The Q&A Archives: Corn Pests

Question: I have several sweetcorn plants growing in my garden. I recently investigated my plants and discovered worms or worm-like parasites at the root of the stalk. How do I rid my plants of these? These parasites are preventing the corn from growing. Also, my stringbeans are being eaten by ladybugs. What can I do?

Answer: There's a pest called Corn Rootworm, which is the larvae of the Diabrotica longicornis beetle. The adults chew on corn and eat the pollen. The larvae (white worms with brown heads) burrow into the roots and do considerable damage. The best control for these pests is to rotate your crop to another garden spot next year. Believe it or not, ladybugs are not eating your beans, but are probably feeding on the pests that are damaging your bean plants. Since the ladybugs are present, they are controlling the pest that's doing the damage. Don't use insecticides or you'll kill the beneficial ladybugs, and then you'll inherit their work. If we are patient enough, a natural balance of pests and good guys will take up residence in our gardens, which makes the environment healthy for us all!

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