Oct 02, 2023
African Corn Leafhoppers Found in Brazil, First in the Americas
Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.
Corn farmers in Brazil have been battling to control corn leafhoppers (Dalbulus maidias) for several years and now they have a new pest to worry about - African corn leafhoppers (Leptodelphax maculigera).
The first incidence of African corn leafhoppers found in the Americas was identified by researchers from the Federal University of Goias in the state of Goias in November of 2022. The second was in the municipality of Cruz Alta in central Rio Grande do Sul. The third was in the municipality of Londrina in northern Parana.
Controlling leafhoppers in Brazil has been a learning experience for both scientists and farmers. The scientists have concluded that the best way to control the pest is to utilize the following:
- Crop rotations - the practice of rotating crops helps to break the life cycle of not only leafhoppers, but also other pests as well.
- Tolerant hybrids - corn hybrids differ in their tolerance to the insect. Choosing a more tolerant hybrid reduced the need for chemical control.
- Reducing the planting window - reducing the planting window limits the period during which the insect can infect neighboring fields.
- Eliminate volunteer corn - volunteer corn can serve as a host plant allowing the insect to survive from one growing season to the nest.
- Seed treatment - treating corn seed with insecticide can protect the young corn plants when they are more susceptible to infestations.
- Application of chemical and biological controls - application of chemical and biological controls starting at V2 can be an efficient way to control the pest. The chemicals quickly kill the pest and the biological agents offer longer lasting control reducing the number of subsequent applications.
- Balanced plant nutrition - a balance of macro and micronutrients improves the health and vigor of the plant offering more effective defenses against the pest.
Below are pictures of African leafhoppers and regular leafhoppers. Photo is courtesy of Geraldo Gouveia from the Centro Tecnologico Agrogalaxy (CTA).
African leafhopper left, regular leafhopper right. African leafhopper top, regular bottom.