Nav: Home

New resource for managing the Mexican rice borer

April 13, 2016

A moth caterpillar called the Mexican rice borer (Eoreuma loftini) has taken a heavy toll on sugar cane and rice crops in Texas, and has moved into Louisiana, Florida, and other Gulf Coast states. Now a new article in the Journal of Integrated Pest Management provides information on the biology and life cycle of the pest, and offers suggestions about how to manage them.

The Mexican rice borer was first described in Arizona in 1917, but it drew little attention until it arrived in southern Texas in 1980. Within just a couple of years of its appearance there, it became the primary pest of sugar cane, according to Julien Beuzelin, an assistant professor at Louisiana State University and lead author of the JIPM paper.

Since then, the insect has moved north and east along the Gulf Coast at a rate of about 15 miles per year.

"Out of the blue in 2012, it was detected for the first time in central Florida and is now established there too," Beuzelin said.

The Mexican rice borer causes damage to a variety of grasses, extending beyond sugar cane and rice to sorghum, corn, and non-crop grasses. In fact, it will attack any grasses that have stalks large enough for them to burrow into. The larvae hatch from eggs laid on leaves and stalks, and the caterpillars crawl onto the green parts of the plant and start feeding. After the second or third molt, they burrow into the culm.

Such damage could result in many millions of dollars of crop loss. One study suggested that in a worst-case scenario, the insect could cause more than $40 million a year in rice losses, and more than $200 million losses in sugar cane in Louisiana alone.

Growers mainly rely on a diamide pesticide known as chlorantraniliprole, which works well against both Mexican rice borers and another rice pest called the rice water weevil (Lissorhoptrus oryzophilus), but chlorantraniliprole works in much the same way as another diamide that might have its registration cancelled by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

"Because chlorantraniliprole has the same mode of action, the entomological community is afraid this might happen with chlorantraniliprole as well," Beuzelin said. "We don't expect it to be taken off the market, but we just don't know."

Other control methods beyond pesticides are available, although many need additional study. An example is to grow resistant varieties of crop grasses, which often work well to deter pests.

Growers can also adjust the cutting height from the usual 16 inches to 8 inches, essentially cutting away stems that are infested with larvae.

"This can decrease the number of Mexican rice borers in the stubble," Beuzelin said.

Another control method is to plant early. According to field experiments, later plantings (in mid-May vs. mid-March), as well as ratoon cropping, have increased infestations.

Soil amendments, particularly silicon, may also be helpful.

"This is ongoing work that we are doing, but we think the addition of silicon may be a cheap way to make rice more resistant to rice borers," Beuzelin said.

While he encourages research on control measures beyond pesticides, Beuzelin is also interested in the Mexican rice borer as a model for landscape-wide management.

"Instead of just taking a management approach on a field basis, it might be beneficial to manage this insect over a wider area," Beuzelin said. "I think the Mexican rice borer would be a good model for such landscape-wide management studies. As an entomologist, this makes the Mexican rice borer very interesting."
-end-
The full article, "Biology and Management of the Mexican Rice Borer (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) in Rice in the United States," is available at http://jipm.oxfordjournals.org/content/7/1/7.

The Journal of Integrated Pest Management is published by the Entomological Society of America, the largest organization in the world serving the professional and scientific needs of entomologists and people in related disciplines. Founded in 1889, ESA today has more than 7,000 members affiliated with educational institutions, health agencies, private industry, and government. Members are researchers, teachers, extension service personnel, administrators, marketing representatives, research technicians, consultants, students, and hobbyists. For more information, visit http://www.entsoc.org.

Entomological Society of America

Related Rice Articles:

New rice fights off drought
Scientists at the RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science (CSRS) have developed strains of rice that are resistant to drought in real-world situations.
Domesticated rice goes rogue
We tend to assume that domestication is a one-way street and that, once domesticated, crop plants stay domesticated.
Protecting rice crops at no extra cost
A newly identified genetic mechanism in rice can be utilized to maintain resistance to a devastating disease, without causing the typical tradeoff -- a decrease in grain yield, a new study reports.
Every grain of rice: Ancient rice DNA data provides new view of domestication history
Now, using new data collected samples of ancient, carbonized rice, a team of Japanese and Chinese scientists have successfully determined DNA sequences to make the first comparisons between modern and ancient rice.
Four newly identified genes could improve rice
A Japanese research team have applied a method used in human genetic analysis to rice and rapidly discovered four new genes that are potentially significant for agriculture.
Infants who ate rice, rice products had higher urinary concentrations of arsenic
Although rice and rice products are typical first foods for infants, a new study found that infants who ate rice and rice products had higher urinary arsenic concentrations than those who did not consume any type of rice, according to an article published online by JAMA Pediatrics.
New resource for managing the Mexican rice borer
A new article in the Journal of Integrated Pest Management provides information on the biology and life cycle of the Mexican rice borer (Eoreuma loftini), and offers suggestions about how to manage them.
Fighting rice fungus
Plant scientists are uncovering more clues critical to disarming a fungus that leads to rice blast disease and devastating crop losses.
The origin and spread of 'Emperor's rice'
Black rice was prized in ancient times for its color and is prized in modern times for its high levels of antioxidants, but its early history has been shrouded in mystery until now.
Trigger found for defense to rice disease
Biologists have discovered how the rice plant's immune system is triggered by disease, in a discovery that could boost crop yields and lead to more disease-resistant types of rice.

Related Rice Reading:

Blood Communion: A Tale of Prince Lestat (Vampire Chronicles)
by Anne Rice (Author)

Chicken Soup with Rice Board Book: A Book of Months
by Maurice Sendak (Author), Maurice Sendak (Illustrator)

Transmission (The Invasion Chronicles—Book One): A Science Fiction Thriller

Arrival (The Invasion Chronicles—Book Two): A Science Fiction Thriller

Everybody Cooks Rice (Picture Books)
by Norah Dooley (Author), Peter J. Thornton (Illustrator)

One Grain Of Rice: A Mathematical Folktale
by Demi (Author)

Rice, Noodle, Fish: Deep Travels Through Japan's Food Culture
by Matt Goulding (Author)

Every Grain of Rice: Simple Chinese Home Cooking
by Fuchsia Dunlop (Author)

Ramses the Damned: The Passion of Cleopatra
by Anne Rice (Author), Christopher Rice (Author)

Interview with the Vampire
by Anne Rice (Author)

Best Science Podcasts 2018

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2018. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Dying Well
Is there a way to talk about death candidly, without fear ... and even with humor? How can we best prepare for it with those we love? This hour, TED speakers explore the beauty of life ... and death. Guests include lawyer Jason Rosenthal, humorist Emily Levine, banker and travel blogger Michelle Knox, mortician Caitlin Doughty, and entrepreneur Lux Narayan.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#491 Frankenstein LIVES
Two hundred years ago, Mary Shelley gave us a legendary monster, shaping science fiction for good. Thanks to her, the name of Frankenstein is now famous world-wide. But who was the real monster here? The creation? Or the scientist that put him together? Tune in to a live show from Dragon Con 2018 in Atlanta, as we breakdown the science of Frankenstein, complete with grave robbing and rivers of maggots. Featuring Tina Saey, Lucas Hernandez, Travor Valle, and Nancy Miorelli. Moderated by our own Bethany Brookshire. Related links: Scientists successfully transplant lab-grown lungs into pigs, by Maria Temming on Science...