Dispersal of the southwestern corn borer, Diatraea grandiosella Dyar, was examined by release and recapture of dye-marked adults and by capture of feral adults in and around 50-ha center pivot irrigated fields of Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) maize. Pheromone and blacklight traps were used to capture the adults. In 1999, 2000, and 2001, a total of 177, 602, and 1,292 marked males, and 87, 231, and 1,045 marked females were released in four irrigated Bt maize fields, respectively. Recapture beyond release point was 2.13, 6.17, 3.16, and 17.91% for males and 0, 0, 2.23, and 4.18% for females in the four fields, respectively. One male was recaptured over native vegetation outside the field perimeter, and one was caught in a neighboring maize field, 457 m from the release point. An exponential decay function explained recapture of marked adults across the dispersal distance. More than 90% of adults were recaptured within 300 m of the release point. Large numbers of feral adults were captured throughout the study fields and over native vegetation between fields. The feral adult dispersal could be described with a linear model. Virgin females (38% marked and 14% feral) were captured throughout the study fields. The recapture of marked insects suggests that the dispersal was limited. However, capture of feral adults throughout Bt maize fields indicates that the actual dispersal may be more extensive than indicated by recapture of marked adults. Potential refuge sources for the feral adults were 587–1,387 m from the edge of the fields. There seems to be some dispersal of D. grandiosella from the nontransgenic “refuge” fields into the transgenic fields, which may allow for some genetic mixing of the Bt-resistant and -susceptible insects to help suppress potential evolution of pest resistance to transgenic maize. However, it is not clear whether the dispersal recorded in this study is sufficient to support the current resistance management strategy for corn borers.
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Vol. 99 • No. 2