Northern Ohio corn growers who experienced unexplained stand loss the past couple of years may have fields infested with Asiatic garden beetle grubs.
The grubs are a relatively new pest to Ohio field crops and could result in substantial economic losses for growers, says Ron Hammond, Ohio State University Extension entomologist.
Last year was the first known instance of Asiatic garden beetle grubs causing significant stand losses in corn in northern Ohio just below Lake Erie, said Hammond, who also has an appointment with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center.
Growers who planted corn following soybeans in sandier soils reported last year finding Asiatic garden beetle grubs that caused some stand losses, Hammond said. What's surprising is that the grub, a species that is more associated with being a minor pest in turf, now appears to be much more damaging to crops than most other grubs.
"This is a new pest in the sense that this is the first year we're going into the growing season knowing that the pests are in some soils," says Hammond. "If you're in northern Ohio and have had unexplained stand losses, this may be it.
"Growers who have had unexplained strand losses in the northern part of Ohio may need to consider doing something about the pest this year now that we know what the problem is."
The Asiatic garden beetle was introduced to the U.S. in the 1920s on the East Coast and has since made its way across the country, Hammond says. The grubs were recently associated as a newer corn pest in northeast Indiana and southwest Michigan from 2006 to 2008, always in sandier soils following soybeans.
Some fields in Ohio meet those conditions, Hammond says.