Corn Rootworm 2017.2 - Western Corn Rootworm Update January 2017

Western Corn Rootworm (WCRW) Diabrotica virgifera – A New Pest in British Columbia In August 2016, a new pest was detected in the Lower Fraser Valley, Western Corn Rootworm (Diabrotica virgifera). From preliminary surveying in August-October, WCRW has been seen in forage corn and sweet corn in the Abbotsford area, Matsqui, Chilliwack, Mission, and Agassiz. WCRW is not a quarantine pest. It is native to North and South America, and has been a significant pest for over 50 years in major corn growing regions of the mid-west USA, and has been present for some time in Ontario and Quebec. It is estimated that rootworm species cause over $1 billion in corn yield loss and control costs in the USA. Affected BC agriculture sectors include fresh market sweet corn, silage corn for dairy including organic producers.

Damage Caused by Pest: Adult beetles feeding on the silks of developing corn ears can negatively affect pollination and fill of the cobs and also be a contaminant at harvest for the fresh market sweet corn crop. Rootworm larvae are the most damaging stage, as they feed on corn roots, causing goose-necking or lodging of the plant.

Management: If WCRW is detected in a field the best management option is crop rotation out of corn every 2-4 years. Other measures include: at-plant insecticides targeting the larvae stage, spraying for adults, and use of Bt corn hybrids.

For information about what to look for, see the Factsheet located at: ….. (put the BCAGRI factsheet link here)

Useful websites include: Ontario:

Utah State University:

Penn State:


Coast: Tracy Hueppelsheuser, Entomologist, Plant and Animal Health Branch, British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture, 1767 Angus Campbell Road, Abbotsford, British Columbia, V3G 2M3, Ph: 604-556-3031,

Interior: Susanna Acheampong, Entomologist, Plant and Animal Health Branch, British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture, 200-1690 Powick Road, Kelowna, British Columbia, V1X 7G5, Ph: 250-861-7681,