Ada Mae Hintz

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




The Corn rootworms are beetles of the family Chrysomelidae, genus Diabrotica whose larvae feed on the roots of corn. Large populations of the western corn rootworm, Diabrotica virgifera Leconte, recently developed in Nebraska and surrounding states, thus increasing the economic importance of these insects. Widespread soil insecticide treatments for both species were adopted after 1951 and have become widely accepted. Considering their economic importance, little is recorded about the biology of rootworms. Perhaps this is because they are soil insects. This study was undertaken to provide some of the basic information necessary to research on better methods of control. Members of the two species frequently have been seen in mating position in the field. In South Dakota eggs are laid in corn fields from mid-August until killing frost. These eggs overwinter and are assumed to hatch the following May or June. The beetles feed on the corn plant above ground, particularly the silks and pollen. When the silks are eaten back to the tip of the ear before pollination is compete only part of the kernels on the ear develop. While both the adults and larvae are damaging to corn, the larval state is considered the most injurious. With the part of this background information that was available in 1962, studies were initiated to determine if interspecific hybridization could occur. The results are reported here in two sections. The first part was an exploratory investigation into the methods of handling the insects while the second dealt with the hybridization experiment.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Grain -- Diseases and pests


Includes bibliographical references



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University