The European corn borer, Ostrinia nubilalis (Hübner), causes economic damage to corn, Zea mays L., throughout the Corn Belt. Because this insect has become the primary target of Bacillus thuringiensis Berliner (Bt) transgenic corn, current efforts addressing the management of O. nubilalis resistance to Bt corn require information on adult European corn borer dispersal and factors affecting its dispersal. In 1998 we conducted mark-release-recapture, release-recapture, and caged-mating studies to directly measure and compare local dispersal patterns of O. nubilalis adults within and proximal to irrigated and non-irrigated cornfields. Releases of marked adults were made corresponding to the first and second flight of O. nubilalis in eastern Nebraska. Adult dispersal was significantly different between irrigated and non-irrigated cornfields. Released adults tended to remain in and near irrigated cornfields, but dispersed out of and away from non-irrigated cornfields. When released at the edge of the cornfield, neither male nor unmated female O. nubilalis displayed an initial tendency to move out of irrigated corn and into the mixed smooth bromegrass (Bromus inermis Leyss) and broadleaf-weed field edge. Mating efficiency in a late-season cornfield was not significantly different than in dense foxtail (Setaria spp.). Generally, we found that adult O. nubilalis dispersal may vary depending on variables such as action-site availability and agronomic practices and their interaction with O. nubilalis life history.
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