Corn cultivation

Use of nematodes in corn cultivation

Western corn rootworm (Diabrotica virgifera virgifera)

An adult rootworm (western corn rootworm)The western corn rootworm was introduced from North America in 1992 and since then has spread unstoppably in Europe. In the USA, it causes billions of dollars worth of damage annually. This is caused by the larvae eating away at the roots and the rootworms eating away at the corn silk. The consequences include reduced use of equipment during harvesting and reduced field corn yield.

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Unequal corn germ development

Seeds are chemically treated using neonicotinoids to combat the western corn rootworm. This kills many beneficial insects such as the honey bee and various rare species of wild bee. Furthermore, several beneficial insects such as parasitic wasps can no longer be used as they are also affected.

Bees are dying out, so treatment using neonicotinoids is banned in Europe; other insecticides are permitted only in 3-year cycles owing to their soil toxicity. Insecticides are sprayed during detassling (by hand), which endangers the field workers. Chalicid wasps (Trichogramma) recovered against the second generation of triploid corn worms very often are killed by spraying insecticides against the adult Diabrotica (same period of application necessary). Quarantine regulations set out measures on how to tackle European corn worm larvae and beetles.


Lifecycle Western Corn Rootworm


Gooseneck syndrom

dianem® – nematodes against Diabrotica

Heterorhabditis bacteriophora, an insect-pathogenic nematode (roundworm) is the species used in dianem®. The nematodes are spread when corn is sown and parasitise the western corn worm larvae. As Heterorhabditis bacteriophora is a natural beneficial insect harmless to people and animals, dianem® does not require approval. Countless studies have proven that the optimum spread is 2 billion nematodes in 200 litres of water.


Spread the nematode solution using special injector shares developed by cult-tec. If no plant protection technology is available or the tractor only has a power take-off shaft, a turnkey 12V electric pump solution can be purchased.