Experiments were conducted in an outdoor insectary to examine behavioral interactions between fifth instar stalk borers, Papaiperna nebris, and potential host plant species. Plants tested included 6- and 8-leaf stage corn, Zea mays, and ten weed species (six broadleaf and four grass) commonly associated with corn production in southern Wisconsin. Broadleaf plants found to be acceptable hosts included Ambrosia trifida, Arnaranthus retroflexus, Rumex crispus, and Chenopodium album; Asclepias syriaca and Abutilon theophrasti were not acceptable as host plants. Corn and the other grass species (Agropyron repens, Bromus inermis, Dactylis glomerata, and Setaria faberi) were found to be acceptable hosts. All acceptable plants also supported larval development to the pupal stage, though on 6-leaf stage corn and the small-stemmed grasses the majority of larvae dispersed before completing development. Larvae developing on corn, A. triftda, and A. retroflexus pupated within the plant stem, whereas larvae developing on the other plants pupated in the soil near the plant on which they fed. Stalk borer larvae required substantially less time to bore into corn stalks than into the stems of the broadleaf plants. In a limited preference experiment, corn was clearly preferred as a host plant over the three broadleaf and one small-stemmed grass species tested.
Alvarado, Leticia J.; Hogg, David B.; and Wedberg, John L.
"Effects of Corn and Selected Weed Species on Feeding Behavior of the Stalk Borer, Papaipema Nebris (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae),"
The Great Lakes Entomologist, vol 22
Available at: https://scholar.valpo.edu/tgle/vol22/iss2/2