Old World Bollworm Detected in Puerto Rico!

During September of 2014, you received an Old World Bollworm Pest Alert.  Federal and state regulatory specialists continue to monitor for the Old World Bollworm, Helicoverpa armigera as it is a high-risk pest of national and international significance.

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Julieta Brambila, USDA APHIS PPQ, Bugwood.org

On October 28, 2014, the North American Plant Protection Organization’s Phytosanitary Alert System published a confirmation that Old World Bollworm, Helicoverpa armigera is a pest that is ‘present:  only in some areas of Puerto Rico.  A single adult male moth was detected in a pheromone trap in a bean field on September 12, 2014.  USDA-APHIS-PPQ confirmed the identification of H. armigera based on molecular methods.

The potential of the Old World Bollworm to invade the U.S. continues to present a concern for producers of various ornamental crops, corn, cotton, and soybean.  The Old World Bollworm is within the same genus as the already present corn earworm, Helicoverpa zea.  However, the old world bollworm has shown Bt resistance.

An April 2014 article entitled “A Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Emily Unglesbee of Progressive Farm indicates that the Old World Bollworm has already cost Brazilian cotton and soybean farmers approximately $900 million since the pest’s arrival in 2012.  Read the April 2014 Progressive Farm article here.

Pest biology information and the planned response by USDA-APHIS-PPQ is available through the following link:

USDA-APHIS-PPQ 2014 New Pest Response Guideline for the old world bollworm, Helicoverpa armigera

You can also read the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization (EPPO) regulatory information at:

Read the EPPO Data Sheet