Western bean cutworm, Striacosta albicosta (Smith) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), is a native pest of dry beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) and corn (Zea mays L.). Historically, the western bean cutworm was distributed in the western United States, but since 1999 eastward expansion has been observed. In corn, economic impact is caused by larval ear feeding. Information on western bean cutworm biology, ecology, and economic impact is relatively limited, and the development of economic injury levels (EILs) and economic thresholds (ETs) is required for more effective management. Studies during 2008–2011, across three ecoregions of Nebraska, sought to characterize western bean cutworm survival and development of EILs and ETs. Calculations of EILs and ETs incorporated the dynamics of corn price, management cost, and pest survival. The results from the current study demonstrated low larval survival of this species (1.51–12.82%). The mean yield loss from one western bean cutworm larva per plant was 945.52 kg/ha (15.08 bu/acre), based on 74,100 plants per ha. Economic thresholds are expressed as a percentage of plants with at least one egg mass. This study is the first study that explicitly incorporates variable management costs and crop values into western bean cutworm EIL calculations, and larval survival into ET calculations.
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Vol. 106 • No. 3