Wingspan of 30 mm. Forewings vary from pale yellow to pale brown. Male is usually darker and smaller than female.
First instars are ca. 1.5 mm long, with a black head and prothoracic plate. Final instars reach 20-25 mm in length. Body is grey, light brown or pink and cream coloured ventrally. On the top of each segment is a series of 4 anterior spots and 2 posterior spots, each possessing a hair. The head and prothoracic plate is dark brown.
Almost flat and ca. 1 mm in diameter. Initially white and becoming yellow with age. Laid in overlapping masses usually on the underside of leaves or on developing fruits.
Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and North America.
Maize, wheat, barley, potato, tomato and pepper,
Early instars often feed on leaves producing horizontal rows of holes in leaves but may also bore into stems. Later instars feed within extensive galleries bored into stems. Frass and holes are clearly visible on stems or on the tips of maize ears. Stalks will often break and infested ears drop.
1-6 (climate dependent)