The cool summer has taken its toll on insects, but that doesn't mean you should shed a tear for the tiny creatures of the insect world. There are still enough out there, especially in places. That's the word that agronomist Mark Beamer passed along to visitors at Beck's Hybrids field days last weekend. Some 6,000 people visited the plant during the three days. Many toured on the wagon where Beamer explained what he had observed this summer in terms of insects.
One of the experiments in the Practical Farm Research section at Beck's Hybrids at Atlanta, Ind., this summer allows him to simulate true scouting. If a problem shows up at economic threshold levels, then he can treat for it.
In general, Beamer hasn't seen large numbers of insects this summer. He links that to the cool summer. Climatologists report that throughout Indiana and across most of the eastern Corn Belt, it was the coolest July on record, with records going back more than 110 years. In other states of the Corn Belt where it didn't break a record, it was still a cooler July than normal.
One insect that is an exception to the rule seems to be European corn borer, Beamer notes. He reported seeing more corn borer moths in Indiana in corn than at any time during the past 10 years. However, if you have Bt corn with the Bt trait for corn borer, you likely aren't aware that corn borers were present. Those plants carry a toxin that kills larvae when they attempt to feed on the plant. Nearly all triple stack hybrids have Bt resistance for corn borer in the package.
Beamer knows that they were there because he traps insects during the summer, following recommended scouting practices. He sets up various kinds of traps, including those that can catch corn borer moths. He also trapped for western bean cutworm moths. Despite the name, this is a pest of corn, and is moving into Indiana from the west.
Some chemical companies sounded the alarm for western bean cutworm in Indiana a couple of weeks ago. However, Beamer believes the worst infestations are limited to a couple of counties in northwest Indiana, particularly in Jasper and Pulaski Counties. Personally, in his scouting activities related to the Beck plots, he has not captured a western bean cutworm moth in weeks, he notes.