Stink Bugs in Field Corn
Extension Agent - Sustainable Ag
Issue/Alert Affecting Crop: Samples of field corn in Leon County shows some sort of kernel "decay" or discoloration. Is this an indication of a more severe problem that will render the corn useless? All the samples pulled have it.
Photo Credits: Les Harrison
What does the specialist say about this: The attached photo shows symptoms of stinkbug feeding on corn grain while it is still in the milk stage. As the stinkbug pierce through the kernels, disease organisms are introduced into a favorable environment for development. Most stinkbug damage on corn grain occurs during the first 3-4 weeks of ear fill when the shucks are tender and the grain is soft. In many cases stinkbugs are moving from small grain or other winter crops which are drying down. If stinkbug stings occur in high numbers when the ear first starts developing, shuck development may be impaired and if the cob is stung, it quits developing on the side with the stings, but the ear’s back side continues to develop resulting in a banana shaped ear with one side missing kernels. These banana shaped ears often grow out of the shuck resulting in more damage to the kernels as they are exposed to other insects and weather. David L. Wright, Professor of Agronomy, North Florida Research and Education Center