Corn earworms (CEW) are cannibalistic and normally only one will be found per ear. The pest is best identified by bright, variable color and a cuticle with an “unshaven” look. It will frequently be near the ear tip but may feed down the ear creating a track of damaged kernels. DuPont Pioneer experts warn the kernel injury creates an ideal environment for ear fungi to invade, leading to a quality problem at harvest. (Photo: DuPont Pioneer)

Trapping and scouting

  • Light traps or pheromone traps can help determine when adults are flying. Scouting can be done in the field by looking for eggs on the green silks and turning back the silks at the tip of the ear to look for larvae.

Insecticide use

  • Because the larva is exposed outside the ear for only a short time, economical timing of insecticides is difficult. Stop insecticide application after silks turn brown.

Best management practices

  • Plant resistant hybrids and alter planting dates to avoid high densities of corn earworms.