African bollworm

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A.M. Varela, icipe
Is this a Minor Pest?
Minor Pest Title

African bollworm (Helicoverpa armigera)

Minor Pest Description

It causes damage to sorghum by eating the seeds. Damage is particular serious on compact headed sorghums. The caterpillars appear on the ear heads when the grains are in the milk ripe stage. These caterpillars also feed on whorl leaves. A heavy infestation can cause an almost complete loss of yield.

Minor Pest What to do.
  • Inspect field once or twice a week after sorghum begins to bloom. Check for presence of caterpillars by shaking heads over a bucket or sweep net.
  • If necessary spray with Bt or neem extracts. Good spray coverage is very important, particularly in partially opened heads or in varieties that have tight heads where young caterpillars are well protected. For more information on Neem click here. For information on Bt click here
  • Handpick and destroy the caterpillars. This helps when their numbers are low and in small fields.
Minor Pest Position
Minor Pest Firstcontent
Pest Type
Common names; African bollworm, Fruitworm, Podborer, Corn earworm, Tomato grub, Tobacco budworm
Other Crops
Host Plants

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