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Home > Bugs > Bugs of Vegetables > European Corn Borer

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

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Identification and Control Information (each will open in a new window)



[Photos: Frank Peairs, Colorado State University,]

It is the policy of the State of Maine to minimize reliance on pesticides. The Maine Department of Agriculture and the Maine IPM Council encourage everyone to practice integrated pest management and to use pesticides only as a last resort. The mention of pesticides in the fact sheets linked to these pages does not imply an endorsement of any product. Be sure that any product used is currently registered and follow all label directions.