Overview and Objectives

This lesson discusses the origin and biology of European corn borer (ECB)(Ostrinia nubilalis) and Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). ECB is a significant threat to many crops but especially to corn production. Bt has routinely been used as a spray to control insects such as ECB. Recently, genetic engineering has been employed to enable corn to produce its own resistance to ECB.

At the end of this lesson, learners should be able to:

  • Describe the life cycle of the European corn borer
  • List the number of ECB generations for the different regions within the United States
  • Identify and describe damage caused by European corn borer
  • Explain what Bt is and where it can be found
  • Identify what insects are affected by Bt and how it kills European corn borer
  • Identify benefits and concerns of inserting a Bt gene into corn
JNRLSE Approved, 2004

Development of this lesson was supported in part by USDA Initiative for Future Agriculture and Food Systems (IFAFS) and the Cooperative State Research, Education, & Extension Service, U.S. Dept of Agriculture under Agreement Number 00-52100-9710.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This manuscript has been assigned Journal Series No. 04-09, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, University of Nebraska.