How to Manage Pests

Pests in Gardens and Landscapes

Seasonal development and life cycle—Corn earworm

Early plants are not as seriously damaged by earworms as are those planted for a later harvest. Female moths are attracted to plants in flowering and fruiting stages. They place eggs in a specific position. When available, corn silks are one of the earworm's preferred egg-laying sites; fresh silks are favored over older ones. On tomatoes, eggs are laid on terminal leaflets; in lettuce, a preferred site is the crowns of young seedlings. Eggs are spherical and are laid singly. Newly laid eggs are white, but they develop a reddish brown ring after about 24 hours. Larvae feed on fruit and leaves and drop to the soil to pupate. There are three or four generations per year.

egg
Egg
Young larva
Young larva
Mature larva
Mature larva
Pupa
Pupa
Adult
Adult

Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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