Early signs of ear feeding

westernbeanyellowcutworm07An agronomist for Stewart Seeds is seeing early signs of ear feeding in Northwest Ohio. 

Justin Petrosino says there are two caterpillars that will feed on ears this time of year, the corn ear worm and the western bean cutworm. 

“Feeding wise, corn earworms tend to be solitary in an ear, so you usually find feeding from one insect,” Petrosino said. “Western bean cutworm, you can have quite a few, so if you see a lot of feeding throughout the whole ear it might be the western bean cutworm.” 

While there is trait protection for both insects, Petrosino says being able to identify which insect is feeding is important in determining whether or not the grower has the protection they need. 

“If you look at the prothorax, the plate behind the head, the western bean cutworm has two black triangles there and you’re not going to find that on the earworm and the earworm will typically have some black spots on it,” said Petrosino. 

The Stewart Seeds agronomist says that as growers scout fields they may see more feeding in the coming weeks.

Audio: Justin Petrosino, agronomist, Steward Seeds


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