Thursday, June 24, 2021

Watch for stink bugs moving into Alabama corn

brown and green stink bug
Photo courtesy Alabama Cooperative Extension

Wheat is drying down in much of the state and harvest has begun. This is the time that stink bugs will be moving from wheat into corn. While stink bugs are rarely a pest in wheat, corn fields adjacent to mature and harvested wheat are at risk.

Immediately prior to tassle, corn is extremely susceptible to damage from stink bug feeding.

We should think about scouting our corn fields, especially fields that are adjacent to wheat or other weeds. Some of our corn, primarily in the southern part of the state, is already at tassle. In some instances, a spray application at tassle may be too late to prevent damage from stink bugs. This means that pairing an insecticide application with a fungicide application at tassle might be too late to avoid yield loss from stink bugs.

The two most important factors for stink bug control are timing and coverage. It is less important what you spray, but rather getting the timing right before damage is done.

Coverage is also crucial, as we are using contact insecticides that need to get where the bugs are.

Stink bugs can be found hiding near the stalk at the base of the leaves, so we need to penetrate the canopy with the correct volume and pressure for maximum effectiveness.

Pyrethroids should control stink bugs when coverage is adequate. See the ACES Corn IPM Guide for specific recommendations.

Alabama Cooperative Extension contributed this article.

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