Late Season Onslaught of Corn Earworm (Dr. Ames Herbert)

It may be happening for the first time that I can recall a late season infestation of corn earworms in soybeans. The last couple of nights we have trapped more corn earworm moths (about 1800 and 1500, respectively) in our pheromone traps than we have ever captured. These are alarmingly high numbers and I am getting reports that folks are seeing a lot of moth activity in and around fields of cotton, soybean and peanut. I got the first report today that some growers in southern Southampton County are having to retreat some soybean fields. I have been telling folks that as best I can remember, I have never seen a new infestation of earworms develop in September. Well, as one of my earlier mentors said to me one day. Dont make predictions about insects. Theyll make a liar out of you every time. Seems he was right. So, what crops are at risk? The cotton and peanut crops are safe as we are close to defoliation time with cotton and digging time with peanuts. Only late planted soybean fields that still have susceptible pods (earlier than R7 growth stage) are at risk. The good news is that our corn earworm pyrethroid vial test results have been showing a gradual decrease in the percent of moths surviving (see the attached graph) to levels below 10%, which means that pyrethroid insecticides should provide good control, relatively inexpensively. If I was someones mentor, I would want to go down in history as saying, Never let your guard down. Never stop checking fields for insect pests until the crop is mature

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