Fall Armyworm Symposium--1988: Potential for Using Maize as a Trap Crop for the Fall Armyworm, Spodoptera Frugiperda (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), where Sorghum and Maize are Intercropped on Subsistence Farms

  • Marco Castro
  • Henry Pitre
  • Dan Meckenstock


The effectiveness of a maize trap crop in reducing fall armyworm (FAW), Spodoptera frugiperda (J. E. Smith), larval infestations on sorghum, Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench. in areas where sorghum and maize, Zea mays L., are grown together in the same field was investigated in small plots at Choluteca, Honduras in 1984 and at Starkville, Mississippi in 1984 and 1985. Infestations of FAW larvae were similar on sorghum treatments with and without the maize trap crop in Honduras and in one test in Mississippi, 1984. Apparently, the area ratio of 2:1 for sorghum : maize plantings in close proximity did not differentially restrict FAW activity on the preferred maize plants. However, significantly higher FAW larval infestations and plant damage were observed on maize than on sorghum in pure stand or when grown together with maize as the trap crop in a second test conducted in 1985 in Mississippi. The results of these studies support reported observations in greenhouse and field cages showing higher oviposition by FAW moths on maize than on sorghum. The higher infestation of FAW on maize further suggests the potential for use of maize as a trap crop for monitoring insect populations and its possible use as a trap crop control tactic for FAW in areas of low rainfall where sorghum is grown as a main crop and this insect is a serious pest.
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