Updated: October 9, 2022

Corn is an essential crop for humans and animals alike. It is a rich source of carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. However, various pests attack the corn plant, causing significant losses to farmers. One such pest is the corn borer.

Corn borers are small, slender larvae that feed on the tender tissues of corn plants. They cause significant damage to the plant, reducing yields and quality. If not controlled, they can destroy an entire corn field. In this article, we will discuss how to get rid of borers on corn plants.

Identify the Problem

Corn borers are challenging to detect since they live inside the corn plant. However, there are some signs that you can look out for:

  • Stunted growth
  • Wilting leaves
  • Holes in the leaves
  • Sawdust-like frass near the base of the plant
  • Presence of egg masses on the underside of the leaves

If you notice any of these signs, it’s time to take action.

Natural Control Methods

There are several natural ways to control borers on corn plants. Here are some effective methods:

Crop Rotation

Crop rotation is an effective way to control corn borers. It involves planting different crops in a particular field each season. This method disrupts the life cycle of the pests since they cannot find their preferred host plant.

Biological Control

Biological control involves introducing natural enemies of corn borers into your field. These can be predators or parasites that feed on or kill the pests. Some common biological controls include Trichogramma wasps and Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt).

Neem Oil

Neem oil is a natural insecticide that repels and kills corn borers. Mix one tablespoon of neem oil with one gallon of water and spray it on the affected plants.


Handpicking is a time-consuming but effective way to get rid of corn borers. Check your plants regularly and remove any larvae and eggs that you find. Be sure to dispose of them properly.

Chemical Control Methods

If the infestation is severe, chemical control may be necessary. However, it’s important to use pesticides responsibly and follow the instructions carefully.


Pyrethroids are synthetic insecticides that kill corn borers on contact. They are available in spray or dust form. Apply them to the affected plants according to the instructions on the label.


Carbaryl is a broad-spectrum insecticide that kills a wide range of pests, including corn borers. It is available in spray or dust form. Apply it to the affected plants according to the instructions on the label.


Preventing an infestation of corn borers is easier than controlling it. Here are some preventive measures:

  • Plant early maturing varieties of corn
  • Remove and destroy crop residues after harvest
  • Avoid planting corn near sorghum or other grass crops
  • Use clean tillage practices to reduce overwintering sites for the pests


Corn borers can cause significant damage to your corn crop if left uncontrolled. Natural control methods such as crop rotation, biological control, neem oil, and handpicking can help reduce their population. If the infestation is severe, chemical control methods like pyrethroids and carbaryl can be used. Preventive measures like planting early maturing varieties of corn and removing crop residues after harvest can help prevent an infestation.


Can I eat corn that has been treated with pesticides?

Yes, you can eat corn that has been treated with pesticides. However, make sure to wash it thoroughly before cooking or eating.

Can I use natural control methods alone to get rid of corn borers?

Natural control methods can be effective, but they may not completely eliminate the pests. It’s best to use them in conjunction with other control methods.

Can corn borers affect other crops besides corn?

Yes, corn borers can also infest other crops like sorghum and other grasses.