Menu

Corn Flea Beetle Survival in 2016

Stewart’s wilt is a bacterial disease of corn that overwinters in the gut of corn flea beetles. While this pathogen rarely causes issues with corn hybrids, it can be devastating to seed corn and sweet corn, which are more sensitive to the disease. Corn flea beetle winter survival is strongly correlated with the harshness of winter, particularly with temperature.

One method of estimating corn flea beetle survival is to look at average winter temperatures (December-February). Survival is anticipated to be low when winter temperatures average below 27 degrees Fahrenheit, and is quite high when the average temperatures for this period are 33 F or above. In looking at this method, the average temperature recorded at the Mendon Enviro-weather station was 31.6 F. This is considerably warmer than 27 F, but less than the 33 F that would predict high levels of corn flea beetle survival. The average temperature at the Coldwater Enviro-weather station was just slightly cooler at 31.5 F during this time period.

Another method for predicting corn flea beetle survival uses the sum of the average temperature for each month between December and February. The total average monthly temperature was 94.8 F at the Mendon Enviro-weather station. Temperatures were again slightly cooler at the Coldwater Enviro-weather station, totaling 87.5 F for the period. Using this method, three-month totals less than 80 predict poor corn flea beetle winter survival, while totals above 100 predict high survival rates. With this system, the 2015-2016 winter falls near the middle of the “normal” range. The temperature regime would suggest a reasonable chance of normal survival rates of corn flea beetle this spring.

Since the weather does not appear to have greatly reduced the survival potential of corn flea beetles this year, and due to the importance of keeping Stewart’s wilt out of seed corn production fields, Michigan State University Extension suggests growers continue scouting for these early season pests and controlling them according to their seed company agronomic guidelines.

Source: Bruce MacKellar, Michigan State University 

Recent News

Researchers Fortify Queen of the Forages with Disease Defense
12/13/2019

Alfalfa is often called the “Queen of the Forages” due to its high yield, feed quality for ruminant animals, nitrogen fixation and pollinator habitat among other environmental services. But this royal member of the legume family is no match against the host of microbes that cause the disease complex known as “crown rot.” Chemical controls […]

Stretch Limited Hay Supplies
12/12/2019

Although growing conditions for hay production were favorable throughout much of North Dakota this year, challenges associated with harvest and transport have left many livestock producers facing a shortage of hay. North Dakota State University Extension agents from across the state have reported that 10% to 30% of this year’s forage crop is unavailable (that […]

USMCA on Course for Ratification in 2020
12/11/2019

Natalie Andrews, William Mauldin and Anthony Harrup reported yesterday at The Wall Street Journal Online that, “A new U.S. trade deal with Mexico and Canada gained backing from House Democrats, setting the agreement on course for likely ratification by Congress in 2020 and marking a victory for President Trump after months of negotiations to modify it. “Mr. Trump ran for office in 2016 […]

Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now