Seed-based pest management tools, such as transgenes and seed treatments, are emerging as viable alternatives to conventional insecticide applications in numerous crops, and often occur as coupled technologies. Seed-based technologies have been readily adopted in maize, for which ecological studies are needed to examine effects to farmland biodiversity. We compared the response of nontarget coleopteran communities in Cry1Ab/c sweet corn and Cry3Bb field corn to conventional pyrethroid applications and a control. Of particular interest was the Cry3Bb field corn, which was coupled with a neonicotinoid seed treatment and was not rotated across years. A functionally diverse subset of the coleopteran community, consisting of three families (Carabidae, Chrysomelidae, and Nitidulidae) and 9,525 specimens, was identified to species. We compared coleopteran diversity and dynamics using rarefaction and ordination techniques. There were no differences in species richness among treatments; however, higher activity densities were more common in the control. In the nonrotated field corn, principal response curves showed a consistent pattern of treatment communities deviating from the control communities over time, whereas crop rotation in the sweet corn negated treatment effects. Treatment effects could not be detected when beetles were grouped based on functional roles. Results indicate that neonicotinoid seed-based treatments may have effects on some nontarget coleopterans, but these effects are similar to conventional pyrethroid applications.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Insect Science