Impact of transgenic Bacillus thuringiensis corn and crop phenology on five nontarget arthropods

Clinton D. Pilcher, Marlin E. Rice, John J. Obrycki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Large-scale field studies were conducted to determine if temporal plantings of Bacillus thuringiensis (Berliner) (Bt) corn (event 176 and Bt11) would affect the seasonal abundance of the following generalist predators: Coleomegilla maculata DeGeer and Cycloneda munda (Say) (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae), Orius insidiosus (Say) (Heteroptera: Anthocoridae), Chrysoperla carnea Stephens (Neuroptera: Chrysopidae), and one specialist parasitoid, Macrocentrus cingulum Brischke (Hymenoptera: Braconidae). Adult populations were monitored using Pherocon AM yellow sticky traps at three locations in Iowa (1996-1998). At each location, a split-plot design was used with Bt and non-Bt corn as main plots and three planting dates as the split plots. Few differences in abundance were observed between Bt and non-Bt corn for the generalist predators studied. However, M. cingulum, a specialist parasitoid of European corn borer, was significantly affected by the presence of Bt corn. Densities of adult M. cingulum were 29-60% lower in Bt corn compared with non-Bt corn. Regression analyses indicated M. cingulum adults were preferentially recruited to and subsequently increased over time in the non-Bt corn treatments at each location within each year. Significant differences were observed among planting dates for all five species. Abundance effects from Bt corn on these natural enemies were not unexpected given the foraging and searching behaviors of different species and their varying levels of dependence on the presence of European corn borer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1302-1316
Number of pages15
JournalEnvironmental Entomology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2005


  • Cry1Ab
  • Generalists
  • Nontarget effects
  • Specialists
  • Transgenic crops

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Insect Science


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