Ostrinia nubilalis (Hübner) (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) is one of the most damaging insect pests of corn. Studies were conducted to determine whether live larval counts obtained from corn whorls were predictive of the amount of larval tunneling that would result in the stalk of the plant 40 d later at the end of larval development. Whorls from plants treated with Dipel 10G (6,400 IU per whorl) and untreated controls, both infested with O. nubilalis neonates, were evaluated for the number of live larvae in 50 whorls 5, 7, 9, and 12 d after Bacillus thuringiensis (Berliner) (Bacillales: Bacillaceae) application. Forty days after larval infestation, 25 plants from each plot were split from tassel to base, and the length of larval tunneling was recorded. There was a strong relationship between numbers of live larvae in the plant whorl and the length of larval tunneling that resulted. While linear at each location, there was significant variation in the relationship among locations, indicating that comparisons could not be made between years or locations within a year. Blocks within a location on a given year did not vary significantly and reproducible results were obtained each year within a given location as well as on any of the whorl pulling dates evaluated. Because of its ease of use, predictability, and rapid return of results, we propose this technique as an additional method to shot-hole feeding and stalk splitting to evaluate the effectiveness of O. nubilalis management strategies.
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Vol. 102 • No. 2