African bollworm (Helicoverpa armigera)
The African bollworm feeds on leaves, flowers and pods of okra. The main damage occurs on flowers and pods. Attack on flowers results in flower abortion. The caterpillar usually bore clean, circular holes in pods, causing extensive damage and promoting decay from secondary infection by diseases.
- Conserve natural enemies. The African bollworm has a wide variety of natural enemies. Parasitic wasps and predators such as ants, lacewings, and ladybird beetles are important in natural control of this pest.
- Inspect plants regularly; once or twice a week after plants begins to bloom. Early detection of eggs and/or caterpillars before they bore into the pods is important.
- Hand pick and destroy eggs and caterpillars. This helps when their numbers are low and in small fields.
- If necessary, spray with Bt or neem extracts. Good spray coverage and targeting small caterpillars before they bore into the pods is very important.