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Monsanto Loses to a Tiny Foe: Corn Rootworm

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Monsanto was quick to respond to the studies and to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) concern over “mounting evidence” their corn was no longer living up to its promise. Bloomberg Businessweek reported:

The studies of rootworms in Illinois and Iowa don’t confirm resistance in the field, Kelly J. Clauss, a spokeswoman for St. Louis-based Monsanto, said in an e-mail. More data is needed to prove resistance and the company is working with the EPA to investigate and respond to fields where rootworms cause “greater-than-expected damage,” Clauss said.

While Monsanto works with the EPA to figure out the extent of the problem and how to deal with it, the company has reason for concern. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, U.S. farmers planted the company’s Bt-corn on nearly 40 percent (37 million acres) of their cornfields. That is a major contribution to the company’s profits.

The biotech industry will respond the way it always does, by developing more chemical fixes to address the problem. Pete Riley of GM Freeze pointed out in November 2011 why that is the wrong direction to take:

Strategies to prevent pests becoming resistant are either not being correctly implemented, are failing, or are suffering from a combination of both. The result is more pesticide use rather than less. Throwing more GM at the problem may work in the short term, but the history of artificial pest control in agriculture has repeatedly shown the pests will win over the longer term.

The sooner we switch to agroecological farming techniques, such as avoidance of monocultures, long rotations and the use of natural predators to control pests, the better.


Related Care2 Stories

Genetically Modified Corn and Soy Breed superweeds

Genetic Engineers Blast GM Crops

Monsanto Corn at Farm Markets?


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Photos of adult and larval stages of corn rootworm via Wikimedia Commons

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6:06AM PDT on Sep 25, 2013

Thank you Cathryn, for Sharing this!

2:55PM PDT on Sep 22, 2012

Good. Monsanto is an evil company.

12:20AM PDT on Sep 12, 2012

Elizabeth M. you could not have said it any better!!!

10:10PM PDT on Sep 11, 2012


11:02AM PDT on Sep 11, 2012

It figures - they have developed super weeds - now super bugs.
When will man (& Big Corps.) realize that nature looks after itself?

8:12AM PDT on Sep 11, 2012

Absolutely, excuses for using GMO fall on its own. Dangerous for human is one thing, the other thing is how insect`s can adopt and make things far more dangerous......

5:19AM PDT on Sep 11, 2012

Same problem as super-germs developing resistance to antibiotics because we overuse antibiotics. Overuse almost anything and it fails you. Back to hygiene and isolation and better nutrition to raise the ability of the domestic plant or animal or human to withstand the hazards of the pest species.

1:41AM PDT on Sep 11, 2012


11:30AM PDT on Sep 10, 2012

Could it really be that bad?

10:16AM PDT on Sep 10, 2012

It's NICE to see nature fighting back against Monsanto. I wonder if monsanto will take legal action against the corn rootworm?

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