Competition between Brown Stink Bug and Corn Earworm in Field Corn

Jim Crocker
6th July, 2024

Competition between Brown Stink Bug and Corn Earworm in Field Corn

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • In the southeastern United States, brown stink bug feeding before corn tasseling deforms ears and reduces grain yield by up to 92%
  • Brown stink bug feeding reduces corn earworm larvae by 29-100% and their feeding by 46-85%
  • Later planted corn sees a 9-fold increase in corn earworm larvae on average
Interspecific competition, where different species compete for the same resources, is a key factor influencing insect population dynamics. In the southeastern United States, two of the most common pests of field corn (Zea mays L.) are the brown stink bug (Euschistus servus) and the corn earworm (Helicoverpa zea). Both pests can cause significant economic damage, but their interactions have not been well understood. A recent study conducted by researchers at Clemson University aimed to shed light on this interaction and its potential implications for pest management[1]. The study spanned two years and focused on the impact of brown stink bug feeding during the late vegetative stages of corn development on subsequent corn earworm infestations and grain yield. The researchers found that brown stink bug feeding prior to tasseling caused deformed ears and reduced overall grain yield by up to 92%. Interestingly, varying levels of brown stink bug density and injury also reduced the number of corn earworm larvae by 29-100% and larval feeding by 46-85%. Later planted corn experienced a 9-fold increase in the number of corn earworm larvae on average. These findings are significant because they demonstrate a competitive interaction between these two major pests in a field corn setting. This is the first study to document such an interaction, and it has important implications for insect resistance management. By understanding how these pests interact, farmers and researchers can develop more effective strategies to manage them. The study builds on previous research that has examined the impact of stink bugs and corn earworms on corn. For example, a study conducted in Virginia and North Carolina assessed the economic yield loss and reduction in grain quality from brown stink bug feeding injury in early and late stages of maize development[2]. The researchers found that stink bug infestation levels had a significant impact on grain yield, particularly during the reproductive stages of maize. The current study's findings on the impact of brown stink bug feeding on corn earworm infestations add a new dimension to our understanding of how these pests affect corn yield. Another relevant study examined the spatial patterns of stink bugs in corn fields[3]. The researchers found that stink bugs, particularly adult populations, tend to aggregate in certain areas of the field. This spatial variability can make it challenging to effectively sample and manage stink bug populations. The current study's findings on the impact of brown stink bug density on corn earworm infestations highlight the importance of considering these spatial patterns when developing pest management strategies. The current study also has implications for managing resistance to Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) proteins in corn earworms. Previous research has documented increasing resistance to Bt proteins among corn earworm populations in the southeastern United States[4]. By reducing the number of corn earworm larvae, brown stink bug feeding could potentially slow the development of resistance to Bt proteins. This is an important consideration for farmers who rely on Bt corn to manage corn earworm populations. In conclusion, the study conducted by Clemson University researchers provides valuable insights into the competitive interactions between brown stink bugs and corn earworms in field corn. By understanding how these pests interact, farmers and researchers can develop more effective strategies to manage them and potentially slow the development of resistance to Bt proteins. These findings highlight the importance of considering interspecific competition and spatial variability when developing integrated pest management programs.

AgricultureEcologyAnimal Science

References

Main Study

1) Competition between brown stink bug (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) and corn earworm (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) in field corn.

Published 4th July, 2024

https://doi.org/10.1093/ee/nvae065


Related Studies

2) Reevaluating the Economic Injury Level for Brown Stink Bug (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) at Various Growth Stages of Maize.

https://doi.org/10.1093/jee/toaa173


3) Within-field spatial patterns of Euschistus servus and Nezara viridula (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) in field corn.

https://doi.org/10.1093/ee/nvad043


4) Susceptibility of Corn Earworm (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) to Cry1A.105 and Cry2Ab2 in North and South Carolina.

https://doi.org/10.1093/jee/toz062



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