European maize borer

Also known asEuropean maize borer, European corn borer, Corn moth
Ostrinia nubilalis

Damage to plants

  • Larvae feed on tassels, whorl, and foliar tissue, including midribs.
  • Older larvae burrow into the stalk, ears and kernels.
  • Severe infestation of stalks can result in broken tassels and lodging.
  • Infestation of ears leads to reduced yields and loss of commercial and cosmetic value.
  • Boring damage on the ears can also make them vulnerable to fungal infection.


  • Horizontal rows of perforations in young leaves.
  • Stunted plants.
  • Lodging and patchy plant stand.
  • Excessive frass (feces) in the collar of the plant.

Factors favoring insect / pest development

  • More generations occur per growing season in warmer climates.
  • Reduced tillage systems encourage infestation as larvae over-winter in crop stems.
  • Well irrigated fields.

Geographic distribution

  • North America, Europe, northern Africa

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