What's eating the silks?

drscottr(7)July 23, 2011

Something is eating the silk on my corn. Seems to mow it off at the end of the ear? I have seen a few cucumber beetle, stink bugs, and japanese beetles. But not great numbers of any of the insects. I have been controlling them on the corn through simple squirting.

I do have deer in the area but they've only left tracks one night when I forgot to close the gate.

Any ideas?



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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

Corn rootworm beetles are notorious about swarming in from the fields [I presume[ and eating the silks off...ruining often the pollination unless you immediately kill them. Also striped cucumber beetles which look and act like the former will do that and JB can also eat the silks.

If you are not totally organic, spray some liquid Sevin on the silks and adjacent leaf area. Don't spray the tassels because of honey bees and other friendly insects. Later if you wish, you can clip the silk area off with scissors and shuck the layer when you harvest the ears to leave behind any residue.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2011 at 9:50AM
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I had Virginian Tiger Moth caterpillars eat my silks this year. They were white and really fuzzy, and loved chomping on the silks.

Look at the leaves around and under where the silks were eaten, can you see any little black clumps? Usually if it was an insect that sat there and ate they leave some evidence behind :)

    Bookmark   July 24, 2011 at 9:52AM
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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

If the silks are totally clipped off, you only have about 2 days to remedy things...if at all. When ears are only partially pollinated and about half the grains are there, the remaining grains will be large, round, and starchy and you cannot remove the silks well....terrible situation.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2011 at 10:01AM
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I regret to inform you that we too had the same problem with our first crop of corn. We have concluded it was deer, one night we checekd the corn before dark and the next morning the silks were gone all the way down to the ear and no sign of anything around. Except one or two of the stalks had been pushed over.

And a nice big opening in our 20 ft. high Holly Tree and the branches in the tree at the bottom were laid down like something had been staying in there. The tree is located about 3-5 feet from where the corn was.

We've planted a second batch of corn and put up chicken wire around that as well. We also put up 3 rows of 30 lb. fishing wire abouve the chicken wire around the entire garden hoping that this will keep the deer away.

So far it has been fine.Well let me rephrase that, it has been animal free except maybe a bird now and then plucked at them when they were really small.

Good Luck!

    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 10:02PM
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