Something eating corn in community garden

Tucson, AZ(Zone 9a)

I have a couple of photos to post of some damage that's being done to some corn in the comm. garden at work here. I think it was grasshoppers, but it doesn't look typical. It looks like something was eating the leaves, then started on the tassels, and it looks like a lot of droppings to me, and a coworker thinks could be a mold or fungus. Neither of us is terribly certain, I hope somebody here can help.

Thumbnail by EileenAZ Thumbnail by EileenAZ
Tucson, AZ(Zone 9a)

Really? Nobody has any idea what this is?

Gainesville, FL(Zone 8b)

I apologize in advance if this comes off as insensitive, but I've had experience with "community" gardens, and I'm very unlikely to ever willingly participate in one again. The only thing "communal" about most of them is that everyone expects a share of the harvest.

The first picture definitely shows insect damage. Fungus doesn't leave s**t behind. Which insect? Has anyone looked? Anything doing this much damage is going to be pretty obvious.

The second picture is really just not very clear. That could be insect damage or the aftermath of a fungus. Take your pick. My money is on grasshoppers or one of their insect relatives.

But really, you could have Googled "corn leaf damage" and gotten an immediate response - dozens of pictures and references to everything from slugs to cutworms to armyworms. In fact, you'll probably find TOO much information that could all match the pictures. Find the insect(s) and you'll find the cause.

-Rich

Tucson, AZ(Zone 9a)

Well, I do appreciate your confirming my suspicion, not so much your condescending op/ed on my search preference and especially community gardens. In Arizona, if somebody is willing to donate their water supply to our gardening efforts, most of us jump on it, especially if there's compost, fertilizer, and tools, including a rototiller, available.
Since I've been a paid subscriber here for several years I didn't think my choice of asking about corn damage in a vegetable garden forum on a site titled "Dave's Garden" was at all inappropriate.

Gainesville, FL(Zone 8b)

Quote from EileenAZ :
Since I've been a paid subscriber here for several years I didn't think my choice of asking about corn damage in a vegetable garden forum on a site titled "Dave's Garden" was at all inappropriate.

I'm sorry Eileen. It was the somewhat aggrieved tone of the second post that got to me. Glad you feel you've had better luck with your community, even if no one has managed to notice insects making large holes in the corn. One of the problems I've seen at community gardens is that there are usually one or two kind souls who donate materials (like water, tillers, and fertilizer) and labor and a lot of people who are just hangers-on. I truly hope you can track down the insect(s) causing the damage. It reminds me a lot of damage I see around here on Cannas, and that can be hoppers or caterpillars - there are a lot of choices.

About looking stuff up - well, that's my "bad" habit. I started as an encyclopedia addict before I was 10 back in the 1950's. I spent literally days at the library going through card catalogs and searching stacks for obscure references (they occasionally had to kick me out at closing time). Now we have the internet and near-instant access to almost any knowledge, and I can't help feeling a slow burn when people won't bother to type three words into a search engine that actually does 95% of the work for them, but get pissed when no one else wants to take the time typing to explain things to them.

I am a mean, nasty SOB at times. I have worked my ass off to earn my knowledge and just possibly the right to be a bit of a curmudgeon occasionally. God, I need some sleep...why am I up typing this at 1 AM?

-Rich


This message was edited Sep 27, 2012 1:00 AM

Gainesville, FL(Zone 8b)

P.S.: I notice I am still the only person to have actually taken the time to reply.

-Rich

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

Unfortunately the abrasive tone of many folks' responses have discouraged many people from responding or even asking questions... thus DG is becoming what DG is.

Best wishes with your community gardening effort Eileen. Sorry I cannot be of assistance with your problem but I've read that grasshoppers are in full force in the south this fall. Possibly?

Richland, WA(Zone 7b)

I agree with you, podster. And I did reply to Eileen-privately.

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

Sadly there is a wealth of information that is not shared when we end up communicating privately but I do understand.

Tucson, AZ(Zone 9a)

RJO, I was not feeling aggrieved in the least when I wrote the second post, I was just surprised that nobody with more corn experience than me had replied after a few days. I accept your apology.

Podster- Brad had seen a few caterpillars on the corn, and I'd seen grasshoppers around, so it could have been either or both.

The corn is putting out tassels in half the time they were supposed to, at about two or three feet tall, I'm not sure if the crop will be successful or not.

