Early corn earworm activity in Virginia this year

As most of you know, corn earworm is a devastating pest of many crops in Virginia.

This native moth pest can successfully overwinter as pupa in Virginia when winters are relatively mild. Virginia crops will also get the usual dispersal of moths coming up from the southern states after mid-July that will lay eggs on many crops that flower in late summer.

Last week Mr. Bill Tiver from Halifax County reported 10 moths per night in his corn earworm trap placed on his farm and larvae already infesting some of his earliest sweet corn. In addition, VCE agent Helene Doughty, in Cape Charles, VA on the Eastern Shore recorded high numbers in the corn earworm moth trap placed there. This is definitely some early warnings of a potentially bad corn earworm year. We most definitely had higher than usual insect overwintering success in Virginia this year.