Indiana Corn: Distinguishing the Worms in Your Ears

Corn Earworm. Photo: University of Illinois

Several caterpillars in the ear can be very similar in appearance and habits, so identification to species of some of the worms in ears can be tricky.

Note that, in general, you cannot use overall body color or damage for identification. Some identification tips, though not foolproof, appear below for the corn earworm, western bean cutworm, fall armyworm and European corn borer.

We suggest you inspect cornfields soon before the larvae leave the ear and pupate.

Don't use coloration or size alone for ID. Can you tell which is fall armyworm, corn earworm, or western bean cutworm in this picture?

Don’t use coloration or size alone for ID. Can you tell which is fall armyworm, corn earworm, or western bean cutworm in this picture? Click Image to Enlarge

Corn earworm.

Corn earworm. Click Image to Enlarge

Western bean cutworm.

Western bean cutworm. Click Image to Enlarge

Fall armyworm.

Fall armyworm. Click Image to Enlarge

European corn borer.

European corn borer. Click Image to Enlarge


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