Join the Corn Rootworm Adult Monitoring Network in 2022

May 16, 2022 1:53 PM
Blog Post

Western and northern corn rootworms are serious corn pests in Iowa and the Corn Belt. These pests readily adapt to management tactics, especially in continuous corn production. The larvae consume corn roots, reducing nutrient and water uptake and causing stalk lodging. The adults may also feed on above-ground parts of the plant, including silks and pollen, which may interfere with pollination.

corn root and adult corn rootworms clipping silks
Left) Corn roots pruned by corn rootworm larvae. Photo by Erin Hodgson. Right) Corn rootworm beetles feeding on the ear tip. Photo by Eric Burkness, Bugwood.org.

This is the third year of the corn rootworm trapping network in Iowa. We are interested in monitoring corn rootworm adults throughout Iowa to get a sense of how populations vary across the state. We are also interested in species composition (ratio of westerns to northerns). Since this is a huge undertaking, we are asking for volunteers to monitor sticky traps this summer. We will compile data and report findings later this year.

Want to be a volunteer trapper?

If you are interested in volunteering to set up and monitor traps for corn rootworm or would like additional information, send an email to bugtraps@iastate.edu by June 24, 2022. Please include your contact information and mailing address in the email. As part of the Iowa corn rootworm monitoring network, we will provide enough traps for each cooperator to monitor one transect (four traps) for four weeks. Free traps will be provided for 50 locations in 2022.

Traps and a protocol will be mailed to you in late June or early July. It can take over a month for the emergence of adult corn rootworms to be complete, depending on degree day accumulation, but we will aim to capture peak emergence through our network. Trapping will likely begin during the third week of July.

If a cooperator is interested in continuing to monitor after the four weeks are up or wants to place more traps in their field, or if our free traps run out, traps may be purchased from several retailers. Details on where to purchase sticky traps can be found on the Corn Rootworm IPM website. To learn more about the Regional Corn Rootworm Monitoring Network and corn rootworms, visit our website.

Regional network

For the second year, we have partnered with extension and industry personnel in several U.S. states and Canadian provinces to synchronize our data collection efforts and provide a regional perspective on corn rootworm activity. Part of this partnership presents the opportunity for our cooperators to enter their data into an online database called Survey123. This will be a web-based data entry system that cooperators can use for free without creating an account. It will allow cooperators the autonomy of entering their own data, and the data will be used for live mapping of reports that will be publicly available on a webpage.

More information on Survey123 will be provided via email in late June, and you can opt-in at that time. If you participated in the trapping network in 2021 and used the Survey123 application, the process will be similar but the app will not be used. Cooperators will not be obligated to use the application to enter data; people will still be able to email their trap captures to bugtraps@iastate.edu, which will be kept for our use only or we could enter the data online for you if you wish.

How can this help farmers?

Aside from providing data to us, we hope these traps can provide the volunteer with valuable insight into their field or a client’s field and that this information can be used by anyone who makes management decisions. High adult activity may be concerning and indicate issues for the following growing season. It should be noted that four traps per field is a small sample and will not completely represent adult activity in that field. Implementing multiple transects is ideal for understanding adult density, so use caution when making management decisions based on a single transect.

Authors: 

Ashley Dean Education Extension Specialist I

Ashley is an education extension specialist for field crop entomology at Iowa State University. She coordinates the Iowa Moth Trapping Network, develops educational resources for field crop pests in Iowa, and aids in the research efforts of the

Erin Hodgson Professor

Dr. Erin Hodgson started working in the Department of Entomology at Iowa State University in 2009. She is a professor with extension and research responsibilities in corn and soybeans. She has a general background in integrated pest management (IPM) for field crops. Dr. Hodgson's current extensio...