Virginia crop insects cotton corn soybeans peanuts 2013

Corn earworm numbers low in Virginia crops

• Unless things change pretty drastically over the next few weeks, we may not see many Virginia soybean, cotton, peanut or sorghum fields infested with earworms this year.

The earworm situation in Virginia corn is shaping up to be late and fairly light.

At least that’s what we seem to be seeing so far.

Our annual field corn/corn earworm survey is completed with 27 counties reported.

Percent infested ear averages are very low compared to most years. The overall average across all counties is at an all-time low of less than 18 percent ears infested.

Even the southeastern counties, which traditionally have had the highest infestation level, are at just over 23 percent ears infested, when averages are normally in the 40-60 percent range.

The moth movement from corn is also slow in developing. We have yet to see more than just a few moths in our local black light traps and we are not seeing moths flying from fields as we walk them, or at night.

We can speculate about the reasons for this unusually low level, but the bottom line is that unless things change pretty drastically over the next few weeks, we may not see many soybean, cotton, peanut or sorghum fields infested this year.

Kudzu bug activity in soybeans is increasing. From our statewide surveillance program, we are now up to 37 counties with infestations in soybean fields.

The good news is that most of these infestations are at low or very low levels, well below the economic threshold, but there are exceptions.

Heavy infestations are now reported for several of the counties close to the North Carolina border. The heaviest infestations are in early planted fields that are flowering or beginning to form pods.

We are now seeing second generation adults in many fields. We are not sure what this will mean in terms of the late planted fields. Time will tell.

In an earlier advisory we attached a table generated by entomologists at Clemson and UGA that listed the percent control provided by a long list of insecticides.

(The chart can be found at and scrolling down to Kudzu bug update on June 27).

We STRONGLY recommend that if a field treatment is needed, growers should use products that are listed at the top of that table, or in other words, those that provide the best control.

We have learned that not following this guide can lead to having to retreat.


Want access to the very latest in agriculture news each day? Subscribe to Southeast Farm Press Daily. It’s free!


Stink bug pressure in cotton is turning out to be less severe than what we had predicted earlier, although we are seeing a number of fields at threshold.

Cotton will remain vulnerable to stink bugs for a few more weeks, at least through the 6th week of bloom. If a treatment is needed this week (or has already been applied), we recommend re-sampling for new damage at about 7 days post-treatment, using our cotton stink bug threshold card.

Additional treatments may be needed, especially if the traditional bollworm treatment is not needed, because of the very light CEW pressure discussed above.

That traditional bollworm treatment (if it included a pyrethroid) has been providing stink bug control as an added bonus. So a field that does not have to be treated for bollworm (use the 3 percent worm/fresh worm damaged boll threshold) may have to be treated again for stink bugs.

So scout fields for fresh stink bug damage weekly for the next few weeks and abide by the recommended percent damaged boll thresholds.

          More from Southeast Farm Press

Soybean market anticipates adequate supply until harvest begins

Don't overthink plant bug control

Florida agriculture has remained strong since recession

Legislation would prevent EPA from releasing livestock producer information


Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.