Pioneer has been one of the first companies to recognize the potential severity of the sugarcane beetle on corn crops in the Southeast. Both Ben Knox in the Piedmont of North Carolina and Glenn Rountree in southeast Virginia were instrumental in getting information about the pest to growers.

The company recently published a list of scenarios in their publication, Crop Focus.

In the publication are two planting scenarios that can impact an integrated pest management program for managing sugarcane beetle.

These include: Avoid planting corn into sod or grassy fields. And, avoid minimum or no-till practices in grassy areas.

It is critical to plant corn early, or at least timely according to planting time field conditions and to fertilize properly to encourage vigorous seeding growth. This will help minimize seedling injury, if beetles infest the corn field.

The best insurance against these sporadically occurring pests in corn is to use an insecticide seed treatment. In the Delta researchers have found Poncho at the 500 ppm rate was more effective than Cruiser 500 at the same rate in preventing damage from sugarcane beetle.

Seed treatments will provide some protection from sugarcane beetles, but not excellent plant protection.

High rates (1,250 ppm) may give good to excellent protection under some cropping and weather scenarios, but rates of 250-500 ppm are likely to give fair to poor protection, regardless of which seed treatment is used.

Both granular and liquid insecticides, in combination with seed treatments, may provide adequate protection in fields with a history of damage from these beetles. Other high risk fields are those that have been planted to sod crops or located near sod fields.

These tiny insects are mostly nocturnal feeders and can be both difficult to find and to kill. Typically, even if a grower decides to use one of a number of insecticides that will kill these insects, getting the material to the adult beetle is tough.