Project Overview

Given the risk posed by the seedcorn maggot is exclusively during the window from planting to germination, seed treatments function as an effective management tool. Currently neonicotinoid seed treatments are the primary control tool available to growers.

Researchers at Cornell are exploring novel seed coatings to provide effective control against seedcorn maggot that could be applied to both conventional and organic crops. Methyl Jasmonate is a compound produced naturally in plants when they are damaged by insects. Treating seeds with methyl jasmonate before planting may preemptively activate the defenses in germinating seedlings and minimize risk of attack.

Methyl jasmonate and adult egg laying preferences

Entomologists at Cornell are currently evaluating how methyl jasmonate application affects adult egg laying preference, larval preference and performance, and plant growth. This will be evaluated in both a lab setting and the field to determine the efficacy of methyl jasmonate as a seed treatment alternative. 

a clear cup filled with soil with insect eggs in it

Seedcorn Maggot Eggs

yellow oval in a cup of dirt

Seedcorn Maggot Larva

Findings are preliminary and are not intended to replace current management plans or control methods. Additional research is being conducted to help inform long term recommendations and guidance.