Subscribe and stay up-to-date with the latest news and great offers from DEKALB, Asgrow and Deltapine.
Don't miss out on the latest agronomic news.
Local agronomic alerts.Delivered straight to your inbox.
The Brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) and the One-spotted stink bug are the most common stink bugs that attack corn. These insects are shield-shaped with piercing-sucking mouthparts, and are about 1/2-inch long. Their body color ranges from light to very dark brown on the upper side, and light yellow to green on the underside. The BMSB have dark red eyes and their legs are brown with faint white banding. Broad light and dark bands on the last two antennal segments distinguish BMSB from other stink bugs (Figure 1). Stink bugs lay yellow-red elliptical shaped eggs on the undersides of leaves, in masses of 20 to 30 eggs. There are 5 immature stages (nymphal instars), ranging in size from 2.4 mm to 12 mm long. Stink bugs feed on a wide variety of plants, and may cause yield loss in corn as a result of early season feeding.
Damage occurs as stink bugs insert their piercing-sucking mouthparts into plant tissue and suck the plant juices. An enzyme is injected by the stink bug into the plant which aids in digestion. Stink bug feeding damage may result in dead seedlings, stunted corn plants, or tillering. In some cases, a progression of these symptoms may be observed in a row, giving a stair-step appearance (dead seedlings, stunted plants, tillering).1 Tillering is the most dramatic symptom of stink bug damage, and appears about 10 days after feeding has occured. When this happens, multiple shoots grow from the base of the plant, and may become as large as the original corn plant. These plants may develop small and irregular shaped ears in place of the tassel.1
Early corn planting may help reduce potential damage from stink bugs. Regular field scouting before planting or crop emergence is recommended. If stink bugs are observed prior to planting, adding an insecticide to a burndown herbicide application may be advisable. Corn that is spiking is most vulnerable to stink bug damage; therefore, fields should also be scouted during the two weeks following corn emergence. Feeding typically occurs at the base of corn plants, about one inch above the soil surface.1,2 If control is necessary, contact your local Extension agent or seed representative for more information.