Helicoverpa armigera (Heliothis)

Helicoverpa armigera (Heliothis)

Helicoverpa armigera (Heliothis, oruga de la col)

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Diagnostic characters

State Size Features

Larva Up to 40 mm Variable color from green to brown, with clear longitudinal lines and a thick yellowish stripe that runs all over its body. It has a good number of black hairs that come out of white spots. The head is brown.

Adult-35-40 mm Wings earlier yellowish and somewhat lighter back with the ends of a darker gray.

Egg 0,5 mm Cylindrical and fluted. White although it darkens as it evolves.

Phenological cycle

Total Egg Larva cycle

Duration (d) 3-20 20 30

Adults appear in the spring, they mate and the females usually lay on the leaves. The caterpillars begin to feed on the vegetable with a clear preference for the nitrogen-rich parts, such as flowers and fruits. After completing all its stages, the caterpillar weaves a cocoon of silk and pupa inside, buried in the ground. New adults will give rise to future generations.

Annual generations


Symptoms / Damage

He prefers to eat flowers and fruits, so his damages are very important.

It also attacks leaves, buds and stems of a wide variety of species.

The main damages are the destruction of flowers and the drilling of fruits, which then rot and are depreciated commercially.


- Chemical

The chemical control is complicated, it is necessary to focus on destroying the caterpillars in their first stages. In addition it is an insect prone to develop resistances. There is a large amount of active materials that can be used to combat it depending on the crop.

Substances like Bacillus thiringiensis or spinosad are microbiological insecticides, of natural origin and give good results when the caterpillars are small, but the frequency of treatments is greater than in the rest, having to repeat them every week approximately.

The IGR or biorracinal insecticides (flufenoxuron, lufenuron, tebufenocida, etc.) are selective, so they affect very little the beneficial organisms that can be found in the crop.

Pyrethroids (alpha cypermethrin, lambda-cyhalothrin, cyfluthrin, beta-cyfluthrin, etofenprox, etc.) have a good shock effect, but beneficial insects will also be affected.

As a last option you can choose chlorpyrifos (an organophosphate) that is even more powerful than pyrethroids.

It is convenient to alternate between different chemical groups to avoid the development of resistance.

- Biological

There are predators (Orius spp., Lacewings), parasitoids (trichogramma, Apanteles), viruses and fungi, which are important allies in the control of this insect.

- Cultural measures

Pheromone traps. They are indispensable, since they will allow to know the exact moment in which to carry out the treatments.

Bait plants. The caterpillar of the tomato prefers the corn to other plants, species to which it will attack before. Maize lines can be intercalated with any other crop, for example tomato. This measure will serve to locate the initial attacks.

It is advisable to eliminate weeds, since the insect also develops on them.

Data sheet
45 days / 6 weeks
Horticultural & Ornamental


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Helicoverpa armigera (Heliothis)

Helicoverpa armigera (Heliothis, oruga de la col)

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