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Maize Stem Borer

Busseola fusca, Chilo partellus, Chilo orichalcociliellus, Sesamia calamistis
  • Immediately after harvest of previous crop, practise early land preparation during dry season to expose the pupa to heat and predators
  • Plant tolerant varieties such as KDH4SBR, KDH5, KEMBU 214, EMB 0702, KATEH 2007-3, MTPEH 0703 varieties for mid altitudes
  • Rotate with root crops or legumes which improve soil nutrients and maize plants’ ability to tolerate stem borers. Avoid alternate hosts such as sorghum and pearl millet
  • Plant early in rainy periods
  • Intercrop with legumes
  • Use push-pull strategy: Plant Desmodium in between maize rows to repel stalk borers from the maize. Plant Napier grass along the borders of the maize as a trap crop to pull stalk borers away from the maize
  • After harvest, destroy crop residues (e.g. old stalks) to kill larvae and pupae in stems.
  • Chop the plants and feed to livestock, make silage or incorporate into the soil. This will kill the pupae in the old stems to reduce more population the following season
  • Three weeks after planting, begin inspecting maize plants two times per week. Continue inspecting plants until flowering
  • Observe plants for holes in leaves and dead hearts
  • Consider carrying out early controls when 3 – 10% of young plants in population are damaged
  • To control young larvae :
  • Put handful of soil into leaf funnel of infested plants- this suffocates the larvae
  • Put one bottle cap of ash dust into leaf-funnel of young plant
  • Apply ground neem powder – a pinch per plant onto the funnel of young plants
  • Apply hot pepper + ash – rate 50gm/2kg ash and put a pinch per funnel onto knee-high young plants
  • Note: In the later stages of infestation, larvae bore into upper maize stalks and dead-heart symptoms appear. At this stage, control measures are too late because larvae are protected inside the stalks
  • Always use PPE and follow the instructions on the product label (dosage, timing of application and Pre-Harvest Interval)
  • Spray with Deltamethrin based products such as Farm-X, Atom 2.5EC, and Decis 2.5EC at 10-15mls/20L of water
  • WHO Class II (Moderately hazardous); PHI 3 days; Toxic to aquatic organisms; Do not spray near water sources; High risk to bees and other arthropods. Do not spray to flowering plants
  • Bacillus thuringiensis
  • WHO Class III (Slightly hazardous)
  • Grind Tephrosia and put one pinch at the funnel of the affected plant; Natural contact insecticide
  • Rotenone is one of the active ingredients in Tephrosia plants; Rotenone: WHO Class II (Moderately hazardous); Toxic to aquatic organisms
  • Spray with Chlorpyrifos based products such as Bullet 48EC and Dursban 4EC at 50 -100 ml/ 20Lof water; Mode of action: Organophosphate
  • WHO Class II (Moderately hazardous); Pre-harvest interval 14 days; MRL 0.02mg/kg
AUTHOR(S): Margaret Mulaa (CABI), MaryLucy Oronje (CABI), Miriam Otipa (KARI), Eunice K. Ringera (KEPHIS)

CREATED/UPDATED: July 2013 / September 2014
PRODUCED BY: Plantwise

©CAB International. Published under a CC-BY-SA 4.0 licence.