What is ECB infestation?

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ECB refers to the European corn borer, which is a type of pest that can greatly affect the growth of corn.  Scientifically named as “ostrinia nubilalis”, ECB can seriously affect corn fields at least twice a year.  The first part of the infestation is caused by overwintering adults of ECB’s or pests while the second wave of damage is caused by the newly hatched eggs of these adult pests.  The first wave of ECB infestation typically occurs in early June while the second wave may start as early as July or by the next month.  Whenever ECB infestation occurs, vast cornfields may be damaged resulting to damaged crops.

Depending on the region or area where ECB infestation has occurred, the amount and extent of damage may differ every year.  For the most part, ECB infestation will result to damaged corn leaves and corn stalks which will then eventually lead to damaged shanks, ears, ribs, and other parts of the corn plant.  Larvae that are said to overwinter start to emerge as moths at around spring time.  The eggs of these moths are typically spread along the corn leaves particularly on the underside.  As these eggs hatch in the leaves, the first wave of ECB infestation will cause damage to the leaves and surrounding areas.  Over several weeks and months, the larvae will grow bigger and start to crawl into the corn stalks and the middle part of the corn ribs.  Under these deeper parts of the corn, the larva will complete its development and become adult moths later in their lives.  The second wave of damage will begin with the next cycle of egg hatching from the adult moths.

With ECB infestation at any time during spring or towards the late summer months, corn fields will be greatly affected in terms of produce quality and yield or quantity.  Based on studies, as much as 25% will be the total yield loss secondary to the first wave of ECB infestation alone.  This figure will result granting that the infestation affected about 85% of a cornfield.


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