registration status in your state. Channel® and the Arrow Design® and Seedsmanship At Work® are registered trademarks of Channel Bio, LLC. Herculex® is a registered trademark of Dow AgroSciences LLC. Agrisure Viptera® is a registered trademark of a Syngenta group company. LibertyLink® and the Water Droplet Design® is a trademark of BASF Corporation. Respect the Refuge and Corn Design® and Respect the Refuge® are registered trademarks of National Corn Growers Association. Acceleron®, Baythroid®, Leverage®, Roundup Ready 2 Technology and Design™, Roundup Ready®, SmartStax®, Trecepta® and VT Double PRO® are trademarks of Bayer Group. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. For additional product information call toll-free 1-866-99-BAYER (1-866-992-2937) or visit our website at www.BayerCropScience.us. Bayer CropScience LP, 800 North Lindbergh Boulevard, St. Louis, MO 63167. ©2020 Bayer Group. All rights reserved.

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