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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Corn Borer
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The European Corn Borer, Ostrinia nubilalis, prefers infesting corn, but can also be found infesting beans, beets, celery, potatoes, pepper, and tomatoes. They typically begin feeding on leaf surfaces or in the whorl. Larvae bore down leaf midribs into the stalks that make both them and the stems weaker. This lowers the flow of plant nutrients and the holes allow disease organisms to enter.

Young larvae are less than 1/8 inches with five pair of prolegs and a pale yellow body with several rows of dark spots. The mature larva reach about 1 inch. The female moth has a 1 inch wingspan with dark zig-zags across the outer third of its wings. The male is smaller with two yellow zig-zags across the outer third of wings.

Life Cycle
They overwinter as mature larvae in plant debris and pupate to emerge as moths in April-May. Females lay up to 600 eggs in small masses of 20-30 eggs on the underside of leaves to hatch in 3-12 days. This will last four weeks with around four generations per year.

Multiple corn borersMale and female corn borer moth

Last Modified: 8/13/2016
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