Founded by Meteorologist/Climatologist Mike Sandstrom, insectforecast.com is a website growers can go to when seeking information on insect migration. Monitoring insect migration data and weather patterns across the Corn Belt since 2006, Sandstrom is an expert in his field. Corn earworm, corn rootworm, and western bean cutworm are known to be serious threats to the Corn Belt. The goal of this website is to alert farmers when their crops may be at low, moderate, or high risk due to the migration and/or development pattern of these insects. Weather is a critical factor when predicting the migration pattern of each of these insects.
Sandstrom explained this is a pro-active tool that growers can take advantage of as corn earworm and corn rootworm are becoming more resistant to some of the traits and chemicals farmers are using in their fields. This forecast gives farmers the heads-up on what insects are doing in their fields so they can look ahead at different ways to avoid these pests. The map on the right illustrates the level of risk in each area. Note this will change according to season and location.
In order to accurately predict where these insects will migrate, it is important to realize that increases in insect trap counts correlate with increased migration risks. Corn earworm usually originates from a southern source region, whereas western bean cutworm is known to develop based on heat unit accumulation, as they are known to survive winters in the Corn Belt. Summer weather patterns are predicted to advance northbound migration based on a number of factors:
- Climatology (crop stage and generational aspects)
- Strong nighttime low level jet stream
- High and low pressure cells creating an “insect pump” effect
- Precipitation or downward moving air serving as a “drop zone”
The Insect Forecast site forecasts daily migration of crop damaging insects up to five days in advance. This is just another way we help you maximize your yield potential.