Listed below are just a few helpful hints that may provide some additional assistance when troubleshooting pest control problems.

IPM Newsletter

Insects rob Tennessee corn producers of about five percent of their potential yields on an annual basis. However, severe pest infestations can cause complete crop loss. While pesticides play an important role in crop protection, they should be used only when there is the potential for damage severe enough to cause economic loss. There are several cultural practices that can be used to reduce insect problems and minimize pesticide use.

Scouting: Scouting fields for insect infestations and monitoring pest populations with pheromone traps can provide an estimate of insect pressure in a field, and thus, help to guide any treatment decisions.

Early Planting: Planting field corn early, during the recommended planting window, will reduce the chances of crop damage from several insect species. For example, corn borers and fall armyworm are frequent pests of lateplanted corn in Tennessee.

Weed Control: Certain insects carry (or transmit) virus diseases in corn. By controlling weeds such as Johnsongrass early in the season, the chances of leafhoppers and aphids transmitting viruses to corn are reduced. When planting corn in fields known to be heavily infested with Johnsongrass, choose a hybrid with good tolerance to the Maize Dwarf Mosaic Virus (MDMV) complex.

Tillage: No-tillage production systems can add to insect pest problems in many cases. Cutworms, wireworms, white grubs, seedcorn maggots and lesser cornstalk borers may build up in grass sod or where previous crop residue has been left on the soil surface at planting. Burndown with herbicides well in advance of planting (3-4 weeks) can reduce the risks of infestation. Look for white grubs, wireworms and any other insects that may be exposed during land preparation.

Seed and At-Planting Insecticide Treatments: Seed corn now routinely comes treated with insecticide. These insecticides will control or suppress a number of seed and seedling insect pests (see below). Insecticide seed treatments, specifically Poncho and Cruiser, have largely replaced the use of in-furrow or banded insecticides that were often applied at planting. However, many atplanting insecticides can still be used for the control of seed and seedling pests. Consider using at-planting insecticides when:

  • You have a known soil-insect problem.
  • You are planting in a field that was previously sod or small grains.

For more informtion concerning corn varieties, see the listing of suppliers below:

Garst Seed Company

Golden Harvest Seeds / Syngenta

LG Seeds



rschman Seeds

Northrop King / Syngenta Seeds

Other IPM Programs within Tennessee

Cotton IPM


Grain Sorghum

School IPM

Urban IPM / Fire Ants

For more information concerning Integrated Pest Management Programs, contact:

Dr. Scott Stewart
West Tennessee Research and Education Center
605 Airways Blvd.
Jackson, TN 38301
Phone = (731) 425-4709
email =