Conditions Right for Seedcorn Maggot

Seedcorn maggot (left) and pupae. Photo by Brian Lang, Iowa State University.

With late planting occurring in many areas, growers are seeing seedcorn maggot feeding. They prefer decaying organic matter, but also feed on seeds and seedlings of soybeans and field corn. Damage may range from a few meandering tunnels in the seeds to the entire contents of the seed destroyed.
If seedcorn maggots are suspected, carefully dig up the seeds in the row skips and examine them for evidence of seedcorn maggot damage. After damage is observed on the crops, rescue treatments are not usually effective. If the damage is severe, replanting may be necessary. Soil-applied insecticide or planter box seed treatment may protect the seed from seedcorn maggot feeding. Fields with decaying organic matter near the soil surface are at risk of infestation by seedcorn maggots.

Photo: Seedcorn maggot (left) and pupae. Photo by Brian Lang, Iowa State University.