2015 Corn Earworm Migration Risk

Corn earworm migration events and subsequent increased trap captures have been rather limited thus far in the 2015 growing season, evidenced by very low to no corn earworm moth captures to date across much of the corn-growing region. The summer weather pattern across the central part of the United States has been dominated by northwest to southeast flow which inhibits larger-scale northward corn earworm moth movement as any periods of southerly winds have been brief in most locations. Additionally, corn earworm moth captures in source regions on either side of the I-40 corridor in Arkansas, far southern Missouri, western Tennessee, and northwest Mississippi have been below to much below average this year. As a result, the available moth population for migration north into the corn-growing region has been limited as well. As we move into the latter half of August, a potentially more active southwesterly or southerly flow weather pattern into at least portions of the corn-growing region may allow more significant corn earworm flights especially as crops in southern source regions continue to become less appealing hosts for many corn earworm moths due to their advanced stages of growth. Even though moth populations in many areas of the mid-south are lower than usual for this time of year, counts are not zero and rather persistent to slightly increasing moth populations have been documented at most trapping locations in the last week or so. Growers should continue to closely monitor future corn earworm migration forecasts as we move into the second half of August for the latest information and where the greatest corn earworm migration risks are expected to occur.