Insect pests of corn roots

John Van Duyn, North Carolina State University, Entomology Extension Specialist

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Many insects feed on corn roots. However, only three are discussed in this section since others are not considered as pests. The three presented here (western and northern corn rootworms, white grubs, and corn rootworm aphid) occur frequently in North Carolina although usually not in damaging populations. However, western corn rootworm has become a leading pest of corn in non-rotated situations, mostly in the Piedmont and mountain regions of the state. This newly arrived pest (from late 1970s early 1980s) has moved across the state and can now be found in Coastal counties. It has not been observed as a pest in fields where corn is rotated with other crops.

Root feeders either consume roots, usually the root hairs and smaller feeder roots, or suck juices from the roots (corn root aphid). The effect on the corn plant can be expressed as nutrition and/or moisture stress and poorer anchorage in the soil. Consequently, plants may appear to be unthrifty and nutrient deficient or may blow-over more easily.

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This page ( was created by John W. Van Duyn Ph D. Extension Entomologist, Wayne Modlin, Res. Tech. III, and Steven Roberson.

Date Created 1/30/01.
Last revised on 10/31/03.

Published by North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service

Distributed in furtherance of the Acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914. Employment and program opportunities are offered to all people regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. North Carolina State University at Raleigh, North Carolina A&T State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local governments cooperating.

CAUTION: The information and recommendations in these Notes were developed for North Carolina conditions and may not apply elsewhere.