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The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry reported that Mexican rice borer (MRB) male moths have now been collected in pheromone traps in Jeff Davis Parish. These traps were positioned near Iowa, Thornwell, and just south of Welsh. The list of parishes infested with MRB now includes Beauregard, Cameron, Calcasieu and Jeff Davis. So far larvae were confirmed only in Calcasieu parish west of Lake Charles. If you grow or scout cane or rice in any of these infested parishes I strongly urge you to spend time this winter studying the biology and management of the MRB. If you find a larvae or moth that resembles the MRB in rice, cane or other grasses, please get it to your local County Agent for confirmation of identification.

We have created a variety of resources to help in your training about the MRB.

LSU AgCenter scientists prepared a website: Early Management Considerations for Mexican Rice Borer in Louisiana Rice: Click here to read the article. Within the website you will find links to the MRB identification card and field notes and blog postings about the MRB.

We conducted an entomology training at the LSU AgCenter rice research station in Crowley on Sept 13, 2011. The MRB was the primary topic discussed at the training. The powerpoint files are posted at www.lsuagcenter.comClick here to open the website.

The speakers were also video recorded. Here are the video links. Click on the link to open the file.

·         Part 1

·         Part 2

If you have trouble opening any of these links or you need more information on MRB, please contact me. The MRB will be a topic of discussion at the LSU AgCenter winter production meetings.

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As the MRB continues to spread across Louisiana, it is becoming more critical for those associated with the rice and cane industries of Louisiana to become familiar with identification, biology and management of this pest. Drs. Gene Reagan (LSU AgCenter) and Mo Way (Texas A&M Agrilife) are hosting their annual Sugarcane Field Research Site Visit in Beaumont, TX on September 27 and 28, 2011. Louisiana and Texas Sugarcane and Rice Consultants, Agricultural Extension Agents, and Industry Cooperators are invited and encouraged to attend.

Tuesday, 27 September – 6:15 pm                 Meet in lobby of Holiday Inn and Suites to go to dinner probably at Papadeaux’s (optional)

Wednesday, 28 September – 8:00 am         Meet in front of Texas  AgriLife Research and Extension Center:

Please do not take any live insects from this location! 

Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center  at Beaumont, 1509 Aggie Drive, Beaumont, TX 77713

DIRECTIONS TO RESEARCH SITE:     9.5 miles west of Beaumont on Hwy 90, ~ 1 mile north on Aggie Drive 

Dr. Ted Wilson (Center Director): Welcome and introduction

Dr. Gene Reagan: Overview of planned activities, handouts, and instructions to go to the field


  1. Dr. Bill White: Variety diversity in the test
  2. Dr. Gene Reagan, Dr. Julien Beuzelin, and Mr. Blake Wilson: Hands-on sampling for Mexican rice borer ( MRB) and sugarcane borer (SCB) injury in sugarcane varieties
  3. Mr. Blake Wilson: Use of MRB pheromone traps to help with scouting.
  4. Dr. Julien Beuzelin and Mr. Matt VanWeelden: Multi-crop bioenergy research.
  5. Dr. Mo Way: Observe MRB and SCB damage and discuss insecticides and cultural practices in rice
  1. Observe MRB and SCB larvae in replicated test of Louisiana sugarcane varieties (HoCP 08-726, Ho 08-711, L 08-092, HoCP 91-552, L 07-57,Ho 08-706, Ho 08-717, L 79-1002, Ho 02-113, HoCP 04-838, L 08-090, HoL 08-723, Ho 08-709, HoCP 00-950, Ho 07-613, L 08-088, L08-075, HoCP  85-845, Ho 05-961)

or visit demonstration of sugarcane stalk splitter machine (Gene Reagan).

Wednesday, 28 September – 11:00 am           Sun grant/Chevron/Beaumont energy cane and high biomass sorghum research near main building, Texas AgriLife Research and  Center at Beaumont, 1509 Aggie Dr., approx. 9 miles west of Beaumont on Hwy 90.

Wednesday, 28 September – Noon                 Adjourn and return home


Holiday Inn and Suites

3950 I-10 South

Beaumont, Tx 77705

409-842-7822 (hotel)

409-842-7810 (fax)

For hotel reservations call 409-842-5995

Any time prior to Tuesday, 20 September                   Reservation Code: LSU Entomology

You may reserve rooms with Samantha by email at: samantha.richards@jqh.com

$79.00 + tax reduced rate, Breakfast buffet (6:00 AM) included

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LSU AgCenter press release

Distributed 12/14/10

 The Mexican rice borer, a threat to sugarcane and rice, has moved eastward from Texas extending farther into Louisiana 

The insect was first found in Louisiana in December 2008 north of Vinton.

On Nov. 22, 2010, four male adults were found in a pheromone trap about six miles southwest of Sulphur, according to Gene Reagan, LSU AgCenter entomologist. Chris Carlton, director of the Louisiana State Arthropod Museum, confirmed that these trap catches were Mexican rice borers.

“This trap location is adjacent to a grassy area where no crops are grown, and it is within 15 to 18 miles of commercial sugarcane fields south of Lake Charles,” Reagan said.

Reagan’s graduate student, Julien Beuzelin, said the traps are set out by the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry. “Without their work, it would have not been possible to detect this insect’s movement,” Beuzelin said.

He said the LDAF had planned to end the monitoring program in early December, but after the Nov. 22 samples were found, the department has decided to continue the program into the spring.

Beuzelin said the discovery is a reliable indicator that the pest is continuing to move eastward in Louisiana.

“Since first being found in south Texas in 1980, they have consistently expanded their range along the Gulf Coast,” Beuzelin said.

In 2006, the Mexican rice borer was found in east Texas just one county away from Louisiana, and it was anticipated that it would be found in Louisiana in 2008. Only two weeks before the end of 2008, borers showed up in two pheromone traps five miles apart on the Louisiana-Texas line north of Vinton.

A 2007 study by LSU and Texas A&M projected an annual $45 million loss of revenue for Louisiana rice farmers once the entire state is infested.

The estimated damage for sugarcane is projected at up to $220 million in the next few years. Mexican rice borers are not obvious pests in rice until the crop is in the boot stage. But by the time it is found within rice plants, Reagan said, studies with Texas colleagues show that the population jumps rapidly. Reagan said that prompted the question to arise regarding the pest’s overwintering habitat.

Between growing seasons, the insect is found in high numbers in grasses such as Johnsongrass and vaseygrass.

Once the insect bores into sugarcane, insecticides don’t work well because the cavity created by the borer is filled with chewed plant material, frass, blocking a chemical’s entry, he said.

Insecticides work better on the pest in rice, Reagan said. However, three applications may be required in some east Texas areas. 

A new seed treatment, Dermacor, appears to help control the pest in rice. Originally, Dermacor was developed as a seed treatment for drill-seeded rice against the rice water weevil.

# # #

Contact: Gene Reagan at 225-578-1827 or treagan@agcenter.lsu.edu

Writer: Bruce Schultz at 337-788-8821 or bschultz@agcenter.lsu.edu

To learn more about Mexican Rice Borer you can visit: http://www.lsuagcenter.com/en/communications/publications/Publications+Catalog/Crops+and+Livestock/Insect+and+Disease+Control/rice/Mexican+Rice+Borer+Identification+Card.htm.

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