Lesser Cornstalk Borer in Beaufort County Soybean

Image by Dominic Reisig.

For the second year in a row, lesser cornstalk borer has been found on soybean in Beaufort County.  This year’s finding comes from Gaylon Ambrose, Beaufort County Cooperative Extension Director.  This insect prefers corn, but can be a serious pest of soybean.  Look for the larvae at the base of the plants at, or near the soil surface on doughty soil.  Its girdling can cause stand loss or lodged plants.  If you’re lucky enough to find it (you’ll have to do some digging and peeling), it will wiggle violently in your palm.

Remedial treatment measures are not effective.  Since this insect has been found two years in a row on the same farm, this grower should consider planting a resistant variety.  These have been screened at Bertie County in 2009 and 2010 and in Jones and Johnston Counties in 2010.

Peeling back the bark of the soybean stem can sometimes reveal the tunnels and girdles resulting from this pest. Image by Dominic Reisig.

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