Canegrubs, larvae of a complex of endemic melolonthine scarabs, are the key pests in Australian sugarcane. In the early 1990s, following the withdrawal of organochlorines, the Australian sugarcane industry faced a crisis with increasing canegrub damage. A comprehensive integrated pest management strategy was developed on the basis of research on a wide range of topics such as basic taxonomy, species identification, ecology and biology of the different species within the sugarcane system, development of new insecticides and new formulations of insecticides, potential development of genetically modified pest-resistant canes, and methods for predicting risk of infestations. The value of the research depended on a wide-ranging extension program that saw broadscale adoption of the new strategies. However, the cropping system is not static, and recent changes have the potential to alter plant architecture and phenology and therefore could affect canegrub biology, canegrub feeding, the impact of natural controls on canegrubs, and the accessibility to soil for sampling and insecticide application. Growers also demand cheaper, easier-to-use options.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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