Entries » Illinois Corn Earworm Monitoring 2013

Counties with corn earworm moth traps (click on a highlighted county to see trap captures)

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NameIllinois Corn Earworm Monitoring 2013

The corn earworm, also known as the tomato fruitworm and the cotton bollworm, feeds on a number of crops including corn, sweet corn, tomato, cotton, green beans, clover, vetch, lettuce, peppers, soybeans, and sorghum. Generally, corn earworms do not overwinter in Illinois north of Interstate 70. Despite some local overwintering, summer populations of this insect in Illinois arise primarily from the immigration of moths from southern states in late spring and early summer. These moths arrive on weather fronts and lay their eggs in susceptible crops.

Injury caused by the corn earworm ranges from destruction of the host crop to cosmetic damage that may cause a crop to be unmarketable. Although the corn earworm is a severe pest of field corn in southern states, in Illinois its economic importancein corn is limited to sweet corn and seed corn. The corn earworm feeds not only on the whorl, tassel, and silks, but on the kernels of the ear itself. Severe feeding on the leaves gives the plant a ragged appearance. Feeding on kernels at the tip of the ear creates an avenue of entry for diseases, especially molds in seed corn. Similar damage in sweet corn results in an un-salable product.

Corn Earworm Factsheet