The Q&A Archives: Corn Earworms

Question: Most of my corn is infested with corn earworms. At this point I assume the only thing to do is cut off the damaged part and eat the rest. Next year I will try using mineral oil. I have also been told that Sevin is good. When I use the oil will it hinder pollination? Do you have any other suggestions?

Answer: Sevin is registered for use against corn earworm, but Sevin is highly toxic to bees so it's not something that we often recommend. A drop of mineral oil placed in the tip of each ear should stop the earworm from crawling down into the ears of corn. The timing is critical - too soon and you'll hamper pollination; too late and the earworm will have already entered the corn. Wait until the silks turn from green to brown (which indicates the ears have been pollinated) and then place a drop of oil into the top of each ear.

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