The fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda (J. E. Smith), and the southwestern corn borer, Diatraea grandiosella (Dyar), can cause economic damage to maize, Zea mays L., grown in the southeastern United States. Maize hybrids are commercially available that have been transformed to express insecticidal crystalline proteins from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) Berliner. The field efficacy of seven Bt hybrids were tested for control of leaf-feeding fall armyworm and southwestern corn borer. All Bt hybrids performed better than their conventional near-isolines for control of both insects. In general, the Bt hybrids provided intermediate resistance to the fall armyworm and near immunity to the southwestern corn borer. Based on larval establishment and weights, the fall armyworm was more tolerant of the insecticidal proteins expressed by the Bt hybrids than the southwestern corn borer. There was no difference in expression of insecticidal proteins among the Bt hybrids. Bt hybrids should be advantageous for the production of maize in areas that are affected by southwestern corn borer. The moderate level of resistance in the Bt hybrids to fall armyworm should be further examined to determine if amplifying the expression of insecticidal proteins or integrating other control methods along with the use of current Bt hybrid maize is needed to protect the crop from yield reduction by this pest.

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3This article reports the results of research only. Mention of a proprietary product does not constitute endorsement or a recommendation by the USDA for its use.