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Mexican rice borer moving slowly into Louisiana

Louisiana entomologists monitor the eastward progress of the Mexican rice borer. Expected to be more of a problem in sugarcane than rice.

Louisiana entomologists continue to monitor the eastward progress of the Mexican rice borer.

In October, adult moths were found in Jefferson Davis Parish in monitoring traps approximately 10 miles south of Welsh. The traps are maintained by the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry.

The pest, which came to Louisiana from Texas, was previously found in east Calcasieu Parish in a rice crop.

The discovery should not set off a panic, said LSU AgCenter entomologist Natalie Hummel. “The thing we don’t want people to do is go out and change their management strategy if they don’t typically have a problem with borers. We encourage people in the infested parishes to monitor their rice crop more closely next season and use management strategies as needed.”

At the recent Rice Outlook Conference in Austin, Texas, LSU AgCenter rice specialist Johnny Saichuk said that the borer is not expected to be a major problem. “I don’t think it’s anything to panic about.”

Farmers who use the Dermacor seed treatment against rice water weevils should get protection against the Mexican rice borer, Hummel said.

The borer and treatment options will be discussed at the LSU AgCenter winter rice clinics being held the first week of January.

LSU AgCenter entomologist Gene Reagan, who has studied the Mexican rice borer extensively, said the pest probably will cause more damage to sugarcane than rice.

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