European Corn Borers: An Overwintering Story

May 21, 1999
On Monday (5/17) morning, I received a telephone call from Vernon Campert, Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc., Pinckneyville, Perry County. Late last summer, Vernon placed some corn borer larvae in a plastic bag and used them at several educational meetings with his customers. At the end of the field-meeting season, Vernon tossed the plastic bag in his pickup and never gave the corn borers much thought until this spring. In retrieving some loose change beneath the seat of his truck, Vernon came across the plastic bag. To his amazement, the corn borer larvae were doing just fine! I indicated to Vernon that overwintering conditions in his pickup were probably less severe than within a cornstalk out in a field. As Kevin indicated in an article in last week's Bulletin, don't be surprised if you see a few corn borer moths in the next week or so. Already, several unconfirmed reports have been passed along from southern counties. Last year, corn borer moths were observed in northern Illinois as early as mid-May. As soon as we confirm some sightings of moths, we'll begin projecting corn borer phenology for the remaining portion of the growing season.--Mike Gray

Author: Mike Gray