It is hypothesized that the long-term rotation of maize (Zea mays L.) and soybean (Glycine max L.) in east central Illinois has caused a significant change in the ovipositional behavior of the western corn rootworm, Diabrotica virgifera virgifera LeConte. Since the mid 1990s in east central Illinois, western corn rootworm adults have been observed feeding on soybean foliage and also now use soybean fields as egg laying sites. This behavioral adaptation has greatly decreased the effectiveness of rotation as a pest management tactic. By using Pherocon AM and vial traps, we evaluated the influence of maize, soybean, oat stubble (Avena sativa L.), and alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) on male and female adult western corn rootworm densities from April 1998 through September 2000 near Urbana, IL. Our results indicated that western corn rootworm adults are common inhabitants of maize, soybean, oat stubble, and alfalfa. Trapping efforts with both Pherocon AM (attractive) and vial traps (passive) revealed that initial densities of both male and female western corn rootworm adults were greater in maize. Soon after emergence, densities of females began to decline within maize and increase in other crops (soybean, oat stubble, and alfalfa). Results from this experiment support the hypothesis that variant western corn rootworm females in east central Illinois are colonizing crops other than maize at densities of potential economic importance. Those producers who choose to rotate maize with soybean or alfalfa may remain at risk to economic larval injury to maize roots. Potentially, oat stubble also may support levels of western corn rootworm females resulting in sufficient oviposition to cause economic losses to rotated maize the following season.
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Vol. 96 • No. 3