Western corn rootworm (Diabrotica virgifera virgifera LeConte) larvae use carbon dioxide (CO2) to locate the roots of their hosts. This study investigated whether an encapsulated CO2 source (CO2-emitting capsules) is able to outcompete CO2 gradients established by corn root respiration in the soil. Furthermore, the following two management options with the capsules were tested in semifield experiments (0.5- to 1-m2 greenhouse plots): the disruption of host location and an “attract-and-kill” strategy in which larvae were lured to a soil insecticide (Tefluthrin) between the corn rows. The attract-and-kill strategy was compared with an application of Tefluthrin in the corn rows (conventional treatment) at 33 and 18% of the standard field application rate. Application of the CO2-emitting capsules 30 cm from the plant base increased CO2 levels near the application point for up to 20 d with a peak at day 10. Both the disruption of host location and an attract-and-kill strategy caused a slight but nonsignificant reduction in larval densities. The disruption of host location caused a 17% reduction in larval densities, whereas an attract-and-kill strategy with Tefluthrin added at 33 and 18% of the standard application rate caused a 24 and 27% reduction in larval densities, respectively. As presently formulated, the CO2-emitting capsules, either with or without insecticide, do not provide adequate control of western corn rootworm.
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