Impact of Lepidoptera (Crambidae, Noctuidae, and Pyralidae) Pests on Corn Containing Pyramided Bt Traits and a Blended Refuge in the Southern United States. Academic Article uri icon


  • Blended refuge for transgenic plants expressing Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) toxins has been approved in the northern United States as a resistance management strategy alternative to a structured refuge. A three-year study (2012-2014) was conducted with 54 trials across nine states in the southern United States to evaluate plant injury from lepidopteran pests of corn and yield in a corn hybrid expressing Cry1FCry1AbVip3Aa20 (Pioneer Brand Optimum Leptra) planted as a pure stand and in refuge blends of 5, 10, and 20% in both early and late plantings. Injury by corn earworm, Helicoverpa zea Boddie (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), and fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda (J. E. Smith) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), was generally proportional to the percentage of non-Bt corn within each refuge blend. Across locations, ear injury in plots with 100% Cry1FCry1AbVip3Aa20 (Optimum Leptra) corn ranged from no injury to a maximum of 0.42 cm(2) per ear in Mississippi in 2013. Leaf injury ratings in 100% non-Bt plots in early and late planted trials in 2014 were 86- and 70-fold greater than in 100% Cry1FCry1AbVip3Aa20 (Optimum Leptra) plots. Plants in plots with blended refuges had significantly greater leaf injury in 2012 (5, 10, and 20% refuge blends), in the early-planted corn in 2013 (10 and 20% only), and in both early- and late-planted corn in 2014 (20% only) as compared with leaf injury in a pure stand of Cry1FCry1AbVip3Aa20 (Optimum Leptra) seen during these years. Corn ears in plots with blended refuges also had significantly greater area of kernels injured in 2012 (5, 10, and 20%), in early- and late-planted corn in 2013 (5, 10, and 20%), and in early (10 and 20% only)- and late-planted corn (5, 10, and 20%) in 2014 as compared with ear injury in a pure stand of Cry1FCry1AbVip3Aa20 (Optimum Leptra) seen during these years. Infestations of southwestern corn borer, Diatraea grandiosella Dyar (Lepidoptera: Crambidae), were also significantly reduced by Cry1FCry1AbVip3Aa20 (Optimum Leptra). Despite these differences in injury, yield averaged across locations varied among refuge blends only in the late-planted trials in 2013, with greater yields in the 0% refuge blend than in the 20% blend; however, when examining yield separately by location, only two of nine locations had higher yields in the 100% Bt plots than in any of the blended refuge plots. As a complement to studying the contribution of blended refuge to delaying resistance, quantifying injury and yield in a range of refuge blends is a necessary step to provide management information on the range of lepidopteran pests that occur in the southern United States.

published proceedings

  • J Econ Entomol

altmetric score

  • 0.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Reay-Jones, F., Bessin, R. T., Brewer, M. J., Buntin, D. G., Catchot, A. L., Cook, D. R., ... Rice, M. E.

citation count

  • 23

complete list of authors

  • Reay-Jones, FPF||Bessin, RT||Brewer, MJ||Buntin, DG||Catchot, AL||Cook, DR||Flanders, KL||Kerns, DL||Porter, RP||Reisig, DD||Stewart, SD||Rice, ME

publication date

  • August 2016