Northern Ohio corn growers who have suffered unexplained losses in the past few years might have fields infested with Asiatic garden beetle grubs.
The grubs are a new pest to Ohio field crops and have the potential to cause significant economic losses for farmers, said Ron Hammond, an Ohio State University Extension entomologist and a staffer at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center at Wooster.
Corn losses could be minor or up to 40 percent of the yield, he said.
Last year was the first instance of the grubs causing significant corn losses in northern Ohio, he said. The problem most often was found in cornfields with sandier soils where soybeans had been grown previously.
What’s surprising, Hammond said, is that the grub was believed to be a minor pest in turf, but now appears to be much more damaging to crops than other grubs.
“This is a new pest in the sense that this is the first year we’re going into a growing season knowing that the pests are in some soils,” he said in a news release.
“If you’re in northern Ohio and have had unexplained stand losses but aren’t sure why, this may be it,” he said.
The beetle was introduced to the East Coast in the 1920s and has made its way across the country. It was reported as a corn-growing pest in northeast Indiana and southwest Michigan from 2006 to 2008.
There is little that can be done to fight the grubs once they begin feeding in the soil and causing corn reductions, Hammond said.
A soil insecticide before planting is the best way to proceed, he said.
Bob Downing can be reached at 330-996-3745 or firstname.lastname@example.org.