The Maize Stem Borer, Chilo partellus, belonging to the Family Crambidae of the Order Lepidoptera, also known as the Maize Shoot Borer, is a highly destructive pest that attacks maize plants at all stages of growth, from seedlings to mature stalks. The larvae feed on the plant’s stem, leaves, and cob, resulting in significant yield losses.
They are especially damaging during the early stages of growth when the stem and leaves are still tender. To effectively manage this pest, it is important to understand its life cycle, its preferred habitats, and the best methods for controlling it. This article will provide an overview and discussion of the Maize Stem Borer Pest in Maize crops, including its symptoms, identification techniques, and control.
Maize Stem Borer Pest Management
Life Cycle of Maize Stem Borer Pest in Maize Crop
The life cycle of the maize stem borer consists of four stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. The egg stage begins the maize stem borer’s life cycle. The female moth lays eggs on the stems of maize plants. The eggs are usually laid in clusters of up to thirty. After a few days, the eggs will hatch into small larvae.
The larvae are the most destructive stage of the maize stem borer’s life cycle. The larvae feed on the stem of the maize plant, causing significant damage and stunting the plant’s growth. The larvae can also bore into the cob and feed on the kernels, causing further damage.
The pupal stage is the third stage of the life cycle. The larvae will spin a cocoon around themselves and enter a resting stage. During this time, the larvae will transform into pupae. The adult stage is the final stage of the maize stem borer’s life cycle. The pupae will emerge from their cocoons as adult moths. The adult moths can reproduce and lay more eggs, thus continuing the cycle.
Occurrence of Maize Stem Borer Pest in Maize Crop
- Location of maize stem borer pest: It is particularly prevalent in India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Iraq, Japan, Uganda, Taiwan, Sudan, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Thailand. In India, it occurs in Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, and Karnataka.
- Host range: The maize stem borer pest can infect different crops, including Jowar, bajra, sugarcane, rice, sorghum, millet, wheat, barley, and oats.
Factors Favoring the Population Increase of Maize Stem Borer Pest in Maize Crop
- Temperature and humidity – Maize stem borer is highly temperature and humidity dependent. The optimal temperature for the development of the pest is between 25-30°C. At this temperature, the pest’s development and reproduction rate will increase. High humidity in the atmosphere helps the larvae to feed and pupate properly.
- Natural enemies – Natural enemies of the pest, such as parasitic wasps, predatory insects, and birds, help keep the population of the MSB in check.
- Monocropping – Monocropping can lead to a decrease in the diversity of the crop and can make it more susceptible to pests.
Identification of Maize Stem Borer Pest in Maize Crop
- Egg: The eggs of the maize stem borer are small, oval-shaped, and yellow-white. They are laid singly or in clusters on the leaves nearer to the midribs of the maize plants.
- Larva: The larvae of the maize stem borer are white to light yellowish-brown with a brown head and approximately 3-4 cm in length.
- Pupa: The pupae of