Agronomy •  2023-10-12

How are you protecting your corn from early-season pest damage?

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Corn pests, especially grubs and wireworms, can wreak havoc on crop yield. Early-season pests thrive on seeds and seedlings, and without proper protection, crop emergence, yield and quality can take a serious hit.

Here’s a look at the potential problems common early-season corn pests can cause.


Primarily a threat to corn, wireworms can live in the soil for up to three to six years. The larvae of various beetle species that feed on seeds and young plants or crop root systems, wireworms begin to appear each spring as the soil warms, where they attack newly planted seeds or plants. Wireworm larvae feed on corn kernels, destroying the inner portion and leaving only the seed coat.

Signs of wireworm damage can appear throughout the corn growing season. Starting in the spring, wireworms can prevent germination, causing missing plants and uneven stands. The pests also feed on young plants and root systems that can result in uneven development, stunted or dead plants. As corn grows, wireworms can move to feed on the whorl or growing point above the seeds that may kill plants, cause stunting or abnormal development.

Wireworms can cause significant crop yield loss as a result of reduced stand and uncompetitive plants. In many cases, first-generation wireworms don’t cause significant damage, but farmers need to be concerned about the following crop years when wireworms feeding on corn seeds and roots pose a serious threat.

White grubs

Several species of white grubs can be found in corn fields throughout Eastern Canada. Common corn seedling pests, white grubs are the immature forms of European chafer, June beetle or Japanese beetles. Their bodies are easy to identify and are typically curved into a ‘C shape’.

White grub damage only occurs on the young corn seedling and typically appears as stunted, wilted, discoloured, or dead seedlings and/or as gaps in rows where plants fail to emerge. Grub infestations cause nutrient and moisture stress. Young plants that are stressed can turn light tan, yellow, or purple. Other signs of grubs include reduced stands, wilted or delayed plants. Plants that survive are usually behind in development, resulting in uneven maturity and can cause challenges in timing other crop protection applications.

Pest solutions

Farmers can protect their corn from wireworm, grubs and other early season insect pests with corn seed treatment solutions. As the first line of defense, insecticide seed treatments like Lumivia™ are the leading seed applied technologies that provide premium protection against common corn pests. Lumivia is available on Corteva genetics, as part of the LumiGEN® seed treatment offering.

Lumivia insecticide seed treatment offers farmers premium broad-spectrum protection against key early season insect pests, including wireworms, grubs, and cutworms to help farmers maximize their seed investment. A trusted standard in corn seed treatment, Lumivia contains a unique mode of action that rapidly protects corn seeds and seedlings up to the 4-5 leaf stage against early-season, below-ground insect pests, like wireworms.

Containing a unique Group 28 insecticide, Lumivia is a non-neonic seed treatment. This means farmers can protect their corn seed with minimal impact on beneficial insects and pollinators at the labelled rate, making Lumivia a great fit for an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategy.

LumiGEN Premium High Rate Insecticide Package contains both Lumivia and clothianidin, providing farmers increased protection for fields with higher wireworm pressure. When making seed decisions, farmers need to consider seed treatment options. Industry leading options, such as Lumivia are available as a part of Corteva's LumiGEN seed treatment package.