Wheat curl mites, Aceria tosichella Keifer, dispersing from wheat (Triticum spp.) to nearby corn (Zea mays L.) fields play a role in the development of kernel red streaking in corn. These studies were undertaken to verify the relationship of wheat curl mite to kernel red streaking, to determine whether wheat is the main source of curl mites dispersing into corn and to determine whether planting corn in temporal or spatial isolation of wheat is a valid management strategy. These studies were conducted on farm fields using sticky traps to monitor mites, followed by sampling mature grain for kernel streaking in southwestern Ontario from 1999 to 2002. The dominant source mites were winter wheat. Mite dispersal occurred during the first 3 wk of winter wheat maturation after the wheat had reached Zadoks stage 87. Mite dispersal corresponded to prevailing winds in the area with the lowest number of mites and the lowest severity of kernel red streaking occurring 60 m from wheat fields planted to the north, south, and east of cornfields and 90 m from wheat fields planted to the west of cornfields. The severity of kernel red streaking was positively correlated with the density of wheat curl mites in corn; however, the correlation was weak and kernel red streaking was still high in many cornfields when few or no mites were present. These findings suggest that wheat curl mite migration into corn is not entirely predictive of the incidence and severity of kernel red streaking.
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Vol. 98 • No. 5