old world bollworm, cotton bollworm

Helicoverpa armigera (Hübner)

Old world bollworm is native to Europe and Asia. It is not known to be established in North America. Possible routes for introduction include imported cuttings, fruits, vegetables, and flowers, as well as hitchhiking on aircraft. This species is a general feeder and is highly resistant to pesticides. Hosts include a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, weeds, ornamental plants, and flowers. A partial list includes pine, larch, crab apple, artichoke, barley, carrot, coffee, mango, alfalfa, cotton, tobacco, tomatoes, okra, onion, peppers, leek, clover, potatoes, wheat, maize, flax, soybean, sorghum, rice, millet, lucerne, strawberry, chickpeas, crucifers, legumes, cucurbits, Prunus spp., citrus, Amaranth spp., and sow thistle. In summer, a life cycle can be completed in 5 to 7 weeks. Following generations feed on other plantings of the same crop or on other hosts. One female moth may lay up to 1,500 eggs. The dome-like eggs have a ribbed surface and are pearly white when laid, but change to brown as they develop. The young caterpillars are predominantly green but the colors vary through development. When mature, larvae may be up to 2 inches long and usually have striped patterns over a base color that ranges from light green to brown to black. Distinct hairs are visible when held up to the light. Larval development takes 2 to 3 weeks before pupation occurs in the soil. The reddish-brown pupa stays in the soil for 10 to 14 days when not overwintering. Adults have light fawn forewings with a kidney-shaped spot in the middle. Hindwings are grey to grey-brown. Both wings have a broad dark band on the outer third of the wing but the band on the hind wing has a pale patch in the middle of the dark band. When resting, the wings are held roof-like over the body.

Identification, Biology, Control and Management Resources

Data Sheets on Quarantine Pests - European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization
Fact Sheet - HYPP Zoology