Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Virus-Based Insecticides for Control of Headworms in Sorghum and Caterpillars in Other Crops

A "new" insecticide option is being tried and promoted on the High Plains for control of some caterpillar pests, especially sorghum headworms (corn earworm and fall armyworm). There are some appealing aspects to this, but there is a lot we don't know as well.

Dr. Ed Bynum just posted a nice summary of the history of these insecticides based on nucleopolyhedrovirus (NPV), how they work, and some aspects of application and labeling. Insecticidal Virus Products for Pest Control: What are the Latest Facts, Panhandle Pest News, 7 November 2018.

Because these are live viruses and spread in the field, the minimum plot size needed for research is very large. We would be interested in trying one or both of these headworm products on large fields next year. By large I mean way bigger than we have at the Experiment Station. There would be large blocks of treated and untreated sorghum, and ground application equipment would be essential.