What Is It? Wednesday – Corn Earworm

Corn earworm (Helicoverpa zea) boring into a tomato.

Corn earworm (Helicoverpa zea) boring into a tomato.
Justin Ballew, ©2023, Clemson Extension

This is a corn earworm (Helicoverpa zea) boring into a tomato. This common caterpillar pest is known by other names, including tomato fruitworm, cotton bollworm, and soybean podworm. Corn earworms are considered to be one of the most economically important insect pests in North America, partly due to their vast host range. Sweet corn and tomatoes are their preferred vegetable crop hosts. In tomatoes, earworms may feed on the leaves or stems, but are most commonly found feeding within the fruit as seen here. Several fruit may be damaged by a single worm before it reaches maturity. Read more about corn earworms here.

If this document didn’t answer your questions, please contact HGIC at hgic@clemson.edu or 1-888-656-9988.

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