About 20 species of borers are rice pests. Of these, five—yellow borer, striped borer, white borer, dark-headed borer, and pink borer—are of economic importance. Yellow borer and striped borer occur most widely in Asia and cause serious yield losses.
Varietal resistance to these two species has been investigated during the last 30 years. Field and greenhouse screening techniques have been developed and numerous germplasm entries have been evaluated for resistance. Several hundred varieties with low to moderate levels of resistance have been identified. Except for several wild species of Oryza, germplasm with a high level of resistance has not been found.
Information available to date indicates that the resistance is under polygenic control. Moderate levels of resistance from several donor parents have been incorporated into improved varieties. Some of these moderately resistant varieties, for example, IR20, IR36, IR50, Ratna and Chandina, are widely grown and play an important role in integrated pest management programs for stem-borer control. Efforts to develop cultivars with levels of resistance higher than presently grown varieties are under way using the diallel selective mating system and the male sterile facilitated recurrent selection schemes.