Stewart's disease (also called Stewart's wilt) is a bacterial disease of corn caused by Pantoea (Erwinia) stewartii. The bacterium survives the winter in the gut of hibernating corn flea beetles. In the spring, adult flea beetles transmit the bacterium while feeding on corn. The bacteria are unable to spread from plant to plant without the beetle. Field corn inbreds and sweet corn are particularly susceptible to this disease. Therefore, seed producers in moderate- to high-risk areas should scout for early season flea beetle populations because, if left unchecked, substantial leaf damage during grain fill and yield loss can be expected.
Iowa State University
Rice, Marlin E.; Pope, Richard O.; Robertson, Alison E.; Nutter, Forrest W. Jr.; and Esker, Paul, "Corn flea beetles and Stewart's disease risk for 2005" (2005). Integrated Crop Management News. 1424.
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