Prevent corn damage from western corn rootworms / by Ganpati Jagdale

Prevent corn damage from The western corn rootworms (Diabrotica virgifera virgifera) using beneficial entomopathogenic nematodes. These corn rootworms are considered one of the most damaging insect pests corn. The life cycle of this insect consists of four developmental stages including eggs, larvae, pupae and adults. Of these four stages, only larvae and adults cause a serious damage to corn plants. Larvae exclusively feeds on maize roots and causes plant to lodge whereas adults generally interfering maize pollination by  feeding on silk.  Beneficial entomopathogenic nematodes including Heterorhabditis bacteriophora (Family: Heterorhabditidae) and Steinernema glaseri (Family: Steinernematidae) have been used for the control of Diabrotica virgifera virgifera larvae in the fields. Application of both Heterorhabditis bacteriophora and Steinernema glaseri reduced over 65% population of western corn rootworms. Recently, Pilz et al (2014) also proved that the Heterorhabditis bacteriophora nematodes can persist in the field up to 6 weeks after their first application. According to these researchers, these nematodes if applied at the time of sowing of corn can survive in the field until they find and infect larvae of the western corn rootworms. For more information on the western corn rootworms and entomopathogenic nematode interactions, read following research papers.

Research papers:

Jackson, J.J. 1995.  Pathogenicity of entomopathogenic nematodes for third instars of the western corn rootworm. J Nematol 27:504.

Jackson, J.J. 1996.  Field performance of entomopathogenic nematodes for suppression of western corn rootworm (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae). J Econ Entomol 89:366–372.

Jackson, J.J. 1997.  Field efficacy and ecology of three entomopathogenic nematodes with the western corn rootworm. J Nematol 29:586.

Jackson, J.J., Brooks, M.A. 1995.  Parasitism of western corn rootworm larvae and pupae by Steinernema carpocapsae. J Nematol 27:15–20.

Journey, A.M., Ostlie, K.R. 2000.  Biological control of the western corn rootworm (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) using the entomopathogenic nematode, Steinernema carpocapsae. Environ Entomol 29:822–831.

Kurtz, B., Toepfer, S., Ehlers, R.U., Kuhlmann, U. 2007.  Establishment and persistence of Heterorhabditis bacteriophora, H. megidis, and Steinernema feltiae for controlling Diabrotica virgifera virgifera larvae in maize. J Appl Entomol 131:420–425.

Pilz, C. 2008.  Biological control of the invasive maize pest Diabrotica virgifera virgifera by the entomopathogenic fungus Metarhizium anisopliae. PhD thesis at the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences BOKU, Vienna, 155 pp.

Pilz, C., Keller, S., Kuhlmann, U. and Toepfer, S. 2009.  Comparative efficacy assessment of fungi, nematodes and insecticides to control western corn rootworm larvae in maize.  Biocontrol. 54: 671-684.

Pilz, C., Toepfer, S., Knuth, P., Strimitzer, T., Heimbach, U. and Grabenweger, G. 2014. Persistence of the entomoparasitic nematode Heterorhabditis bacteriophora in maize fields. Journal of Applied Entomology 138: 202–212.

Stefan, T., Ibolya, H.Z., Ehlers, R.U., Peters, A. and Kuhlmann, U. 2010.  The effect of application techniques on field-scale efficacy: can the use of entomopathogenic nematodes reduce damage by western corn rootworm larvae? Agricultural and Forest Entomology. 12: 389-402.