The old world bollworm (Helicoverpa armigera) has been found in Florida. This marks the first time it has been found in the continental US other than a few specimens found at port interceptions. Last September, the old world bollworm was found at a single farm in Puerto Rico. The old world bollworm feeds on about 200 plants, cotton included, and is known to develop resistance to insecticides more rapidly than other Helicoverpa species.
Here are several recent resources to learn more about the old world bollworm:
Dr. Philip Roberts, a UGA Extension Entomologist, recently updated the Georgia Cotton Commission board of directors about this new pest. He indicated that he and Dr. Michael Toews, a UGA Research Entomologist, are very aware of the issue and are monitoring for this new invasive pest. Unfortunately, the old world bollworm is identical to the corn earworm that is found all over Georgia and these two species cannot be distinguished just by visual indicators.
The National Cotton Council (NCC) has mentioned the threat of the old world bollworm to US cotton producers and USDA for several years now. NCC has monitored old world bollworm captures and indicated that it could reach the US soon.
Adult male (1) and female (2) Helicoverpa armigera from Europe (taken from the Florida Dept. of Ag and Consumer Affairs Pest Alert)
In other news, Rome Ethredge (Seminole County County Agent) and Dr. Bob Kemerait (UGA Plant Pathologist) released a short blog about angular leaf spot, also known as bacterial blight. They indicated that it has only been found west of I-75 and south of Tift County this year. There is no treatment for angular leaf spot since it is a bacterial disease, but worst-case-scenario yield loss is reported to not exceed 10%.
The final cotton news of the week comes from a speech by Dr. Gary Adams, President/CEO of NCC. Below are two articles from his speech to the Mississippi Boll Weevil Management Corporation and the Mississippi Farm Bureau.