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Native budworm

Researcher, Stuart McColl (cesar), reports finding native budworm (Helicoverpa punctigera) larvae in a canola crop near Elmore, in the Northern Country district of Victoria. When using a sweep-net an average of 10 caterpillars were found in 6 sweeps, and these ranged in size from 20–40 mm in length. There have also been several unconfirmed reports of native budworm causing problems in some parts of the Wimmera district of Victoria, although many crops have now been cut for hay or harvested

Entomologist, Peter Mangano (DAFWA), states that some pulse and canola crops remain at risk of damage by native budworm whilst the pods have some suppleness and the seeds are not yet dry and hard. As crops begin to mature and pods harden it is unlikely that native budworm grubs will be able to cause significant crop damage in many regions. However, it is important to remember that budworm could still cause damage to windrows, particularly if there are prolonged cool and damp conditions.

The size of native budworm larvae and time till harvest are important factors that need to be considered when estimating the potential feeding damage likely to occur. Under warm conditions native budworm can complete their lifecycle in approximately 3 weeks and larvae are most damaging from mid to late instars (15-30 mm).

Click here for images of native budworm and refer to PestFacts Issue No. 10 for further information.

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