Field Crops News

Caterpillar Predation Higher in No-Till Than in Conventional Tillage Corn

Predation of caterpillars attacking corn (European corn borer, black cutworm, common stalk borer, armyworm, fall armyworm) was studied in the field by observing live insects held in place with a nylon thread during 24 hour periods. Predators did not attack or consume one species preferentially over another. There were significantly more attacks and more caterpillars consumed in no-tillage systems compared with conventional tillage treatments. Predator activity (number of attacks) and predation were greatest at night and least in early afternoon over the entire season and generally increased as the season progressed. The soil insecticide phorate significantly decreased predators and number of caterpillars consumed by predators for about 2 months after its application. Ground beetles were the most important predators in this study, however other species (rove beetles, daddy longlegs, centipedes and wolf spiders) also provided significant predation, particularly in early and mid-June.

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