The Maize Earworm, Helicoverpa armigera, belonging to the Family Noctuidae of the Order Lepidoptera, is also known as Maize Cornworm pest. It is a polyphagous caterpillar that feeds on different crops maize, cotton, soybeans, sorghum, tomatoes, and other crops in the family of Solanaceae. The larvae of the maize earworm feed on the kernels within maize ears, which can cause significant crop damage and yield losses.
Also, the earworm larvae can survive for extended periods without food and thus often persist on the same crop for multiple years. To effectively manage this pest, it is important to understand its life cycle, its preferred habitats, and the best methods for controlling it. This article will provide an overview and discussion of the Maize Ear Worm Pest in Maize crops, including its symptoms, identification techniques, and control.
Maize/Corn Ear Worm Pest Management
Life Cycle of Maize Ear Worm Pest in Maize Crop
The life cycle of the maize earworm pest has four stages. They are egg, larva, pupa, and adult. The egg stage is the first stage of the maize earworm pest’s life cycle. During this stage, the female moth lays her eggs on the leaves of the maize plant. The eggs are small and white; the larvae will emerge when they hatch. The next stage is the larval stage. During this stage, the larvae feed on the plant’s kernels and leaves, causing damage to the crop.
The larvae can also be vectors for diseases such as corn earworm disease. After several weeks, the larvae will form a pupa inside the maize ear, from which the adult moth will eventually emerge. The adult stage of the maize earworm pest is the most damaging. The moth can fly and spread to other fields at this stage, causing further damage. The adult moth will lay its eggs on the leaves of the maize plant, and the cycle will start again.
Occurrence of Maize Ear Worm Pest in Maize Crop
- Location of maize ear worm pest: This pest is found to infest the maize crop in countries like the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Peru, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, Africa, India, China, Japan, and the Philippines.
- Host range: The maize earworm pest can infect different crops, including maize, cotton, tomato, sorghum, millets, sweet corn, and soyabean.
Factors Favoring the Population Increase of Maize Ear Worm Pest in Maize Crop
- Insecticides – Using insecticides, such as pyrethroid, can kill beneficial insects that help control the pest population.
- Field practices – Field Practices – Poor field practices, such as late planting, over-fertilizing, and plowing during the growing season, can also increase maize earworm pests.
- Insecticide resistance – Developing insecticide resistance in the pest can also increase its population.
- Availability of host plants – The presence of other host plants, such as sorghum, millet, and sweet corn, provides the maize earworm pest with a wider range of food sources, allowing its population to grow rapidly.