Brown Stink Bugs Showing Up In Small Corn

Angus Catchot, Extension Entomologist
By Angus Catchot, Extension Entomologist April 30, 2013 07:42 Updated

Although corn planting has been a bag this year, there are many areas where corn is up and susceptible to stink bug damage.  I am not aware of any field being treated yet but have had several calls from consultants letting me know they are finding them at low levels. Below is a repost of a 2011 article on stink bugs in seedling corn.

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.  It is also common to find 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. It is not uncommon to find rice stink bugs in corn.  I would ignore rice stink bugs in your counts.  Rice stink bugs are small seed feeders which do not feed in 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). Last year we found extremely high numbers of rice stink bugs and corn and ignored them with no damage.

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.  If you are in no-till or reduced-till be sure and look in the stubble around the base of the plant.  Over the last several years we have learned that brown stink bugs will often be beside the plant in stubble and not necessarly on the plant which make them very difficult to see 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 much better 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, PDF & Email
Angus Catchot, Extension Entomologist
By Angus Catchot, Extension Entomologist April 30, 2013 07:42 Updated
Write a comment

1 Comment

  1. Andrew Strube May 4, 01:30

    I was reading your article in regards to brown stink bugs and I have some information that may be very useful to you. Please take a moment and stop by our website to see our agricultural stink bug traps. Our traps have been tested in severely infested corn fields and have proven to significantly reduce targeted stink bug populations.


    Reply to this comment
View comments

Write a comment