As a follow-up to pheromone trap sampling for the Mexican Rice Borer (MRB), Eoreuma loftini (Dyar) (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae), adjacent to sugarcane and rice fields in Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana initiated in 1999, studies were undertaken in the Summer and Fall of 2000 and 2001 to define the insectís present range. In 2000, utilizing twice weekly monitoring of pheromone traps in 12 Texas counties and 7 Louisiana parishes, newly discovered MRB locations were in Brazoria, Colorado, Fort Bend, Waller, and Wharton counties in Texas. In 2001, MRB were discovered in two additional Texas counties (Austin and Harris). The insect is not known to occur in Louisiana, but is at relatively high populations now within 50 - 60 miles of the new sugarcane production area near Beaumont, TX. In addition to pheromone trap assessment, larval infestations have been discovered in newly invaded areas.
Management studies involving varietal resistance and insecticide approaches were also assessed with cooperators in the USDA, LSU, and Texas A&M Systems, chemical industry colleagues, the Rio Grande Valley Sugar Growers Association and Texas Rice Producer organizations. Replicated variety assessment to determine relative MRB resistance has shown at least 4.5-fold differences in susceptibility among selected commercially available varieties in sugarcane and rice. Initial insecticide studies in rice seem to show more promise than in sugarcane. Agricultural Extension agents together with Texas and Louisiana Departments of Agriculture personnel have additionally assisted in these studies.
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