Over the past few weeks, Ohio State University researchers have been receiving calls, emails and texts about finding large caterpillars feeding on corn ears. In most cases, these are turning out to be Western bean cutworms. Although our numbers have been about the same as previous years, we may have seen slightly more survival.
This may be due to the drier and milder July, as well as delayed and patchy corn maturity which provided a lot oviposition sources. To be clear, none of this damage appears to be economic, but yet it would be important to note for future years if you have found these larvae in your field. While it is too late to control for WBC (once they enter the ear, they are protected against insecticide), knowing where larvae have been found would be good information as we continue to monitor this emerging corn pest in Ohio.