Source: Wayne Bailey, University of Missouri

Many soybean fields in Missouri have elevated numbers of corn earworm moths and larvae. Corn earworm larvae are major pests of soybean in many southern and eastern states and traditionally have been a pest of soybean in counties bordering Arkansas, although in the past few years this pest has been found in higher numbers throughout the state of Missouri. Corn earworm larvae may feed on host plant foliage, but most often feed directly on the fruit of its cultivated hosts such as the tips of corn ears, grain sorghum seed heads, cotton squares and bolls, and soybean pods, seeds and occasionally flowers.

Although corn earworms overwinter as pupae in the soil in Missouri, additional moths migrate into Missouri each spring from more southern states. Moths are variable in color but tend to be tan with a yellow to light green tint. Moths are relatively large with approximately 1/2-inch wing spans. They may lay eggs throughout fields at sites where crop canopy has not yet closed. 

More information