The excitement of corn!

Euethola humilis rugiceps

Euethola humilis rugiceps

While a pristine agricultural field can be a very beautiful thing to see, I also enjoy seeing crop diseases, weeds, and pests. I find them interesting and think they have a lot to teach us. Yesterday I got to meet a new (to me pest) of corn: Euetheola humilis rugiceps.  This scarab beetle is damaging to corn at the seedling stage and causes farmers to lose stand density, which in turn results in a loss of yield. The adult feeds underground on the roots and damages the growing point of the plant, which causes the plant to die.

Digging Euetheola from a corn field.

Digging Euetheola from a corn field.

In the second photo you can see the dead central leaves that are characteristic signs of Euetheola damage in corn. The field is a no till field with a significant amount of Amaranthus palmeri. The farmer has yet another scarab to deal with later. The Japanese beetle, Popillia japonica, adults will soon be out and will be eating corn silks which also results in less yield for the farmer. Kelly is part of paper that will soon be appearing in Journal of Economic Entomology about how Popillia changes corn yields. I hope you farmers out there have clean, beautiful fields full of beneficial inseects and I hope you folks with interest in crop insects can have test plots full of Euetheola.

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