Content Authors: Porter, Patrick; Bynum, Ed; Parker, Roy D.; Bowling, Robert; Biles, Stephen P.
Corn earworm moths begin laying eggs on leaves and silks soon after tassel emergence. They begin laying eggs on emerging silks before pollination. After hatching, the larvae tunnel into the silk channel to feed. Because the damaged silks have usually completed pollination, a loss of pollination is generally not a problem. Later instar larvae feed on the kernels at the tip of the ear. Ear damage is usually minor, although an occasional field may have excessive damage. Corn earworm control is difficult because the eggs are laid throughout the silking period and after pollination (brown silk stage). Because the untreated silks are exposed daily as they lengthen, insecticides must be applied often. Control efforts are usually costly and inconsistent. Currently, control strategies are not suggested in commercial field corn.