University of Florida

Mexican Rice Borer... an introduction

Mexican rice borer [Eoreuma loftini (Dyar), Lepidoptera, Crambidae] was first discovered in Florida at Goethe State Forest in Levy County in March 2012. The stalk-boring larvae of this this moth are major pests of cultivated grass crops in Texas and Louisiana attacking sugarcane, rice, corn, lemongrass, sorghum, and sudangrass causing millions of dollars in increased production costs and reduced yields annually. Forage and wild grasses that support the caterpillars include fall panicum, ryegrass, brome, canarygrass, Johnsongrass, vaseygrass, Amazon sprangletop, and barnyardgrass. Landscape plants that support this pest include canna lily and pampasgrass. Bulrush can also serve as a host for this major insect pest.

To evaluate the potential establishment of this insect in Florida, pheromone traps that attract Mexican rice borer (MRB) male moths were initially placed around the original discovery site in Levy County and throughout commercial sugarcane production lands in five southern Florida Counties (Hendry, Highlands, Glades, Martin, and Palm Beach) in Dec 2012. Additional traps were added in central and northern Florida in April and September 2013 to sample commercial sugarcane, corn, sorghum and rice growing regions of Jackson, Gadsden, Gilchrist, Levy, Marion Counties. Additional traps were added across central Florida to include Lake, Pasco, Polk, Osceola and Brevard Counties in February 2014, and Citrus, Sumter, Lake and Volusia counties in April 2014. More traps will be deployed as necessary to identify the distribution of MRB in Florida.MRB distribution has not expanded to additional counties since 1 April 2014 when MRB moths were detected only in Levy, Marion, Citrus and Sumter Counties [Mexican rice borer Florida detection map, updated on February 5, 2015] and MRB larvae and pupae have been found only in fall panicum [Panicum dichotomiflorum] in central Marion County.  Information regarding changes in the trapping results will be posted to this website. 

Contact if you want further information or if you believe that you have observed this insect in any of your plants in Florida.

An MRB Flash presentation and following websites provide additional information regarding Mexican rice borer.  

- Pest Alert for Mexican Rice Borer in Florida (PDF):

- Mexican Rice Borer Photo Gallery (verified 19 Feb 2013)

- Rice Insect Fact sheet for Mexican Rice Borer   (verified 19 Feb 2013)

- Mexican Rice Borer Identification Card   (verified 19 Feb 2013) 




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