Young larvae feed on corn leaves and tassels and beneath husks. Older larvae burrow into corn stalks and ears; damaged stalks may break. Larvae also tunnel in stems or pods of beans, onions, peppers, potatoes, tomatoes, and other crops.
Larvae overwinter in plant residue and pupate in early spring. Adults emerge in June; lay eggs late June to mid-July. Eggs hatch after 1 week; larvae feed for 3 to 4 weeks. One to three generations per year.
Plant resistant corn cultivars; remove tassels from two-thirds of corn plants before they begin to shed pollen; spray BTK on leaf undersides and into tips of ears; apply granular BTK or mineral oil in tips of ears; rotate crops; release Trichogramma wasps for control in large fields; attract native parasites by allowing flowering weeds to grow between rows; pull out and destroy all infested crop residue immediately after harvest. For severe infestations, spray pyrethrin when larvae begin feeding on leaves, tassels, or ears.
Larvae photo: Keith Weller, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Bugwood.org
Adult & Moth photo: Frank Peairs, Colorado State University, Bugwood.org