Pilot Program for Nation-Wide Monitoring of European Corn Borer

Thursday, June 10, 2021

 European Corn Borer (ECB; Ostrinia nubilalis) has been an important pest of corn in eastern Canada for nearly a century now. It is becoming apparent that ECB is a generalist feeder, and has a wide range of hosts (ex. Hops, tomatoes, peppers, etc.).

The symptoms of ECB infestation will vary depending on the crop. The classic symptoms of corn see larvae migrating their way down the ear, chewing and burrowing as they go, rendering it unsaleable. In vine crops (pepper, tomato, eggplant), larvae can enter the stem and cause wilting or death. They are also attracted to the fruit, and will reduce your marketable yield.  For more information on the life stages of ECB, the impact it has on a handful of crops, monitoring and management, check out our factsheet!

Figure 1. An image of a ECB larvae that is taking refuge within the stem of a cannabis plant in Nova Scotia. Photo credit: Alex Gillis

With a recent confirmation of ECB resistance to Cry1F Bt corn in Nova Scotia, there is an increased need to monitor pest distribution across Canada. The Surveillance Working Group of the Canadian Plant Health Council has developed a harmonized monitoring protocol for ECB. This can be used to report the sightings of eggs, larvae, or any crop damage observed across Canada. It is encouraged that you try the harmonized monitoring protocol and report the data from your production using the free Survey123 app (available for both desktop and mobile devices):

  • Early to Mid-Season ECB Survey (Before July) - https://arcg.is/0qCCHH
  • Later Season ECB Survey (July to Pre-Harvest) - https://arcg.is/fSODf

You can log your information without creating a profile, otherwise a hard copy version is also available. 

Why should you care?

Real-time reporting may help estimate the risk of outbreaks in your region, and target the ideal window for scouting and management. At the end of the growing season, maps illustrating the results of the monitoring program will be made available on the 'Great Lakes and Maritimes Pest Monitoring Network', and the 'Prairie Pest Monitoring Network' websites, among others. 

Please feel free to contact Tracey Baute (OMAFRA), Meghan Vankosky (AAFC-Saskatchewan), John Gavloski (Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development), James Tansey (Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture) or Brigitte Duval (MAPAQ) if you have questions about this pilot project.