Introduction to Insect-pests of Maize

Introduction to Insect-pests of Maize

Important points:

  • Maize is one of the staple food of Asian countries.
  • Other leading cereal crops are rice, wheat, sorghum, barley etc.
  • The crop is attacked by the numerous insect-pests.
  • The damage caused by the various species of insect-pests is significant.
  • Management of the insect-pests is very necessary.

Click here to see the introductory description of the insect-pests of rice.

Insect-pests of Maize Crop

List of insect-pests of maize

  • Maize borer.
  • European corn borer.
  • Asian maize borer.
  • Maize shoot fly.
  • Hairy caterpillar.

Also read: Entomology multiple choice questions

1. Maize Borer

Scientific name: Chilopartellus.

Family: Pyralidae.


Larva: Caterpillar has four longitudinal stripes on the back and the body is greyish white.
Adult: Moths are yellowish-grey.

Life cycle:

  • 5 generations in a year.
  • Active breeding is seen during March – April to May.


Young plant are destroyed by the pest. Larvae are active during night.
Look for dead heart symptoms.


Destroy crop residues.
Release Trichogramma chilonis.
Use 100 ml cypermethrin 10 EC for per ha.

Also read: Minor pests of rice

2. European Corn Borer

Doesn’t occur in India.

Scientific name: Ostrinianubilalis.

Family: Pyralidae.


Larva: pale yellow body with black head.
Adult: Female moth has yellow to light brown wings.

Life cycle: 1 – 5 generation.


  • Weaken plants.
  • Stunted cobs.
  • Tunnelling occurs.


Sow resistant varieties.
Deep ploughing and exposure to sunlight.

3. Asian Maize Borer

Scientific name: Ostrinia furnacalis.

Family: Pyralidae.

Life cycle: 1 – 5 generations.


Larva: The upper side body is pinkish with a dark head.
Adult: The female moth is yellow to light brown in colour.


Midrib tunnelling.
Reduce in plant growth.
Plants may collapse.


Follow the management practices of maize borer.

4. Maize Shoot Fly

Scientific name: Atherigonasoccata Rondani.

Family: Muscidae.


Maggots: They are very tiny.
Fly: Fly has transparent wings.

Life cycle: Several generations occurs.


High-yield hybrid varieties are more susceptible.
Maggot bores into the stem by feeding inside the main shoot.


Grow resistant varieties.
Seed coating with isofenphos 5G @ 30 g per 100g seed.
Use carbofuron 3G @ 12 kg per ha.

5. Hairy Caterpillars

Scientific name:

Amsacta moorei.
Spilosoma obliqua.

Family: Arctiidae.

5.1 RedHairy Caterpillar (Amsactamoorei)


Larva: The body colour varies from reddish-amber to olive green with numerous long hair.
Adult: Moths are stoutly built and have white wings with black spots.

Life cycle: More than one generation in a year.

Damage: Larvae feed on growing points of the plants.


Use light traps.
Do summer ploughing.
Apply 25 EC quinalphos in 500 l water.

5.2 Bihar Hairy Caterpillar (Spilosomaobliqua)


Larva: Long greyish hair.
Adult: Moth is full yellow.

Life cycle: 3 – 4 generations in a year.


Larvae eat the soft portion of plants.
Severe attack: Completely denuded of leaves.


Use 25 kg malathion dust per ha.
Another control measures are same as red hairy caterpillar.



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