UACES Facebook Corn

Corn

July / Aug 2016

Question

I have done a great job of keeping worms out of my corn using mineral oil, but now the squirrels are eating my corn. Help!

 

Answer

If only there was a solution for squirrels that was as effective as for corn earworms!  Fencing, scare devices—a big dog, are all options, but squirrels are tenacious.  Some gardeners trap the squirrels with hav-a-heart traps, but you would need a lot of traps in my neighborhood.  Others have tried feeding the squirrels in an area away from the garden, but then you end up inviting more squirrels to your yard, and they may look at your corn as just extra food.   Try a variety of approaches, and good luck!


 

July 2012

QuestionThanks for the information on how to keep the worms from sweet corn; now please advise me how to keep the squirrels away.

 

AnswerIf only there was a solution for squirrels that was as effective as for corn earworms! Fencing, scare devices—a big dog, are all options, but squirrels are tenacious. Some gardeners trap the squirrels with hav-a-heart traps, but you would need a lot of traps in my neighborhood. Others have tried feeding the squirrels in an area away from the garden, but then you end up inviting more squirrels to your yard, and they may look at your corn as just extra food. Try a variety of approaches, and good luck!


May 2012

QuestionWe plant corn in our garden every year, but the worms get it before we do. How can we keep the worms out of the ears of the corn? They just ruin all of our corn every year.

 

AnswerCorn earworms are destructive to an ear of corn. When you see the silks beginning to form, that is when you need to take action. You can sprinkle a little Sevin dust on the silks every few days, or what I think is easier (and safer for our bees), is to put a drop or two of mineral oil right on the silk once a week until the silks turn brown. The oil acts as a physical barrier and keeps the worms out. Don’t get heavy handed and pour a bunch of oil in, or it can affect kernel set. Typically there is only one earworm per ear of corn, since these caterpillars are cannibalistic, and eat each other as well as the corn. Occasionally you will have two—one on each side—they just don’t know the other one is there!