By RYAN MARTIN, Associated PressBRIAN K. ROWELL/Associated PressAssociated PressMADISON, Wis.
(AP) — A Wisconsin study says red flour beetles are growing on cornfields that feed millions of Americans and they’re posing a health risk to humans and livestock.
The study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U,S.
Environmental Protection Agency was released Friday in a briefing with state officials on the state’s corn crop and the corn beetle’s spread.
Researchers say the beetles have been identified in a number of locations in the southeastern United States, including the small town of West Madison, where about 8,000 people live.
Researchers found that in 2015, the first year the researchers tracked the insects, there were about 10,000 red flour beetle larval eggs on more than 6,000 acres of cornfields.
In 2016, there was a total of 3,600 eggs.
Researchers said the eggs hatch within a month and they usually feed on corn, soybeans and wheat.
They said the larvae can be a problem if they’re too small to reach and ingest.
They’re also likely to attack livestock.
Researchers hope to develop a pesticide to kill the larvae.