Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Mexican rice borer, Eoreuma loftini (Dyar) (Lepidoptera: Crambidae): range expansion, biology, ecology, control tactics, and new resistance factors in United States sugarcane.

Abstract

Following the establishment of the Mexican rice borer, Eoreuma loftini (Dyar), in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas during the early 1980s, this invasive stalk-boring pest expanded its range to include sugarcane- and rice-growing areas of east Texas and Louisiana by 2008, and in 2012 it was documented in non-crop host plants in Florida. From the 1980s until the mid-2000s, attempts to control E. loftini in sugarcane using chemicals and biological control agents failed and both tactics were discontinued; hence, E. loftini infestation of sugarcane was largely unimpeded. During the last decade, research has focused on the pest's ecology, improved insecticides and scouting methods, sugarcane resistance mechanisms, and cultural tactics. Integrated pest management should involve a range of tactics, including currently registered insecticides that are not being widely used against E. loftini and a scouting method that indicates when larvae are most vulnerable (before they tunnel into the plant) to insecticide sprays. Cultural practices that are in use and the likely utility of other approaches such as plowing under fallow stubble, early planting, judicious use of fertilizer, adequate irrigation, avoiding proximity to E. loftini-susceptible maize cultivars, and enhancement of natural enemy populations (particularly the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren), are discussed. Proven and potential mechanisms of sugarcane cultivar resistance involve physiochemical attributes, physical characteristics, and transgenic cultivars. Although some degree of resistance has been achieved against E. loftini in several sugarcane cultivars, underlying mechanisms are poorly understood.