Know Your Worms in the Ear

Several caterpillars in the ear can be very similar in appearance and habits, so identification to species of some of the worms in ears can be tricky. Note that, in general, you cannot use overall body color or damage for identification. Some identification tips, though not foolproof, appear below for the corn earworm, western bean cutworm, fall armyworm and European corn borer. We suggest you inspect cornfields soon before the larvae leave the ear and pupate.

Don’t use coloration or size alone for ID. Can you tell which is fall armyworm, corn earworm, or western bean cutworm in this picture?

3 Corn earworm.

Western bean cutworm

 

Fall armyworm

European corn borer

This article was previously published in the Purdue Extension Pest & Crop Newsletter.

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