Seed and Seedcare resources

Insect resistance management

In Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) requires implementation of an insect resistance management (IRM) plan for Bt technologies. These programs are mandatory, and have been developed in conjunction with industry and academic representatives, as well as other key stakeholders.

The best way for growers to preserve the benefits and insect protection of Bt technology is to incorporate Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies on their farm. These strategies play a key role in managing pest resistance. Successful management of resistance in turn benefits the grower through higher quality production. IPM strategies include planting refuge, crop and trait rotation, scouting, and use of chemical insecticides.

Syngenta is committed to following and supporting the refuge requirements set by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Therefore, all growers must sign a Syngenta Stewardship Agreement before ordering any Agrisure insect protected corn for the 2019 sales season, and continue to support the best management practices to reduce the potential risk of developing resistance to Bt traits.


  • Lead to insect resistance 
  • Slow down the introduction of new corn technologies that provide additional insect protection
  • Affect individual grower access to Agrisure traited products


Proper observation of your fields, as well as other IPM strategies, will aid in increasing the longevity of insect traits in the field. In order to first determine potential pest impact, growers should consider pest populations in the area, crop damage from insect feeding seen in the previous year, and the rotation of the crop to consider pest overwintering habits.

Scout refuge plantings to determine the level of insect pressure in your field. Then scout the Agrisure hybrids to note their effectiveness and look for signs of damage that may indicate resistance to either the Bt trait or the CRW trait. If concerns arise, please contact your local Syngenta Agronomic Sales Representative immediately for further field investigation.


Even in traited fields, small amounts of insect feeding damage may occur; however, any damage above threshold is considered to be unexpected damage (UXD). If you observe UXD in your field(s), it is imperative that you report this damage to your local Syngenta Agronomic Sales Representative for follow up, as it is mandatory that these cases be reported to the CFIA appropriately. Syngenta will facilitate investigation as to whether the damage is related to insect resistance, and provide you with information on strategies for minimizing pest damage going forward.

Threshold levels of pest damage vary both by pest and by single vs. stacked trait usage. For more information, visit:


It is important to plant a refuge for your corn in order that the potential for target pests, such as European corn borer (ECB) and corn rootworm (CRW), to develop resistance to target proteins is slowed. This is done by providing pests an area for feeding in corn that does not contain the Bt trait (Bacillus thuringiensis), thereby maintaining a population of susceptible insects to mate with those that have developed resistance.

On farm mixing of any seed is not an approved method of incorporation of refuge into traited seed. Syngenta is pleased to provide hybrids with E-Z Refuge® for built-in compliance. For more information on the refuge requirements for your corn seed, please see below.

NK Brand products that fall into this refuge include:

Minimum Refuge Requirement

Location and Row Spacing


 Agrisure 3000GT
 Agrisure Viptera 3111

 Agrisure Viptera 3110

 Agrisure Artesian




Adjacent to, or within Bt field

(4 row minimum)

  • Serves as an appropriate refuge for all pests targeted by these traits, including CRW, CRW and ECB, or the Multi-Pest Complex™*
  • Appropriate size to ensure enough susceptible Bt corn refuge mates are available

 Agrisure Viptera 3220 E-Z Refuge

 Agrisure 3122 E-Z Refuge
Agrisure 3120 E-Z Refuge


E-Z Refuge


5% appropriate refuge material blended into the bag

  • Serves as an appropriate refuge for dual Bt traits to control ECB and/or the Multi-Pest Complex*
  • Appropriate amount to ensure enough susceptible Bt corn refuge mates are available
  • Additional convenience to ensure refuge is planted in all fields

*Multi-Pest Complex includes black cutworm, western bean cutworm, fall armyworm, corn earworm and common stalk borer.

For corn hybrids that are not available with E-Z Refuge, the Canadian Corn Pest Coalition, in collaboration with the Ontario Corn Committee, the Canadian Seed Trade Association and industry, have developed a web-based calculator to help growers develop a plan to meet the minimum refuge requirements for each Bt corn hybrid on their farm.

There are various designs for refuge planting. They are:

  • Block within the Bt field
  • Perimeter around the Bt field
  • Separate block within a ¼ mile of the field (ECB only)
  • Strips within the Bt field
  • Block adjacent to the Bt field
Remember when calculating a refuge, the calculation must be based on total corn acres.

NOTE: A neighbour’s field that does not contain Bt traits does not meet the refuge requirements.


In some cases, additional control measures for insect pests may be required. Foliar insecticide may be an option if target pest populations reach an economic threshold. Always follow proper labelled guidelines for pesticide applications.

Additionally, growers may decide to use seed-applied insecticides, which represent one of the most advanced forms of crop protection technology available, offering growers a targeted, environmentally sustainable means of pest management. Applied directly to the seed only where needed, seed-applied insecticides require less active ingredient per acre compared to foliar and soil-applied pesticides, and minimize off-target drift, reducing the impact on non-target organisms. Always read and follow label directions.

Syngenta is committed to protecting pollinators and continues work to develop and implement additional solutions to address dust generated when planting treated corn and soybean seeds and to further efforts on other bee health issues. Best management practices for the handling of seed treated with an insecticide are an important tool to help maximize the benefits of seed treatments and protect bees and other non-target insects at the same time. For more information, please visit

Be sure to see the corn rootworm and western bean cutworm pest page for additional best management practices.


Before opening a bag of seed, be sure to read and understand the stewardship requirements applicable to the seed, including refuge requirements. IN addition to the information provided on this page, stewardship requirements may be found in the Syngenta Stewardship Agreement that you sign and/or on the bags/tags accompanying the seed. By opening and using a bag of seed, you are reaffirming your obligation to comply with those stewardship requirements.

To view recommended planting layouts, maps and configurations, please visit the CANADIAN CORN PEST COALITION at or contact us for a Grower’s Handbook: 1-800-756-7333.
There are several resources available to assist with insect resistance management in Canadian fields: