Soybean Looper (Chrysodeixis includens)
Soybean looper is a caterpillar pest of a variety of crops, but primarily of soybean, on which it is considered a major pest. It is found throughout the Americas, where soybean is cultivated. In Brazil in particular, it has become an increasing problem for farmers. It has developed resistance to some insecticides, making it difficult to control, meaning that farmers have been forced to increase the number of insecticide sprays on their soybean crops to reduce its numbers. In much of South America, biotech soybean has emerged over recent years as an additional new protection measure against soybean looper.
Oxitec’s 2nd Generation self-limiting insects offer a new approach to managing pest insects of important agricultural crops globally. The simple, single self-limiting gene introduced to the Oxitec insect allows for production of male-only cohorts of insects, which – after release into the field – find and mate with wild females. The self-limiting gene is passed to their offspring, preventing female offspring from surviving to reproduce. With sustained releases of self-limiting male insects on a given field, the number of wild females will therefore decline, causing the number of resident pests of that species to reduce. In addition, releasing 2nd Generation self-limiting insects can potentially protect the efficacy of other, existing crop protection tools by counteracting resistance.
Unlike other approaches, Oxitec’s safe, non-toxic self-limiting approach is highly targeted, meaning non-target insects – like bees and natural predators – are left unaffected. The self-limiting gene also disappears within a few generations, once releases stop, making Oxitec’s solution highly effective without having an impact on the environment.
Development of this self-limiting soybean looper product is at an early stage, but in the future is anticipated to be an important solution to protect crops against this pest, and also for sustainable integrated pest management in agriculture.
Read more about how our solution works here.
What kind of crop does it damage?
It is a major pest of soybean, but also damage other crops such as cotton, corn and beans.
How does it damage them?
The caterpillars feed on the foliage of crops.
Where is it found?
North, Central and South America.
How does it impact food production?
Soybean looper has developed resistance to a number of insecticides, making it difficult for farmers to control. In parts of Brazil, farmers have doubled the number of insecticidal sprays applied to control the pest, increasing their costs but also potentially impacting non-target organisms such as pollinators and predators, which would otherwise help crop production.