Black cutworm, Agrotis ipsilon (Hufnagel) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), is an occasional pest of maize (corn), Zea mays L., that may cause severe stand losses and injury to corn seedlings. The efficacy of the neonicotinoid seed treatment clothianidin at two commercially available rates and their interaction with a transgenic corn hybrid (Bt corn), trait expressing the Bacillus thuringiensis variety aizawai insecticidal toxin Cry 1Fa2, against black cutworm larvae was investigated. Clothianidin at a rate of 25 mg kernel-1 on Bt corn increased larval mortality and reduced larval weight gains additively. In contrast, weights of larvae fed non-Bt corn seedlings treated with clothianidin at a rate of 25 mg kernel-1 increased significantly, suggesting either compensatory overconsumption, hormesis, or hormoligosis. Both Bt corn alone and clothianidin at a rate of 125 mg kernel-1 applied to non-Bt corn seedlings caused increased mortality and reduced larval weight gains. In two field trials, plots planted with Bt corn hybrids consistently had the highest plant populations and yields, regardless of whether they were treated with clothianidin at the lower commercial rate of 25 mg kernel-1 The use of Bt corn alone or in combination with the low rate of clothianidin (25 mg kernel-1) seems suitable as a means of suppressing black cutworm in no-tillage cornfields, although rescue treatments may still be necessary under severe infestations. Clothianidin alone at the low rate of 25 mg kernel-1 is not recommended for black cutworm control until further studies of its effects on larval physiology and field performance have been completed.
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Vol. 104 • No. 2