The corn earworm can put plants at risk for disease. Learn to identify and manage them.
Figure 1. Adult moths are green, brown, or pink with stripes about 1.5 inches.
- The corn earworm is also called cotton bollworm, tomato fruitworm, and sorghum head worm.
- Hosts are corn, cotton, peanuts, tomato, ornamental plants, and others.
- Their appearance is green, brown, or pink with stripes about 1.5 inches when fully grown (figure 1).
- Adult moths are cream colored with irregular wing markings and are often found in daytime resting under foliage.
The Life of a Corn Earworm
- The life cycle is about 30 days.
- Multiple generations a year appear in the south.
- Corn earworms migrate during the summer and are active at night.
- Adult moths lay eggs on plants.
- Hatched caterpillars (larvae) cause damage.
- Growth is in 5 to 8 stages (instars) over about 2 weeks before they move into the soil.
- Corn earworms feed on floral material.
- They create wounds in the buds.
- This pest puts plants at risk for disease.
- Fusarium bud rot is a major issue.
- Corn earworms can produce a toxin dangerous to humans and animals.
- Avoid harvesting infected plants.
Source : aces.edu
- Monitor for adults using pheromone traps.*
- Use traps only for monitoring, not control.
- Scout plants often for larvae.
- Hand removal of larvae is effective.
- Alabama has insecticides approved for use in hemp.
- Insecticide efficacy data on corn earworm is minimal; contact your local Extension office for information.