Treating Stink Bugs in Small Corn

Angus Catchot, Extension Entomologist
By Angus Catchot, Extension Entomologist May 3, 2011 09:32

Treating Stink Bugs in Small Corn

Over the last 10 days I have had several calls about stink bugs in small corn.  There have been some fields treated, however, at this time it has not been widespread.  Stink bugs damage small corn by feeding through the whorl or side of the stem hitting the growing point which either causes “dead heart” or severely stunts the plant.  Severely stunted plants may not die but essentially become a weed.  In many cases, corn that has been fed on without hitting the growing point will recover.  Even if the growing point is not hit, in some situations where stink bugs feed through the stem you will see irregular growth.  One thing that has always bothered consultants is that fields can be scouted thoroughly and still you will find damaged plants.  This will always be the case since it is impossible to scout every plant in a field.  Often damage appears to be much higher than it actually is since you can walk small corn fields quickly and the damaged plants stand out.  Often times you will see several plants in a row with stink bug damage.  It is important to scout early because when symptomology shows up the stink bugs are usually long gone.  “After the fact” symptomology is fairly easy to diagnose because you see a row of elongated holes in the leaves as they unroll that often become stretched out and irregular around the margins turning yellow or white.  Stink bug damage can be anywhere in a field but often times is more concentrated around field borders.  Yield loss from stink bugs in seedling corn is essentially the same as you would expect with stand loss from any other factor.

The primary stink bug species we deal with in seedling corn is brown stink bugs but we occasionally see green stink bugs mixed in with them.  I have had several calls this year about high numbers of rice stink bugs in corn.  I would ignore rice stink bugs in your counts.  Rice stink bugs are small seed feeders which generally do not feed in corn.  There are unusually high numbers of rice stink bugs in wheat this year and as they move out of wheat it would not be unusual to find them in crops such as corn although they are not hurting the corn.  Rice stink bugs will often move out of corn fields as quickly as they move into them as they are searching out suitable host (small seeded grasses primarily).

When scouting corn for stink bugs you must search the whole plant.  Look in whorls, sides of stems, and at the base of the plants.  Brown stink bugs are difficult to see at the ground level because they blend in well with the soil surface.  The threshold for stink bugs in seedling corn is 10% infested plants on corn less than 24 inches tall.  Pyrethroids are generally used to treat stink bugs in seedling corn.  Although pyrethroids have only been marginally effective on brown stink bugs in other crops such as soybeans, in corn they generally do a much better job since coverage is very good on small corn.

Stink Bug Damage

Brown Stink Bug Base of Corn Plant


Stink Bug Damaged Seedling Corn Plant


Rice Stink Bug: Notice Thin Body with Spines Pointing Forward

Print Friendly

Angus Catchot, Extension Entomologist
By Angus Catchot, Extension Entomologist May 3, 2011 09:32
Write a comment

1 Comment

View comments

Write a comment

Your e-mail address will not be published.
Required fields are marked*

Subscribe to receive updates

  • 2015 Delta Area Rice Growers Meeting: November 5, 2015

    The 2015 Delta area/Bolivar Co. Rice Meeting will be held at the Bolivar Co. Extension office on November 5, 2015. Mississippi rice producers, industry professionals, and other interested parties are ...
  • 2015 Rice On-Farm Variety Trial Preliminary Data

    Find below the Preliminary version of the 2015 On-Farm Rice Variety Trial. During 2015, small plot rice variety trials were conducted near the following locations; Choctaw, Clarksdale, Hollandale, Ruleville, Shaw, ...
  • 2015 MSU Short List of Suggested Wheat Varieties

    This publication lists those wheat varieties which have demonstrated superior productivity in the Mississippi Wheat and Oat Variety Trials and summarizes their characteristics. This impartial information should help you better assess wheat varieties which are best suited for your farm. ...
  • 2015 Cotton Varieties Planted Report

    The United States Department of Agriculture – Agriculture Marketing Service released the 2015 Cotton Varieties Planted Report on September 15, 2015.  Mississippi cotton growers planted 29% of the total state ...
  • Are Late-Season Soybean Rust Observations Important?

    Late-season soybean rust observations occur on almost an annual basis. Even though the majority of the soybean crop has escaped yield loss as a result of soybean rust again for the 2015 season, determining the extent of the disease in MS as well as potential locations where the fungus could overwinter continue to be an important part of the ...
  • Burning Stalks – What does it Really Cost?

    After harvest, you immediately face management decisions as you begin preparing fields for next year's crop. Corn produces far more residue than most crops we are accustomed to, so it can cause considerable benefits or anxiety depending upon how you view it. This article addresses the pro's and con's of crop residue and associated management options, including burning. ...

More Info By