Gainesville, FL(Zone 8b)

Caterpillars are relatively easy, but you have to be vigilant and persistent. Grasshoppers are another thing altogether. I imagine the flame-thrower approach I use on stink bugs would work as well if you are fast enough...and VERY patient. Sometimes hunting insects at night works better - they are often slower to respond.

-Rich

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

WELL I'M FROM INDIANA GREW UP IN OHIO AND IT LOOKS LIKE CUTWORMS TO ME, OOPS sorry about the caps though.ETC any kind of grub and they look like grasshopper chew also , the beetles , you have crop beetles in there somewhere . they start with the leaves and the move to the tassels etc corn earworm!
Watch the tassels carefully for them, and it is not unusual for corn to start tasseling that way.

Gainesville, FL(Zone 8b)

Quote from juhur7 :
WELL I'M FROM INDIANA GREW UP IN OHIO AND IT LOOKS LIKE CUTWORMS TO ME

I thought cutworms just cut off the (mostly young) plants at the base. They sometimes feed on the fallen plants, sometimes just on the sap. Not climbers.

-Rich

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

They are beetle grubs, like maggots ,they climb. Many kinds of them. Those are beetle larvae I've seen them many times and cannot grow corn safely in my garden ,because of the bugs,meaning too much insecticide too control them. Farmers can I can't.

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

rjogden; I forgot to add to your they feed on fallen plants, they climb inside the stalk, by the time you see them the plant is usually severely damaged.

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

What we call a cutworm is a catipilliar not a grub. A cutworm (here) doesn't turn into a beetle. Just a different name from a different place. I'll have to look closer in the morning to see if I can ID anything. Grasshoppers would be my first guess. Borers go into the stalk and are a catapilliar. It's funny how the nomenclature is different everywhere.

I believe anywhere you garden is better then not gardening at all. But that wasn't the question.

I hope I never work my ass off hard enough to knowingly be a mean SOB. No matter how much a work there is always somebody that has worked harder.

The more I look the more I'm thinking grasshoppers. They have been bad here.

Gainesville, FL(Zone 8b)

Quote from 1lisac :
No matter how much a work there is always somebody that has worked harder.

That's true. I'm only 63 and already retired (not by choice, unfortunately).

-Rich

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

It would be better if I could spell please substitute the a for an I. Since this Ipad has been handed down to me I really need to be more vigulent with proof reading.

I'm not sure if it's grasshoppers even tho that would be my first guess. Whatever it is has done a lot of damage and pooped a lot too. I've been to Tuscan, and it is beautiful but not hospitable to life. Lol By any chance have you checked with your AG agent? I'm wondering if it might be another pest that is more numerous this season. Just a thought.

This message was edited Oct 2, 2012 8:16 PM

Tucson, AZ(Zone 9a)

You're right about Tucson not being hospitable to life- but I'm saying that after a very long, very hot summer. Winters (and late fall and early spring) are awesome, though!

Using somebody else's water appeals to me, plus the fact that I go by the garden ten times a day anyway when I'm at work. Brad said he treated the corn with bt, I haven't noticed more damage since. From the descriptions you've posted it must have been caterpillars.Thanks, everybody.

Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9b)

Hi Eileen, I just read your post - corn worm borer comes to mind.

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

I was messing around and it is a beautiful place. I'm glad the Bt worked.

Tucson, AZ(Zone 9a)

Latest garden drama- a beloved coworker laid claim to the plot next to mine. She has a knee injury lately so when I was there last Sunday I decided to rototill her plot, because it's much fluffier and light than my plot. So I'm using the fun little rototiller and I start seeing little disturbances in the ground where I've tilled. Finaly I tilled up the biggest grub I've ever seen, we get them because of the june bugs and the fig/japanese beetles, but these were biger than any i've seen. And the tiller didn't seem to kill any of them. Anybody know the chances of those grubs being in the plot next to mine and not mine? My dirt's a lot more clayish and hard. Last year the garden had a horrible fig beetle invasion, this year I didn't see a single live one, so I'm wondering if their cycle is maybe a 2 year one. I'm not kidding, these things looked like big trilobites. I intend to treat with milky spore, but the entymology interests me.

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

I believe this web site has an insects forum, if you re-type some this about entomology interest ,some there may have links to better information sites.
That is interesting that they seemed to have moved over to the next garden site or developed there close to yours after you treated yours.

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

I think there is a forum about bugs so click on communities. Guides and information has insect files or something close. It sounds interesting im interested to see what you find.

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