Thursday, June 28, 2012

Preventing Corn Ear Worms

We've all peeled that beautiful ear of fresh sweet corn only to find the end all nasty with these little rascals that have beat you to the good stuff. Although there are many different color variations this is the corn ear worm. The good news is that preventing this is rather simple and organic. 

It all starts with a nocturnal little moth such as the one above depositing eggs at the tip of your ear in the green corn silk. The eggs hatch and then make their way down the silk feeding on the corn as they go.  So how do you stop this. 

It's really rather simple. The answer is oil. I use vegetable oil (cooking oil)  or mineral oil. I mixed about a cup of mineral oil with a 1/4 tsp BT ( actually  Thuricide) in a small plastic pump bottle.  
I find that the thinner mineral oil works better in the pump sprayer. I have even done this with just mineral or vegetable oil and an eye dropper without the BT.

Then right at the end of the browning silks I spray just a drop. 

It's important to do this at this stage when the silk is just starting to brown. If you do it sooner it can prevent your corn from pollinating properly and it won't fill out all the way to the end. Too late and it may not work as well. Do not get the oil on the leaves as it could cause them to burn in the sun. 

I have found that doing this sure cuts down on those nasty little worms at the end of those roasting ears. 

Blessings from The Holler

The Canned Quilter


  1. My first year growing corn. Thanks for the tip.

  2. I can definitely use this tip. We have new corn coming up. I appreciate your sharing this!

  3. Thank you, CQ! I have bookmarked this. :o)

  4. Thanks so much for this tip! We usually have little whitish-yellow worms...will this work on those too?

    1. I think that it works on any of that sort of worm that feeds on corn.

  5. Thank you for the tip, every ear had them last year so going to use this for my garden this year,


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