Stalk borer: Description

Early stage stalk borer: An early-stage stalk borer larva, Papaipema nebris. (Photo Marlin E. Rice)Early stage stalk borer: An early-stage stalk borer larva, Papaipema nebris. (Photo Marlin E. Rice)

Late stage stalk borer: A late-stage stalk borer larva, Papaipema nebris. (Photo Marlin E. Rice)Late stage stalk borer: A late-stage stalk borer larva, Papaipema nebris. (Photo Marlin E. Rice)

The stalk borer, Papaipema nebris, is an infrequent pest of soybean. The early larvae start out having a purple colore with creamy-white bands at its tail end. However, as the larva matures some of this distinctive coloration fades. One character remains through all larval stages -- a dark, lateral band that is found on the head capsule and the thorax of the caterpillar [see photos].