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Trichogramma: Protection against Ostrinia nubilalis

Each year, the corn borer (Ostrinia nubilalis) causes a lot of damage to maize plantations. Larvae of Ostrinia nubilalis bite tunnels into the corn cob and stalks. It results in the plants losing resistance to fractures and yield reduction. High content of mycotoxins additionally causes deterioration of quality. While in the center and in the north of Germany Ostrinia nubilalis has one generation per year, in Baden there is a two-generation species. Depending on the region, Ostrinia nubilalis is active from May to September.

Trichogramma brassicae is an effective natural enemy of Ostrinia nubilalis. They have a size of approx. 0.5mm.  Trichogramma brassicae is a so called parasitoid of eggs. It means that it lays its eggs into the egg of a host (e.g. in the eggs of Ostrinia nubilalis), and as a result the host is killed during development of the parasitoid inside the host egg. Applying large numbers of Trichogramma in the maize field, a large proportion of corn borer eggs is parasitized by Trichogramma females and thus killed.

Spreading large numbers of Trichogramma at the right time allows parasitizing by females of approx. 0.5 mm in size a very large number of Ostrinia nubilalis eggs, and therefore their neutralization.

To spread Trichogramma two variants of the product are available:

During official inspections of quality, TRICHOSAFE® -cards and TRICHOSAFE® – capsules obtain excellent results in practical and laboratory tests each year.

The way Trichogramma affects Ostrinia nubilalis

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After the application of TRICHOSAFE® products, the Trichogramma hatch in the field. After mating, the search for  egg masses of the corn borer begins. The eggs are parasitized by Trichogramma. Development of Trichogramma in the egg inhibits the growth of Ostrinia nubilalis: instead of Ostrinia nubilalis larvae, Trichogramma (2. Generation) will hatch and the cycle starts again.

If the development process of Ostrinia nubilalis is not interrupted, larvae hatch after 4-9 days and feed on the corn cobs and stalks, and then they pupate at the bottom of the stalk. Ostrinia nubilalis hatches out of the pupa and starts laying new egg masses into the field.

Effective Period

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Effective period results from the hatching period and the development cycle. In order to ensure the longest possible effective period, all our TRICHOSAFE® products contain Trichogramma eggs at minimum six different stages of their development. As the diagram shows, this way a hatching period of up to three weeks is achieved. Hatched Trichogramma parasitize Ostrinia nubilalis eggs.  From parasitized eggs after approx. 12 days Trichogramma hatch again, and they look for even more Ostrinia nubilalis eggs to parasitize them. Thus, the infestation and expansion of Ostrinia nubilalis expansion can be significantly reduced.

As it is not possible for these great amounts of Trichogramma to hibernate, it is necessary to release them in large amounts on an annual basis. Only this way a sufficiently large population can be obtained to ensure a satisfying effect in controlling Ostrinia nubilalis.


Application of Trichogramma takes place using TRICHOSAFE® cards or TRICHOSAFE® capsules developed by BIOCARE. Both forms of the product have proven themselves immensely in practice for many years and they obtain great results in official experiments. TRICHOSAFE® in both forms is particularly ecological, as its ingredients are fully biodegradable under field conditions.

The structure of TRICHOSAFE® cards and TRICHOSAFE® capsules protects Trichogramma against potential enemies, e.g. ladybugs, Chrysopidae and ants as well as against other harmful environmental factors. Also in the event of heavy rains or sprinkling, product carriers maintain their shape for a long time. Apart from that, they ensure good protection for beneficial organisms against ultraviolet and infrared radiation. This ensures the mass release of Trichogramma, even under unfavorable weather conditions.

Recommended dosage of TRICHOSAFE®

Please be aware that these dosages refer to the german market. Due to the different weather conditions, we have adapted the dosages specifically to the distinct countries and climate regions. This ensures high efficiency of the Trichogramma in your individual region. For more information on dosages in other countries, please feel free to contact us!

Scope of applicationDosage/haNumber of organisms/ha
Low infestation,
Biogas/silage maize
1 x 30 cardsMin. 220.000
Standard-version for average infestation2 x 50 cardsMin. 3320.000
Standard-version for average infestation2 x 100 capsulesMin. 330.000
High infestation, second generation1 x 50 cards
plus 1 x 100 capsules
Min. 110.000
plus min. 220.000
One-time application (forte) for higher infestation1 x 125 capsules Min. 400.000