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Rice Yellow Stem Borer


(Scirpophaga incertulas)
Rice Yellow Stem Borer

Adult moth : yellowish-white with orange-yellow front wings (wingspan of 25-45mm); female is larger with a black spot on each fore-wing and a prominent tuft of brownish-yellow silken hairs at the tip of the abdomen. Larvae : 20mm long, white or yellowish white when fully grown.

Life Cycle

Eggs (120-150, oval, flattened and pearly white), laid in masses of 15-80, covered with buff-coloured hairs. Total life cycle from egg to adult is 31-62 days depending on conditions.


A serious pest of rice : larvae bore into rice stem and feed on the internal tissue. Final instar larvae make an exit hole and pupate within the larval tunnel at the base of the plant, in a silken cocoon. Their feeding causes 'dead heart' symptoms; with heavy infestation, crop loss can be as high as 95% !