Stink Bugs: What to Consider in Corn and Soybean in 2023

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Stink bugs made their grand appearance in corn in our part of the world as well as in other areas in 2015. Misshapen ears and greatly reduced yields in some fields were the case the fall of 2015. Since, then we have learned a lot about how to monitor and manage stink bugs in corn. Although stink bugs were not a major problem in either corn or soybean in 2022, in the last several years we are seeing more soybean fields with high numbers of stink bugs during the filling of pods and seeds maturing in late-August and September. This problem is being identified either by growers as they scout their fields in late August or to mid-September finding large numbers of stink bugs or they find out that a high percentage of their soybean’s are damaged as a result of stink bug feeding when they are delivered at the grain elevator. What should we do?

With corn:

  • Be observant of stink bug activity prior to and all through the growing season. This will help to keep stink bugs on your radar.
  • Watch all corn fields, but be especially mindful of corn fields that had soybeans next to or in the field the previous year. These fields are more likely to have a problem with stink bugs.
  • Although stink bugs can damage corn seedlings like bill bugs, the other critical time starts several weeks before the appearance of silks (young immature ear) and tassels to R2 (brown silks).
  • Just because you find stink bugs in a field and treat for them does not mean you should stop scouting your corn. As long as corn is at a vulnerable stage for stink bug feeding, the stink bugs can take a “bite” out of your wallet.
  • Learn more about stink bugs in corn

With soybean:

  • Planting an earlier maturing variety before mid-May will shift the timeline for growth and development earlier than previously experienced. The stages of development will come earlier in the growing season, and more quickly than with more traditional planting dates of later maturing varieties.
  • The growth stages when soybean is more vulnerable to stink bug feeding is during the reproductive stages, especially from beginning pod formation (growth stage R3) to seed beginning to mature (growth stage R7).
  • Stink bug feeding results in missing seeds, damaged seeds (reduced quality), and reduced yield. In some cases, it appears that plants may be delayed in their normal dry down and senescence toward the end of the plants’ life cycle.
  • Learn more about stinks bugs in soybean