Treating corn rootworm with nutrition

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2020-06-26 16:38:29

In Spring 2013 an organic grain crop grower in central Pennsylvania called, very concerned about corn rootworm in his organic corn crop. About 15%-18% of the seedlings  were noticeably delayed behind the other plants, and the rootworm larvae were spreading to the larger plants as well.

At this point, we had less experience managing insects with nutritional applications than we do today, and I was uncertain how much of a difference a nutritional application would make.

With the caveat that I don’t have experience with this situation, and I am unsure if the recommendation will work, I suggested a foliar application of AEA products that contained magnesium, sulfur, boron, cobalt, molybdenum, seaweed, humic substances, crab shell,  shrimp shell, and some other goodies.

The intent of the foliar was to rapidly convert all the existing free amino acids, nitrates, and ammonium which might be present in the plant sap into peptides and complete proteins. An additional goal was to trigger an immune response within the plant through the induced systemic resistance (ISR) pathway so the plant produces higher levels of phytoalexins which can disrupt the digestive system of the insects and shut them down.

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