Insect Pest of Seedling Corn

John Van Duyn, North Carolina State University, Entomology Extension Specialist

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Newly planted corn seeds, sprouting seeds, and seedlings can be attacked by insect pest within the soil, at the soil surface, or on aerial parts. There are numerous insects that will feed upon corn seeds and/or seedlings. Most of these potential pests do not commonly occur at damaging populations in corn fields. However, in some situations pests like wireworms, seed corn maggot, cutworm, billbugs, and stinkbugs occur in corn fields with enough regularity to warrant attention by growers. On well drained soils, conventional tillage corn grown in rotated fields will likely have a very low probability of damaging insect populations. These seedling pests do occur with greater frequency on poorly drained soil situation and on organic soils. Fields planted to corn following established grass (e.g. pasture or set -side field) will also have a mucher higher incidence of seedling insect pests. No-tillage corn, especially if planted into dense residue, also has a much increased incidence of seed and seedling feeding insect pests. Also, if corn is grown without rotation certain seedling pests, notably billbugs, may build-up to high populations.

In the following sections of this document the different seedling insect pests are discussed. Also, suggestions for managing seedling insects are provided. Review the index and click on subjects of interest.

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This page ( was created by John W. Van Duyn Ph D. Extension Entomologist, Wayne Modlin, Res. Tech. III.

Date Created 1/30/01.
Last revised on 1/30/04.

Published by North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service

Distributed in furtherance of the Acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914. Employment and program opportunities are offered to all people regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. North Carolina State University at Raleigh, North Carolina A&T State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local governments cooperating.

CAUTION: The information and recommendations in these Notes were developed for North Carolina conditions and may not apply elsewhere.