Adult Rice Water Weeviljpg

Adult Rice Water Weevil.


“Whitehead” caused by feeding of a stem borer inside the stem of a rice plant.


Rice stink bugs mating.


A group of first instar rice stink bug nymphs – just emerged from an egg mass.

Insects are important constraints on rice yields in Louisiana. By feeding on rice plants, insect pests divert resources from these plants and interfere with important physiological processes in rice. The most important early-season pest of rice in Louisiana is the rice water weevil. This insect damages rice by feeding on rice roots. Yield losses due to this pest regularly exceed 10% in Louisiana. The most important late-season pest of rice is the rice stink bug. This insect occurs in virtually every field in Louisiana each year. This insect reduces grain quality and yield by sucking the sap from developing rice grains. In addition, stem-boring moths have become increasingly important in Louisiana, especially with the recent invasion of the Mexican rice borer. A number of other insects occur sporadically in Louisiana rice fields, and these pests can be very damaging when they are present. The most important of these minor pests are the South American rice miner, the fall armyworm, and the colaspis beetle. Rice fields, because they are flooded for a good part of the growing season, are also important habitats for immature mosquitoes.

The goal of the rice entomology program is to develop cost-effective strategies for managing insect pests in Louisiana rice. Because rice production occurs in sensitive aquatic systems (including crawfish ponds), special attention is given to developing strategies that reduce inputs of insecticides and are therefore more environmentally friendly. The current activities of the Rice Entomology program can be divided into five areas:

  1. Testing alternative insecticides for insect control.
  2. Developing strategies to minimize the impact of insect pest control on crawfish production.
  3. Investigating the impact of various agronomic practices, such as seeding rate, planting date and fertilization, on management of rice insect pests.
  4. Understanding the causal basis of rice plant resistance and tolerance to insects to facilitate the breeding of rice plants that are inherently more resistant to rice pests.
  5. Characterizing the effects of rice pest control on populations of mosquitoes in rice fields.

The project is headed by Drs. Blake Wilson and Michael Stout.

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The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture