Nationwide monitoring pilot project for European corn borer

European corn borer larva. J. Smith, UGRC

The European corn borer (ECB; Ostrinia nubilalis), has been an important pest of corn and other crops in eastern Canada for nearly a century now but is also known to be a sporadic pest in western Canada. Despite its name, ECB is actually a generalist feeder, having a wide range of hosts. Although corn is one of its preferred hosts, after decades of Bt corn use across Canada, ECB populations were significantly reduced. Successful control in corn may have led to a shift in ECB populations towards its other non-corn hosts.

Most of the collective knowledge on ECB however, has been from its history in corn and can be found here: Corn is also not completely safe from harm. The recent confirmation of ECB resistance to Cry1F Bt corn in Nova Scotia has increased the need to monitor this pest across Canada. With so many new emerging crops being grown in Canada that are also hosts for ECB (eg. hemp, cannabis, quinoa, hops, millet and others) there is no better time for us to look at this pest across the Canadian ag landscape.

To monitor for ECB nationwide, the Surveillance Working Group of the Canadian Plant Health Council has developed a harmonized monitoring protocol for European corn borer in both English and French. The protocol can be used to report ECB eggs, larvae or damage in any host crop across Canada. This harmonized protocol has been designed to complement protocols that are already in use to make management decisions in order to generate data to compare ECB presence across all of Canada and across host crops.

Whether you are scouting corn, quinoa, hemp, millet, potatoes, apples or other crops susceptible to ECB, we encourage you to try the harmonized monitoring protocol and report the data from your field or research plots using the free Survey123 app (available for both desktop and mobile devices):

Early to Mid-Season ECB Survey (Before July) –

Later Season ECB Survey (July to Pre-Harvest) –

You do not need a login in to use the survey. Simply download the Survey123 app and click on the third option “Continue without logging in”, once on the login screen. A hardcopy version to take out to the field before entering it into Survey123 is available here in English and French.

Real-time reporting may help estimate risk of corn borer outbreaks in your region. At the end of the growing season, maps illustrating the results of the monitoring program will be made available on the Great Lakes and Maritimes Pest Monitoring Network and Prairie Pest Monitoring Network websites, among others. Data will be used to answer questions about the preferred host crops of European corn borer in Canada and its distribution and relative abundance across Canada.

Please feel free to contact Tracey Baute (OMAFRA;, Meghan Vankosky (AAFC-Saskatchewan;, John Gavloski (Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development;, James Tansey (Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture; or Brigitte Duval (MAPAQ; if you have questions about this pilot project.