Insects

European Corn Borers

European Corn Borers
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This 1 inch long, grayish pink caterpillar has a dark head and two rows of dark spots along its body. Found everywhere except Florida and the Far West, it's most troublesome in the Midwest.

Target: Primarily corn; many other vegetables and flowers are also attacked.

Damage: Leaves show small “shot holes”; corn stalks have small holes edged with sawdust-like material. Tassels are broken; the stems attaching ears to the main stalk may be bent. Ears of corn may be tunneled.

Life cycle: Moths lay masses of white eggs on leaf undersides. After hatching, the caterpillars feed briefly on leaves and tassels, then tunnel into stalks and feed for several weeks. The caterpillars pupate (and may overwinter) in plant stems. There are one to three generations a year.

Notes: Weeded corn patches are less likely to be attacked than weedy ones. Make a short lengthwise slit in the stalk below the entrance hole and handpick the borer.