Gramineous Lepidopteran Stem Borders in Africa
Cereals, especially maize and sorghum, are the most important field crops grown in Africa by commercial and small-scale farmers. Sugar cane is also an important cash crop in many countries on the continent. Although maize and sorghum are grown primarily for human consumption, surpluses are used as fodder for livestock. Among the insect pests found attacking these crops in Africa, lepidopteran stem borers are by far the most injurious.
Given their great economic importance, an enormous amount of literature has accumulated during the past century. The aim of the following sections is to briefly summarize the current state of knowledge on these stem borer pests of cereals. Special attention is given to Busseola fusca and Chilo partellus, which are the principal borer pests of maize and grain sorghum in Africa, and to Chilo sacchariphagus, a serious pest of sugar cane on the Indian Ocean islands, which has recently invaded Mozambique.