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Ohio Department of Agriculture | Plant Health

Corn Commodity Survey

Corn (Zea mays) is an annual crop in the Poaceae family. The major corn growing region of Ohio is the western half of the state although the crop can be found throughout the state. In 2009 Ohio ranked 8th in the US in corn production with 3,140,000 acres planted, 546,360,000 bushels produced with a yield of 174 bushels per acre.

Silver Y moth (Autographa gamma), Old World Bollworm (Helicoverpa armigera), Egyptian Cottonworm (Spodoptera littoralis), Rice Cutworm (Spodoptera litura), Asiatic Rice Borer (Chilo suppressalis), Asian Corn Borer (Ostrinia furnacalis), and False Codling Moth (Thaumatotibia leucotreta) will be surveyed as a corn commodity survey. None of the pests listed is known to occur in the U.S.

Silver-Y moth (Autographa gamma) is a polyphagous pest and is considered a high risk for establishment in temperate and mixed broadleaf forest habitats. Its known distribution includes all of Europe and extends east through Asia to India and China. Adults can be observed from April through November.

Old World Bollworm (Helicoverpa armigera) damages a wide variety of food, fiber, and horticultural crops. Its polyphagous nature, high reproductive rate, and mobility make it suitable for establishment in man-made ecosystems and microclimates. Although its global distribution suggests Ohio's broadleaf and mixed forests would be suitable for the pest, it is not known to be established in the wild despite reported introductions. Adults can be observed from April through October.

Egyptian Cottonworm (Spodoptera littoralis) has wide host range of at least 40 families. Potentially economically important hosts in Ohio include: onion, beet, cabbage, cauliflower, bell pepper, watermelon, soybean, sunflower, tomato, cereal crops, radish, roses, maize, and grape. The potential distribution in Ohio may reach as far north as the central part of the state where winters are mild. The pest can be observed any time of the year that plants are actively growing.

Rice Cutworm (Spodoptera litura; also known as tobacco cutworm and cotton leafworm) damage arises from extensive feeding by larvae, leading to complete stripping of the plants. Larvae are leaf eaters but sometimes act as a cutworm with crop seedlings. Spodoptera litura feeds on the underside of leaves causing feeding scars and skeletonization of leaves. Early larval stages remain together radiating out from the egg mass. However, later stages are solitary. Initially there are numerous small feeding points, which eventually spread over the entire leaf. Because of this pest's feeding activities holes and bare sections are later found on leaves, young stalks, bolls, and buds. Larvae mine into young shoots. In certain cases, whole shoot tips wilt above a hole and eventually die (Hill, 1975; USDA, 1982; Small Grain survey reference). Spodoptera litura and S. littoralis are allopatric, their ranges covering Asia and Africa, Europe and the Middle East, respectively. Many authors have regarded them as the same species, but they have been differentiated based on adult genitalia differences (Mochida, 1973; CABI, 2007; Small Grain survey reference).

False Codling Moth (Thaumatotibia leucotreta) is native to Ethiopia and sub-Saharan Africa. It is not known to be established in North America. Main routes of introduction are larvae on fruits, pods, or flowers. There are more than 70 potential U.S. hosts including: okra, mallow, acacia, pineapple, pepper, tea, pecan, citrus, coffee, persimmon, fig, cotton, hibiscus, walnut, macadamia, mango, banana, olive, avocado, bean, yellowwood, apricot, plum, guava, pomegranate, oak, sorghum, and grape. The pest is a generalist with respect to host plant selection. The generalist feeding strategy enables survival in marginal conditions as is necessary due to lack of diapause. Important host crops include avocado (Persea americana), citrus (Citrus spp.), corn (Zea mays), cotton (Gossypium spp.), macadamia (Macadamia spp.), and peach and plum (Prunus spp.) (USDA, 1984; Stibick, 2006). Larvae damage corn by entering the ear from the husk through the silk channel (Stibick, 2006; Grape Survey reference).

Asiatic Rice Borer (Chilo suppressalis) is an insect pest of rice native to Asia. This moth is a very destructive stem borer of rice. The pest poses a large risk to U.S. plant health. International commerce provides recognized avenues of introduction.

Asiatic Corn Borer (Ostrinia furnacalis) is an important economic pest of corn production and is widely distributed throughout the Asia-Pacific region. Yield losses of 20-80% may occur, and there may be complete crop failure during severe infestation. Adults are brownish or straw-colored with a wingspan of approximately 30mm. Males are slightly darker than females and have a tapering abdomen. Females deposit eggs in clusters of various sizes on the upper side of leaves or on the husk. In a lifetime a female can deposit up to 1500 eggs. Adults can live for up to 11 days and are prolific fliers, frequently covering up to 1.5km in a lifetime. There are generally 6 larval instars. Young larvae are pink or a yellowish-gray in color. Mature larvae are white with wart-like black spots on each body segment. Mature larvae are up to 50mm long. Larval stages usually last between 17 and 30 days. At the end of the season the final instar will diapause in stem residue or cobs. The pest is not known to occur in the US.

The goals of this survey are to trap for these pests to 1) detect their presence if they do occur in the state and 2) demonstrate the absence of these pests by negative trapping results. Pheromone traps will be set and maintained at six corn fields in six Ohio counties distributed throughout the central, north central and northwestern parts of the state.

If you suspect you have found one of these pests, contact the Ohio Department of Agriculture Plant Pest Control Section.


Photo Gallery

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Asiatic Corn Borer adult

Asiatic Corn Borer adult

Asiatic Corn Borer adult

Asiatic Corn Borer larva

Asiatic Rice Borer adult