Western bean cutworms are a major pest of corn crops across Nebraska and the north-central Corn Belt. A new "Western Bean Cutworm Speed Scout" app will make scouting for the yield-reducing pest faster and easier, says Wayne Ohnesorg, UNL Extension educator in Madison County.
Typically, scouting for western bean cutworms starts now, but due to hot and dry conditions this season, scouting is nearly over across the state. However, it's still a good idea to download the app and start practicing for next year, Ohnesorg says.
Ohnesorg, along with UNL entomologists Gary Hein, Tom Hunt, Robert Wright and UNL graduate student Silvana Paula-Moraes of Brazil, collaborated with University of Minnesota entomologists William Hutchison and Eric Burkness on the app. It was produced by Educational Media at UNL.
The free app is available in the iTunes store.
Similar to the Aphid Speed Scout app recently released by UNL, the Western Bean Cutworm app allows users to speed scout corn fields to help them determine whether Western bean cutworm populations have reached the action threshold for treatments. An action threshold is a best guess as far as what damaging levels are and where farmers will cover their cost of treatment in terms of yield.
The app has visuals that show what WBCs look like.
In addition, since the application is based on a spreadsheet, people may download it to other smart phones, computers, etc., as well as iPads and iPhones, according to Ohnesorg.
The app also allows the user to store scouting history, which allows the user to review the information without Internet access. The app can also send a reminder for when scouting is needed again.