African Maize Stalk Borer

Busseola fusca, African maize stalk borer

The African maize stalkborer originates from and is present throughout mainland sub-Saharan Africa. It is not known to occur outside this area.This species occurs from sea level to altitudes above 2000 m and has adapted to different local conditions.

Busseola fusca affects maize, sorghum and sugar cane, damaging both the plant and the flowers. Its larvae are the active destroyers of crops in both the flowering and vegetative stages. They attack the stems, leaves and seeds of plants, including wild grasses.

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Adult African maize stalkborer moths lay eggs in a row between the stem and leafsheath. Each female lays on average about 200 eggs over its short lifetime which lasts several days – its exact duration depends on temperature and other factors. Egg laying on maize is usually concentrated on plants that are less than 2 months old with the leaf sheath of the youngest unfolded leaf being the most attractive part of the leaves for females. The eggs hatch in 3-5 days and larvae move into the leaf whorls to feed. When older (third instar), they tunnel into the stems where they feed for 3-5 weeks before pupating within the tunnels that they have produced in the stems. The adult moth will emerge after a pupal period of 7-14 days from a hole that they produced before pupation. Adults mate soon after emergence. Under favourable conditions the life cycle can be completed in 7-8 weeks but during dry and/or cold weather the larvae can enter a period of suspended development (diapause ) of 6 months or more in stems and other plant residues.

Research & Development

Control with biorationals

Busseola fusca can be treated with biorational products based on neem oil extracts. One such product in Fytomax by Russell IPM.

Find out more about Fytomax


Lures for pest monitoring


Lures can be changed every 4-6 weeks to get the most accurate results.

Lures handling

Pheromone lures are a very sensitive tool. They can be affected by exposure to elevated heat and direct sunshine. Direct touching by hand may cause cross contamination leading to mixed catches in the trap. Some contaminants such as Nicotine May have repellent effect reducing trap catch.

Lure Storage

Store in a cool dry place.

Shelf life can vary from 3-36 months depending on the storage temperature.

See Technical Data Sheet for further details.

Find out about the Trimedilure