Lady beetles (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) are important polyphagous predators in maize, Zea mays L., fields. Transgenic Cry3Bb1 maize hybrids express a coleopteran-specific insecticidal protein derived from Bacillus thuringiensis (Berliner) subsp. kumamotoensis that is targeted at corn rootworm larvae. This study evaluated impacts of Cry3Bb1 protein-expressing maize, tefluthrin-treated maize, and untreated controls on lady beetle abundance at preanthesis, anthesis, and postanthesis maize-developmental periods near Brookings in eastern South Dakota during 2001 and 2002. The dominant lady beetle species captured on Pherocon AM sticky traps was Coleomegilla maculata De Geer. It comprised 73.5 and 69.9% of all adult Coccinellidae caught in 2001 and 2002, respectively. Numbers of C. maculata captured in Cry3Bb1 maize were not significantly different from those in untreated plots during preanthesis, and adults were more abundant in Cry3Bb1 maize than in tefluthrin-treated and untreated plots during anthesis and postanthesis. Whole-plant sampling confirmed C. maculata predominance with the species representing 89.2 and 91.4% of all adult lady beetles observed in 2001 and 2002, respectively. Whole-plant sampling also indicated a lack of negative effects from Cry3Bb1 maize on abundance of lady beetle eggs, larvae, pupae, or adults. Overall, these findings indicate that Cry3Bb1-expressing hybrids are not likely to impose harmful effects on C. maculata, a species common to maize production systems in the northern Great Plains. This research further suggests that Cry3Bb1 maize has the potential for conservation of these beneficial coccinellids in maize production systems.
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Vol. 98 • No. 6