Mexican rice borer moth.
Mexican rice borer moth.

Mexican rice borer moth caterpillar is a spreading problem across the far South as it commonly attacks sugar cane and rice. Agronomic research on helping control the pest is underway, but one insecticide active is definitely still the best control available.

The insecticide active ingredient is chlorantraniliprole. There is some concern that the Environmental Protection Agency might turn its sights on removing the active’s registration. The most common products containing chlorantraniliprole come from Syngenta and DuPont.

It is thought that the Mexican rice borer has been in the U.S. for nearly 100 years, first reported in Arizona but not recognized as a problem until 1980 in Texas. It has moved along the coastal area feeding on various grass crops including sugar cane, sorghum, rice and corn. In 2012, the pest was discovered in Florida.

“One study suggested that in a worst-case scenario, the insect could cause more than $40 million a year in rice losses, and more than $200 million losses in sugar cane in Louisiana alone,” as reported in an article posted on Science

The pesticide registration situation and research of agronomic practices to reduce the potential damage from this rice borer, especially in rice production, is in a Science article that quotes Julien Beuzelin, an assistant professor at Louisiana State University. He is the lead author of a Journal of Integrated Pest Management report about the Mexican rice borer situation.

To read the Science article click here.