The following stemborer species infest rice: yellow stem borer (YSB), Scirpophaga incertulas; white stem borer (WSB), S. innotata; striped stem borer (SSB), Chilo suppressalis; Gold-fringed stem borer, C. auricilius; Dark-headed stem borer, C. polychrysus; and, Pink stem borer, Sesamia inferens
Stem borers can destroy rice at any stage of the plant from seedling to maturity.
They feed upon tillers and causes deadheart or drying of the central tiller, during vegetative stage; and causes whiteheads at reproductive stage.
The yellow stem borer is a pest of deepwater rice. It is found in aquatic environments where there is continuous flooding. Second instar larvae enclose themselves in body leaf wrappings to make tubes and detach themselves from the leaf and falls onto the water surface. They attach themselves to the tiller and bore into the stem.
Striped stem borer is most abundant in temperate countries and in non-flooded areas. Their final instars remain dormant in temperate areas during winter.
The pink stem borer is found in upland rice, which is grown near sugarcane or related grasses. The presence of alternate hosts encourages the pink stem borer to develop, multiply and survive during winter or dry season. Unlike other species of stemborers, the pink Stem borer have bare eggs laid between the leaf sheath and the stem.
High nitrogenous field favors population buildup of the stem borers. Fields planted later favors more damage by the insect pest that have built up in fields that have been planted earlier. Stubble that remains in the field can harbor stem borer larvae and or pupae.
Check the field for the following damage symptoms:
Deadhearts and whiteheads symptoms may sometimes be confused with damages caused by rats, neck blast, and black bug diseases.
To confirm stem borer damage, visually inspect rice crop for deadhearts in the vegetative stages and whiteheads in reproductive stages. Stems can be pulled and dissected for larvae and pupae for confirmation of stem borer damage.
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View full fact sheet: Stem borer on IRRI Rice Knowledge Bank