Methyl anthranilate (MA), a compound in maize roots that is repellent to western corn rootworm larvae (Diabrotica virgifera virgifera LeConte) was tested in behavioral bioassays in a soil environment. MA prevented larvae from locating roots of a maize seedling, and the repellency strengthened with increasing rates of MA. In a simple push–pull strategy between an MA-treated seedling and an untreated seedling, granules containing 0.1 mg/g MA pushed larvae to the untreated seedling. This push effect increased with dose, with 90% repellency observed for the highest dose tested (100 mg/g). Chemical analysis showed that MA concentrations remained high for 4 wk in dry, sterilized or unsterilized soil, but declined rapidly in moist soil. After 7 d, 50% less MA was recovered in moist, sterilized soil than in dry soil, and only a trace of MA remained in unsterilized moist soil, suggesting that both moisture and microbial activity contributed to the loss of MA. Various (MA) carrier granules were tested in bioassays after aging in moist soil. After 1 d, all of the MA granules were repellent at the 10 mg/g rate and clay granules were also effective at 1 mg/g. After 1 wk, only molecular sieve granules elicited repellency, but that activity disappeared after 2 wk. These results demonstrate that MA is repellent to western corn rootworm larvae in the soil environment and may have potential as a rootworm treatment if formulations can be developed that protect the material from decomposition in the soil.
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Vol. 112 • No. 2