Most commonly found in vegetable gardens, the corn earworm (Helicoverpa zea) is an insect that destroys corn. A single worm can take out an entire ear of corn on it's own. The earworm is also known to take out cotton crops and even tomatoes.
Their larvae grow to be 1-½ inches in length and are striped with their colors varying from pink, green and brown. Once they grow into adults, they become nocturnal flying moths that are dull green or brown in color. They have dark lines and spots near the outer edge of their wings and have a wingspan of 1-½ inches in length.
An adult female moth with emerge Between the months of February and June and lay their eggs on corn silks, stalks and husks. A female can lay up to 3000 eggs during her lifetime. The eggs hatch in days and a larva emerges, then burrows itself down into the tip of the ear feeding as they go and destroying the crop in the process. Once they have reached their last stage as a larvae, they drop to the ground to pupate in the soil.
You can till your garden soil in the spring and fall to expose the worms to birds and other predators that enjoy feasting on the destructive bug.
Chickens and ducks can be useful after you have harvested the corn, since they will pick and consume the worms from the soil.
Beneficial nematodes can be incorporated into the soil months before planting.
Beneficial insects like the trichogramma wasp can be introduced when moths are seen to destroy eggs. Other insects that will feed on both the eggs and larvae are green lacewings and pirate bugs.