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More on Helicoverpa moths and caterpillars

With the aid of advisors around Victoria and southern NSW, we have been tracking native budworm (Helicoverpa punctigera) flights into cropping areas (see here for recent flight activity).

While the end of flowering in the Victorian Mallee signals that our moth trapping program will draw to a close shortly, continued monitoring for larvae in spring is a must for areas that aren’t drought-affected and/or are seeing pulse and canola crops through to grain harvest.

Remember, pods are still susceptible while still green – young caterpillars can directly bore into faba bean, field pea, chickpeas and lentil pods on hot days, giving them the advantage in avoiding sweep nets (and insecticide sprays).

Canola crops and narrow-leafed lupin (less susceptible crops) are more susceptible to damage by native budworm until they are closer to maturity and leaf fall commences.

For information on calculating economic thresholds, visit our native budworm PestNote.

Be mindful of the presence of corn earworm (Helicoverpa armigera) in central and southern regions of New South Wales as we head towards November.

Generally, corn earworm has largely been problematic in winter crops grown in warmer regions, typically in areas north of Dubbo, with native budworm more of an issue in crops in southern NSW. However, in recent years, cases of corn earworm damaging winter crops have been reported south of Dubbo. This is important because, although closely related (both are Helicoverpa sp.; previously known as Heliothis sp.), they differ markedly in their susceptibility to insecticides.

There is no known resistance to insecticides in native budworm, while corn earworm has developed varying levels of resistance to synthetic pyrethroids and carbamates and to a lesser extent, organophosphates, spinosyns, indoxacarb, and Bacillus thuringiensis.

Please contact us for assistance distinguishing between native budworm and corn earworm.

In Victoria, corn earworm activity doesn’t generally cross over into the winter cropping season. Rather it is more problematic in summer crops such as tomatoes and sweet corn. If you do suspect an issue with corn earworm in winter crops, please do let us know!


Field reports

Thanks to:

Brad Bennett – Agrivision (Mallee VIC)

Phil Bowden – Bowden Rural (South West Slopes NSW)

David Bufton (South West VIC)

Neilson Carr (Central VIC)

Adam Dellwo – Elders (Riverina NSW)

Rob Fox – Agrivision (Wimmera VIC)

Bill Gardner (Wimmera VIC)

Shayn Healey – Crop Rite (Mallee VIC)

George Hepburn - Tylers Hardware & Rural Supplies (Wimmera VIC)

Damian Jones – Irrigated Cropping Council (Mallee VIC)

Bruce Larcombe – Larcombe Agronomy (Northern Country VIC)

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