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Shot hole damage on corn leaves is a telltale sign of European corn borers. These beige caterpillars also bore into the main stalk of corn plants, leaving behind holes filled with what looks like sawdust. Their feeding clogs the movement of water and nutrients to the leaves and weakens the stalks, often causing them to break. Corn borers also bore into stems and pods of beans, tomatoes, potatoes, peppers and other crops. The borers overwinter in old cornstalks and plant debris, pupating in early spring.
The adult form, a tan-colored moth, emerges in late spring and deposits cluster of white eggs on the undersides of leaves. There are usually several generations each year. The European corn borer is a common pest throughout the northern and eastern U.S. Its range extends west as far as Montana and south to Arkansas.
Last updated: 10/24/15
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