Managing Early Season Insects​​

​​Planning to manage early season insect pests, as economically as possible, yet needing to ensure you have implemented an effective control measure? Understanding the potential damage that insects can have on your crop has some importance; however, pest history and available control methods take precedence. Consider your past experiences or area reports when planning what control measures to employ. Examples include pests like seed corn maggots, wireworms and grubs (Figure 1). These are seedling to early leaf stage pests that are primarily controlled with the latest seed treatments (always refer to the label), although wireworms may also require a planter box treatment depending on seed treatment dose. Hop vine borer, stalk borer and black cutworm (Figure 2) require scouting and timely insecticide treatments.

Figure 1. White grubs can feed on roots and cause stunting, reduced nutrient and water uptake, and possibly plant death.

Black cutworm and stalk borers are controlled by several trait offerings but not all of them are effective; therefore, check with your supplier or university trait tables. If you have a field with insect pests, consider implementing a plan and monitoring their presence to help ensure the proper application timing takes place. Adding cover crops or taking fields out of perennial grass/hay can present a totally new insect management environment. Therefore, pay close attention to university monitoring programs.

Figure 2. Black cutworms can cut plants off or tunnel into seedlings and kill the growing point.
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