Project Overview

Traps with lures have great potential as a monitoring tool due to their ability to attract target insects without harming other insects that may be providing beneficial services. Generalist traps like sticky cards often result in large amounts of insect bycatch such as bees, flower flies, and predators like lady beetles. Further, current data suggests seedcorn maggot abundance on sticky traps does not accurately reflect the damage seeds experience in the soil.

Entomologists at Cornell are working to develop a novel lure for the seedcorn maggot that will allow for more effective monitoring to inform management decisions. Designing a lure starts with small scale choice experiments, testing what scents are most attractive to the seedcorn maggot. These scents include liquid dairy manure, decomposing cover crops, corn and bean seeds, as well as a commercial lure for seedcorn maggot currently available for purchase.

Based on the results of these experiments, researchers can begin to scale up to test seedcorn maggot attraction to lures in a full greenhouse setting, before finally testing out the lures in the field. These experiments have already demonstrated that the lure currently available for sale is the least attractive to seedcorn maggots out of all lures tested, highlighting the need for an updated lure.

Understanding what scents are the most attractive to the seedcorn maggot will help us not only to develop lures for traps, but also to determine what factors are likely to predict seedcorn maggot presence on a farm. This work fits within the other projects by directly testing how on-farm practices like fertilization method and cover cropping may affect seedcorn maggot attraction to individual fields.

Findings are preliminary and are not intended to replace current management plans or control methods. Additional research is being conducted to help inform long term recommendations and guidance.