2016 Corn Earworm Update

In comparison to the past two to three growing seasons, much of the central United States corn crop is advancing in growth at a quicker rate due to overall warm and humid conditions along with periodic beneficial rains. As a result, crops are entering into critical growth stages earlier in the summer where insects, such as corn earworm, can cause damage and subsequently reduce yields. Larger-scale corn earworm flights have occurred primarily in late August in the past two growing seasons (2014 and 2015), but we could begin to see some of these flights in the next several weeks this growing season, as host crops are already advancing past critical growth stages in source regions in the mid-south and southern states. As crops in the southern source regions become less attractive to corn earworm, moths will look to find new food sources further to the north across the corn-growing region. Growers should begin or continue preparations for earlier corn earworm moth flights in the weeks ahead by monitoring traps and scouting as conditions warrant, as the 2016 corn crop progresses through the critical silking/pollination growth stages.