The northern corn rootworm, Diabrotica barberi Smith & Lawrence (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae), creates economic and environmental concerns in the Corn Belt. To supplement the population control tactics of the Areawide Pest Management Program in Brookings, SD, geographic information systems were used from 1997 to 2001 to examine the spatial relationships between D. barberi population dynamics and habitat structure, soil texture, and elevation. Using the inverse distance weighted interpolation technique, D. barberi population density maps were created from georeferenced emergence and postemergence traps placed in maize, Zea mays L., fields. For each year, these maps were overlaid with vegetation, soil, and elevation maps to search for quantitative relationships between pest numbers and landscape structure. Through visual interpretation and correlation analysis, shifts in landscape structure, such as size, number, and arrangement of patches were shown to associate with D. barberi population abundance and distribution in varying degrees. D. barberi were found in greater proportions than expected on loam and silty clay loam soils and on elevations between 500 and 509 m. An understanding of the interactions between D. barberi population dynamics and landscape variables provides information to pest managers, which can be used to identify patterns in the landscape that promote high insect population density patches to improve pest management strategies.
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