University of Florida

Management of Sweet Corn Insect Pests

Situation or Issue Identification

The Florida corn industry is annually under attack from at least 42 different insects, many of which have the potential of literally eating the crop to the ground or rendering it completely unmarketable if left uncontrolled.

Rationale for Research Support Resources

Sweet corn alone is a $100 million industry in Florida. Research on the biologies, including natural enemies, and developing economic thresholds are needed to realize our nations goals of placing this commodity under a truly integrated pest management program.

Measurable or Potential Impact in Terms of Social, Economic, and/or Environmental Factors Resulting from Expenditure of Research Support Funds

Pesticide trials and field days conducted throughout the year keep the growers up to date with risks and benefits of available control strategies. This has become particularly important with the implementation of the Food Quality Protection Act of 1997. Efforts continue in cooperation with the State's sweet corn breeder to select for characters resistant to the worst corn ear pests. A worldwide web site has been constructed that will give growers, scouts, home owners and government agencies access to diagnostic plant damage and insect identification keys; color photographs and biocapsules of these insects; results of control trials and bioassays; and listings of available control strategies.

Collaborating Organizations/Agencies and Teaching/Research/Extension Partnerships

Research findings were and will continue to be disseminated to the growers at field days and other Extension events through cooperation with Palm Beach County Cooperative Extension Agents and publication of results in grower magazines, such as Florida Grower and Rancher. Variety screening trials were conducted with the corn breeding program (Dept. of Horticultural Sciences) at this research center. The web site was constructed with the cooperation of faculty in the Departments of Entomology & Nematology, Plant Pathology, and Horticulture.

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Corn Earworm

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