By Clint Thompson
Corn growers across the Southeast need to already be on the lookout for stink bugs, says Auburn University Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist Katelyn Kesheimer.
“I would caution growers to get their plans in place and start scouting early. We’ve already started seeing southern green stink bugs and stink bug nymphs down in southern Alabama. Adults are starting to come out of overwintering in the rest of the state. I started picking up brown marmorated stink bugs already in my traps,” Kesheimer said.
The stink bugs are out and about at a time when corn is especially vulnerable. If they are present in corn fields across the Southeast, they could already be sucking the juices out of the corn chute. When the ear emerges, it is already badly damaged.
“They’re probably going to be in wheat right now. Wheat is a great host. I would imagine in the next month or so, you’re going to see them moving into young corn,” Kesheimer said. “That’s when really you need to protect it because if you don’t start early, they’re going to really damage that ear before it even comes out.”
Kesheimer cautions producers that stink bugs are mostly found on the outer part of fields.
“They’re an edge pest. They’re going to start on the edge and not move through your entire field. Always start scouting on your edges. In a lot of cases, they don’t go more than 15 meters in, unless you have a real bad infestation. I would caution anyone who has wheat nearby, the second you harvest wheat, they’re going to start moving into corn. You might want to plan on spraying a few days later after you harvest your wheat,” Kesheimer said.