Western Corn Rootworm Beetles Emerging
July 10, 2015
Western corn rootworm beetles are emerging in southeast Nebraska. Beetles typically emerge somewhat later in northeastern and western Nebraska.
Figure 1. Western corn rootworm
Figure 2. Corn leaf damage caused by western corn rootworm.
Beetles emerging before silk emergence may feed on corn leaves. They feed by scraping the surface tissue, leaving a white parchment-like appearance. Once silks emerge, they become the favored food. The earliest silking fields in an area often are most heavily damaged because beetles will move to them in search of green silks.
There are no thresholds for silk-clipping damage based on beetle numbers because damage levels are not correlated well with beetle densities. Usually an average of 5-10 beetles per ear is required to seriously affect pollination. Severe silk feeding (silks clipped to less than ½ inch from the ear) at 25%-50% pollen shed may indicate a need to apply insecticide. Silk feeding after pollination is complete does not affect yield potential.
See the 2015 Guide to Weed Management in Nebraska with Insecticide and Fungicide Information (EC 130), for insecticides labeled for adult rootworm control.
Also see "Using Degree-Days to Predict Western Bean Cutworm Flight Times" from the July 2, 2015 CropWatch.