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Corn Rootworm - Part 1: Description of Corn Rootworm and Other Early Season Corn Pests

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Introduction-CRW Part 1

The corn rootworm (CRW, from the insect order Coleoptera, Diabrotica spp.) is a common pest in the Corn Belt of the United States. The corn rootworm complex includes three rootworm species: western, northern, and southern corn rootworms. Though these three insects are all considered rootworms, they have very distinctive physical appearances as adults and some differences in biology.

The western corn rootworm (WCR, D. virgifera) can be identified by a yellowish color with two black stripes on each wing. The northern corn rootworm (NCR, D. barberi) is a solid tan to pale green (Wright et al, 1999). The southern corn rootworm (SCR, D. undecimpunctata howardi), also known as the spotted cucumber beetle, is light yellow-green with 12 distinctive black spots on the wings (Southern, 2002). Each of these insects is similar in their life cycle and behavior, but there are differences between them. These differences and similarities will be discussed individually for each component of the complex in this lesson.

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