The effect of genetically modified corn (event MON810, YieldGard Corn Borer) expressing the Bacillus thuringiensis sp. kurstaki (Berliner) (Bt) endotoxin, Cry1Ab, on the survival of western bean cutworm, Striacosta albicosta (Smith), larvae was examined during intraguild competition studies with either European corn borer, Ostrinia nubilalis (Hübner), or corn earworm, Helicoverpa zea (Boddie), larvae. Competition scenarios were constructed by using either a laboratory or field competition arena containing one of five different diets and one of 13 different larval size-by-species scenarios. The survival of western bean cutworms competing with corn earworms in the laboratory arenas on either a meridic diet or isoline corn silk diet was significantly lower (P < or = 0.01) than the controls in 13 out of 14 competition scenarios and larval survival was frequently zero. In contrast, the survival of western bean cutworm competing with corn earworm on a Cry1Ab-MON810 corn silk diet was significant higher (P < or = 0.01) than the controls in four out of six competition scenarios. The results observed in the three way competitions involving the addition of European corn borers generally did not alter the outcomes observed in the western bean cutworm and corn earworm only two-way competitions. These data suggest that Cry1Ab-MON810 corn may confer a competitive advantage to western bean cutworm larvae during intraguild competition, particularly from corn earworms, and that western bean cutworms become equal competitors only when they are of equal or larger size and the diet is Cry1Ab-MON810 corn.