Inconsistent control of Dermolepida albohirtum (Waterhouse) (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) in the period after the removal of organochlorines allowed us to study the impact of climatic variables and insecticide application on subsequent damage in sugarcane (Saccharum spp.). D. albohirtum damage records from the Invicta and Inkerman mill areas of the Burdekin district of North Queensland were compared with climatic averages during spring from 1989 to 2003. D. albohirtum damage demonstrated autocorrelation, indicating that the area of damage will increase from one year to the next if the grub is not effectively controlled. Insecticide use did not significantly impact on the area of damage between 1989 and 2003. Of the climatic variables evaluated, only pan evaporation was significant, and it was inversely related to the subsequent area of grub damage. Therefore, we suggest that weather conditions in spring impact on beetle emergence, feeding, and oviposition. Hot and dry spring weather may reduce beetle activity and ultimately the severity of crop damage, whereas wet and mild spring weather may favor beetle activity and an increase in the area of potential crop damage.
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Vol. 101 • No. 2