The influence of weather on western corn rootworm flight activity at the borders of a soybean field in east central Illinois

Scott A. Isard, Mark A. Nasser, Joseph L. Spencer, Eli Levine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


The evolution of a new strain of western corn rootworm (WCR) beetle (Diabrotica virgifera virgifera) that has adapted to crop rotation by flying from host cornfields to nearby soybean fields to lay eggs is presenting new challenges to farmers in the U.S.A. Corn Belt. Development of effective management tools for the WCR that display this new behavior require knowledge of atmospheric factors that influence their interfield movement. In this study, WCR movement into a soybean field is related to solar radiation, wind speed and direction, air temperature, and precipitation with consideration of biological factors that also influence flight. WCR flight activity and meteorological variables were measured above the canopy of a 1.64 ha soybean field in east-central Illinois between late July and early September, 1997. On 14 days, insect traps were sampled at 30-min intervals. Interfield movement of WCR occurred over a wide range of solar irradiances, air temperatures, and wind speeds. Darkness, air temperatures below 15 °C or above 31 °C, and wind speeds in excess of 2.0 m s-1 prohibited aerial movement of WCR. Within these limits, atmospheric factors had only little influence on the biologically-driven temporal patterns of seasonal and daily WCR flight activity. Atmospheric conditions were conducive to WCR flight 62% of the time during the growing season when WCR were active. Weather conditions substantially reduced interfield WCR movement throughout about one-third of the days when female WCR beetles were abundant at the study site in 1997.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)95-104
Number of pages10
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Plant Science


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