Original scientific paper
European corn borer and its parasites overwintering abundance and damages on different corn FAO maturity groups
2019, 20 (1) p. 447-460
European corn borer (ECB) is one of the most significant maize pests in the world and also in Croatia. ECB causes yield reduction from 2 to 25%, even more in years favorable for its development. According to estimations, these losses are around 7%. About 90% of the hybrids had some resistance to whorl-leaf feeding (first-generation ECB) and 75% had some resistance to sheath and sheath-collar feeding (second-generation ECB). Along with resistance, modern maize hybrids possess certain level of tolerance. The main aim of this paper was to determine moth eclosion of the overwintering generation and presence of the parasites of ECB larvae during the overwintering as well as to estimate population density of ECB on maize growing area in Croatia. Also, we aimed to establish the differences among different maize FAO maturity groups in damage caused by ECB larvae. Estimated overwintering population was over 8,000 moths/ha i.e. more than 4 million larvae of first generation. During the overwintering four different parasites attacked the larvae. Two species belong to the order Hymenoptera (Cotesia marginiventris Cresson and Eriborus terebrans Gravenhorst) and two species belong to the order Diptera (Ramonda spathulata Fallén and Lydella thompsoni Herting). One caterpillar predator species Paragymnomerus spiricornis Spinola (Hymenopetra) overwinters in maize stalks as well. The highest attack of the first ECB generation was recorded on FAO maturity group 500. The damage from second ECB generation was the highest on FAO groups 400 and 500. The maize of the higher FAO groups has high and robust stems with large number of big leaves. That intensive vegetative growth is a biological characteristic that attracts first generation of ECB to intensifying egg lying. High population level of the first generation also leads to high level of second ECB generation which ultimately caused yield reduced on the hybrids of longer vegetation period (medium-late FAO maturity groups).