Popcorn was evaluated in a series of experiments conducted over four growing seasons for its potential as a refuge for European corn borer, Ostrinia nubilalis (Hübner). Objectives of these studies were to determine whether more larvae were produced in popcorn than in field corn and to determine how popcorn influenced female oviposition and larval distribution in neighboring field corn. Two varieties of popcorn (M140, 105d and M3374Y, 118d), one mixture of popcorn (50% 105d and 50% 118d), and field corn (DK580, 108d) were evaluated. Number of egg masses, eggs per egg mass, and larvae were significantly higher in popcorn compared with field corn. Moth oviposition and larval distribution were evaluated using 105d popcorn embedded in several cornfields across Iowa. The row of field corn adjacent to popcorn had significantly more larvae compared with background field corn. In larger field experiments, O. nubilalis larval survival after overwintering was significantly different, with 2.2–18.7 times more O. nubilalis larvae surviving in popcorn than field corn. The potential use of popcorn as an O. nubilalis refuge for genetically engineered corn is considered.
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