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, Bugwood.org

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, Bugwood.org

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. 


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FBN Network

Sep 12, 2023

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