How to Manage Seedcorn Maggot

FBN Network

Sep 12, 2023

Seedcorn maggot (Delia platura) is a common pest that can cause significant damage to corn crops.

By feeding on germinating seeds and young seedlings, its presence typically leads to stunted growth, reduced vigor, uneven stands, delayed crop emergence and lower yields. Weakened plants are also then more susceptible to disease and other stressors. 

This guide will outline:

  • How to identify seedcorn maggot

  • Regions typically affected by seedcorn maggot

  • When seedcorn maggot usually affect crops

  • Chemical products to control seedcorn maggot 

Art Cushman, USDA Systematics Entomology Laboratory,

How to Identify Seedcorn Maggot

Identifying seedcorn maggot can be challenging, but there are key indicators to look out for, including:  

  • Wilted or dead seedlings, especially in moist areas, may indicate seedcorn maggot feeding on the roots

  • Discolored or rotting seeds are also a clue, as seedcorn maggots feed on germinating seeds, causing them to decay

  • Small, white maggots can often be found in the soil near damaged plants

Howard F. Schwartz, Colorado State University,

Regions Typically Affected by Seedcorn Maggot

Seedcorn maggot tends to be more prevalent in areas with cooler climates and heavy, poorly drained soils. The Midwest, including states like Iowa, Illinois and Indiana, is particularly susceptible. 

When Does Seedcorn Maggot Affect Crops?

Typically appearing during the early season when soil temperatures fall within the range of 50°F to 86°F (10°C to 30°C), seedcorn maggots are particularly active in the first few weeks after planting. 

How to Manage Seedcorn Maggot Infestations

Implement good agricultural practices such as proper crop rotation, timely planting, and maintaining optimal soil moisture levels.

In cases where infestation levels are high, the use of insecticides can serve as a supplemental control measure. 

When deciding whether to employ chemical products to control maggots, farmers should first assess the severity of the infestation and determine the economic threshold for treatment.

One popular option is Willowood Lambda-Cy 1EC**, an insecticide containing lambda-cyhalothrin, which is labeled for use on corn specifically for seedcorn maggot control. 

Another option is GCS Bifenthrin 2EC**, which is another insecticide containing bifenthrin with similar label applications against seedcorn maggot.

Seedcorn Maggot Crop Protection from FBN Direct®

Proactively scouting for and responding to pest presence in your fields will help reduce potential crop damage and improve yield. FBN Direct has a wide variety of effective insecticides to help address pest pressures and keep your operation on track.

With transparent pricing, straightforward online ordering, detailed product labels and fast direct-to-farm delivery, FBN Direct can help you get the products you need to protect your crops. 

Related Resources:

© 2014 - 2023 Farmer's Business Network, Inc. All rights Reserved. The sprout logo, “Farmers Business Network”, “FBN”, “FBN Direct” are trademarks or registered trademarks of Farmer's Business Network, Inc. This content was written by Norm℠, reviewed and edited by Mikaela Tierney.

**RESTRICTED USE PESTICIDE Due to acute toxicity. For retail sale to and use by certified applicators only – NOT to be used by uncertified persons working under the supervision of a certified applicator.

FBN Direct products and services and other products distributed by FBN Direct are offered by FBN Inputs, LLC and are available only in states where FBN Inputs, LLC is licensed and where those products are registered for sale or use, if applicable. If applicable, please check with your local extension service to ensure registration status. Nothing contained on this page, including the prices listed should be construed as an offer for sale, or a sale of products. All products and prices are subject to change at any time and without notice and excludes CA mills tax and MN ACRRA fees. Terms and conditions apply.

ALWAYS READ AND FOLLOW LABEL DIRECTIONS. It is a violation of federal and state law to use any pesticide product other than in accordance with its label. The distribution, sale and use of an unregistered pesticide is a violation of federal and/or state law and is strictly prohibited. We do not guarantee the accuracy of any information provided on this page or which is provided by us in any form. It is your responsibility to confirm prior to purchase and use that a product is labeled for your specific purposes, including, but not limited to, your target crop or pest and its compatibility with other products in a tank mix and that the usage of a product is otherwise consistent with federal, state and local laws.  We reserve the right to restrict sales on a geographic basis in our sole discretion. You must have a valid applicator license to use restricted use pesticides.  Please consult your state department of agriculture for complete rules and regulations on the use of restricted use pesticides, as some products require specific record-keeping requirements.

All product recommendations and other information provided is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for consulting the product label or for specific agronomic, business,or professional advice. Where specific advice is necessary or appropriate, consult with a qualified advisor. Neither Farmer's Business Network Inc. nor any of its affiliates makes any representations or warranties, express or implied, as to the accuracy or completeness of the statements or any information contained in the material and any liability therefore is expressly disclaimed.

FBN Network

Sep 12, 2023

Are You Overpaying for Chem?
See national chem pricing trends in the FBN Research report
Seed Selection Playbook
Learn how to use data to boost your seed ROI
Ag Land Loans 101 Guide
Everything you need to know about land financing.