Pacific Pests, Pathogens and Weeds - Online edition

Pacific Pests, Pathogens, Weeds & Pesticides

Sugarcane pink borer (278)

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  • Narrow distribution. Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. On sugarcane and relatives, and grasses. A major pest.
  • Eggs laid on young cane. Larvae bore together into the stalk killing the shoot, then migrate, boring into other stems.
  • Damage attracts weevil borer (see Fact Sheet no. 241). Stems break in winds.
  • Spread by flight and in cane.
  • Natural enemies: wasp parasitoids.
  • Cultural control: plant March-May; borer-free setts; resistant varieties; avoid excessive N; rogue plants with dead shoots; avoid burning, leave as mulch.
  • Chemical control: synthetic pyrethroids, based on pheromone monitoring; also used to treat setts.
Common Name

Pink sugarcane borer, Ramu shoot borer, sugarcane borer

Scientific Name

Sesamia grisescens. It is a member of the Noctuidae.

AUTHOR Grahame Jackson
Information from Sra (2015) Information sheet ISI5001. Sugarcane Research Australia. (; and from Young GR, Kuniata LS (1992) A major pest of sugarcane endemic to Papua New Guinea: A constant threat to the Australian sugar industry. (; and CABI (2012) Sesamia grisescens (Pink sugarcane borer). Crop Protection Compendium. ( Photo 1 Korowi KT, Samson PR (2013) Screening for borer resistance among sugarcane clones in Papua New Guinea, 2010-2012. Proc Aust Soc Sugar Cane Technol vol 35, pp 9. Photo 2 Walker K (2011) Ramu shoot borer (Sesamia grisescens). PaDIL - (

Produced with support from the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research under project PC/2010/090: Strengthening integrated crop management research in the Pacific Islands in support of sustainable intensification of high-value crop production, implemented by the University of Queensland and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community.

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