Stay Ahead of the Curve on Stink Bugs in Corn

— Written By and last updated by

There are many factors that can diminish the potential  yields of a corn crop with weather being the most common factor most years. Over 20 years ago, when I came to Pasquotank County,  the next leading robber of corn yield was bill bugs and wireworms. With the advent of the neonicotinoid seed treatments, these two insects of corn were brought under control. But now we have an insect that is probably more difficult to control in some respects and that is brown stink bugs in corn. Why are they such as problem? They are as follows:

  • At least 2 generations a year
  • A wide wide range of hosts and habitats
  • Some of the crops they impact are ones we grow (corn, soybean, and cotton).

Although everyone should be mindful of this pest in our part of the world, where can they be a problem:

  • Corn fields planted in no-till fields with heavy cover. Watch for feeding in open-furrows (places where seed furrow was not completely sealed).
  • Wheat-corn interfaces. Stink bugs aren’t a pest of wheat, but will feed on wheat up to the time of harvest. Wheat harvest can push stink bugs into nearby corn, but this isn’t a guarantee.
  • Corn fields planted behind soybean. Stink bugs build up in soybean during the late summer and early fall after other crops are harvested. Check field edges near woods, where stink bugs may have overwintered after building up in last year’s soybean.
  • Corn fields that are adjacent to fields where stink bugs are disturbed such as fields that have a burndown herbicide applied to kill weeds in preparation for soybean/cotton planting or the application of herbicides to kill weeds in pastures.

For additional information about scouting techniques, thresholds, and recommended insecticides, you can use the following link to go to “Brown Stink Bug Management In Corn” by Dr. Dominic Reisig:

https://corn.ces.ncsu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Stink-Bug-Management-in-Corn.pdf?fwd=no

I know that this may seem like a topic that is somewhat premature, but I want to go ahead and get this information out to you so that you can have it on your “radar” and be ahead of the curve in anticipating and managing for this important pest of corn, brown stink bugs.

stink bug

Brown stink bug perched on grassy weeds in a ditch next to a corn field. Picture courtesy of Austin Brown, Extension Agent, Camden County.