By Clint Thompson
Alabama hemp producers need to be wary of high insect pressure across the region. Katelyn Kesheimer, Auburn University Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist, said growers especially need to watch out for corn earworms.
“The biggest thing that people need to be aware of that we’re dealing with right now is corn earworm. We started finding them in our plants about a week ago. If producers have outdoor hemp, they really need to be scouting regularly and looking for those worms when they’re very small,” Kesheimer said.
“Even us being in our plots a couple of times a week, we’ve missed some and got some really big ones. You can already see the feeding damage. If your hemp is flowering, you certainly need to be out, I’d say twice a week, just looking for worms, pulling them off or treating with one of the approved pesticides.”
Alabama Extension said corn earworms can inflict damage on hemp in multiple ways. They feed on the floral material, create wounds in the buds and can put plants at risk for disease, especially fusarium bud rot.
While corn earworms are most problematic, there have been sightings of fall armyworms and yellow striped armyworms in hemp.
“We’re still in worm season. I wouldn’t be surprised with as many fall armyworms that we have across the region now, that they’re going to get into hemp, too,” Kesheimer said.