Reproductive biology and overwintering success of the Western Bean Cutworm

Project Summary

Because of the growing Western Bean Cutworm pressure in Ontario and questions raised at the conclusion of a previous research project, continued research on WBC has been prioritized by Ontario Bean Growers and Grain Farmers of Ontario. The ability of farmers and crop consultants to effectively monitor for WBC will be significantly improved following testing of the hypothesis that both sexes of the WBC use long distance sex pheromones. This will be accomplished by comparing capture data in traps baited with virgin males and females, and with the commercial pheromone lure. It will also be of value to determine the effects of temperature on the physiology and survival of the prepupae in both fall and spring under field conditions to test the hypothesis that high soil temperatures in fall and spring limit survival of WBC prepupae. The data on the pheromone communication system of the WBC will allow OBG to improve their ability to interpret trap catch data, and thus determine if pheromone traps will serve as an effective monitoring system to determine if intervention is required or not. Understanding the effects of fall and spring soil temperatures on survival of the univoltine WBC will allow OBG to determine the population dynamics of resident populations and thus their importance to the overall damage caused by this species in corn and beans. These are critical pieces of an effective integrated pest management strategy.