The banded sunflower moth, Cochylis hospes Walsingham (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae), is an important economic pest of sunflower in the Upper Great Plains of North America. Economic losses due to reductions in seed number, weight, and quality can be significant. Previously, the potential for economic losses were estimated by sampling for adult moths. However, sampling for moths can be difficult and inaccurate. An alternative is to sample for banded sunflower moth eggs, which can be accurately counted in the field by using a binocular 3.5 headband magnifier. The egg counts are used to calculate the economic injury level (EIL): EIL = C/(V×W×P×K), where C is the cost of treatment per unit area, V is the crop market value per unit of weight, W is the slope of the regression between banded sunflower moth egg densities and weight loss per plant, P is a term for plant population per unit area, and K is the control treatment efficacy. Estimates of populations of banded sunflower moth eggs are taken from the center of 400-m spans along all field sides. From these samples and the calculated EIL, a map of the extent of the economically damaging banded sunflower moth population throughout the field is made using economic distance; ED = e(((EIL/E) – 1.458)/–0.262). Economic distance estimates the distance an economic population extends into the field interior along a transect from the sampling site. By using egg samples to calculate the EIL and mapping the distribution of economic populations throughout a field, producers can then make more effective pest management decisions.
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