Field studies at sites with two contrasting soil types investigated effects from the presence of yellow foxtail [Setaria pumila (Poir.) Roem. and Schult.], established in bands parallel to corn rows, on western corn rootworm (Diabrotica virgifera virgifera LeConte) survival, corn root injury, lodging, biomass production, and yield. Results suggested that the presence of foxtail as an alternate host influenced the degree and progression of corn rootworm damage and adult emergence in a given locality. Rootworm adults emerged later from foxtail band areas and had smaller head capsule size than did individuals from areas without foxtail, consistent with earlier findings that foxtail in the diet of western corn rootworm was a poor nutritional substitute for corn. Lodging was reduced in the presence of yellow foxtail in some cases, but corn stover biomass and yield also were lower. Influences, if any, of soil type on rootworm survival were unclear because of differences in planting date between the two sites. Foxtail may function as a buffer to reduce rootworm damage to corn and serves as an alternate host that should be considered in the development of resistance management strategies for transgenic corn modified for rootworm resistance.
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