European Corn Borer—Ostrinia nubilalis

European corn borer is an economic pest on a wide variety of field and vegetable crops including corn (field, sweet, & popcorn), snap beans, peppers, potatoes, and tomatoes. Damage is primarily due to borer tunneling in leaf midribs and the stalk. The second generation in August and September is a greater threat to late-planted corn. Borers of this generation tunnel in ears, ear shanks and stalks. Stalk breakage may be serious. Borer entrance holes in corn plants also provide a site for stalk rot pathogens to enter the plant.

European corn borer larva
The larvae are dirty white, often having a pinkish tinge. The skin is smooth and free of hairs. There are numerous dark spots scattered over the sides and top of the body. The head is dark brown to black.

damage to corn from European corn borer
Typical "shot-gun" damage to corn caused by larval feeding.

European corn borer adult
The moths are yellowish buff to light tan in color. They have several dark zigzag marks across the wings, and their wing spread is 3/4 to 1 inch. They are active during late evening and at night.

Click on images to view full-size

Identification and Control Information

[Photos: Frank Peairs, Colorado State University,]