garden pests - Knowledgebase Question

Apopka, Fl
Question by jhuska8957
April 23, 2010
We planted corn and something is eating the leaves. I saw something that looked like a small caterpillar burrowing down inside the stalk. What do we do?


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Answer from NGA
April 23, 2010

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Without seeing the pest I can't positively identify it, but it sounds like a European corn borer. It is a pale, dingy caterpillar up to 1 inch long which bores into corn stalks. You can usually control them by monitoring your corn and handpicking any you find. There are natural predators of these pests, as well. Minute pirate bugs and lady beetle adults or larvae can feed on the eggs and on the smalleer worms; Trichogramma wasps can become parasites on the corn borer eggs and prevent them from hatching. Sometimes just allowing the beneficials discover the worms is all the action you need to take. Least toxic chemical controls include Dipel Dust (Bt-kurstaki) or spinosad. Be sure to use according to label directions. Good luck with your corn.

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