Injury to strawberry crowns caused by European corn borer larvae

John L. Maas, John M. Enns, Stan C. Hokanson, Richard L. Hellmich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Larvae of several insects injure and kill strawberry (Fragaria xananassa Duchesne) plants by burrowing into and hollowing out plant crowns. Occasionally, these infestations are serious enough to cause heavy economic losses to fruit producers and nursery plant growers. In 1997 in Beltsville, Md., we observed wilting and dying mature plants and unrooted runner plants in two experimental strawberry plantings. Injury by larvae was extensive; large cavities occurred in crowns, and the central pith tissues were removed from stolons and leaf petioles. Often, insect frass was seen at entrance holes. Larvae removed from hollowed-out parts of injured plants were identified as the European corn borer (Ostrinia nubilalis Hubner) in their fifth instar stage. Their presence in this instance also was associated with a cover crop of millet [Setaria italica (L.) P. Beauv., 'German Strain R'] planted between the strawberry rows for weed suppression. This is the first published report of the European corn borer attacking strawberry. Although this insect may occur only sporadically in strawberry plantings, it may become important in the future. Growers and other professionals should become aware of this new strawberry pest and recognize that its management in strawberry will be different from management of other crown-boring insects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)866-867
Number of pages2
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 1998


  • Crown borer
  • Fragaria xananassa
  • Insect pests
  • Ostrinia nubilalis


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