REPORT the Old
World Bollworm

Old World Bollworm

The old world bollworm is a significant threat to U.S. agriculture. Immediately report signs of damage.

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The Old World Bollworm (Helicoverpa armigera) is known to attack more than 180 plant species and can cause serious crop losses, especially in tomato, corn, soybean, and cotton. Damage occurs when the larvae bore into the host’s flowers and fruit and feed within the plant; the larvae may also feed on the leaves of host plants. Old world bollworm was detected in Puerto Rico in 2014 and Florida in 2015. If it were to spread into the continental United States, it could seriously harm U.S. agricultural production, the environment, and our economy.



Where Is the Threat?

What's at Risk?

  • More than 180 plant species, including:

  • Corn

  • Cotton

  • Small grains

  • Soybeans

  • Peppers

  • Tomatoes

Source of the Threat

  • Moving or mailing infested fruits, vegetables, or plants

  • Bringing infested fruits, vegetables, and plants into the United States in passenger baggage

  • Moths or larvae hitchhiking in international cargo

  • Moths carried long distances by wind

Signs and Symptoms

  • Adult moths and larvae on flowers, fruit or leaves of host plants

  • Holes bored into the base of flower buds, fruit, or bolls

  • Other signs of damage to leaves and shoots

  • Young fruit or bolls that fall prematurely

  • Larvae or damage within the plant's fruit (may need to cut open the fruit to see this)

What You Can Do

What You Can Do

  • Do not bring or mail fresh fruits, vegetables, plants or soil into your state or another state unless agricultural inspectors have cleared them first.

  • Allow authorized agricultural workers access to property to install and inspect insect-monitoring traps.

  • Contact your local Extension office ( or State Plant Regulatory Official ( if you suspect old world bollworm.