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ARS Home » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #151655


item Esquivel, Jesus

Submitted to: Journal of Entomological Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/4/2003
Publication Date: 7/1/2004
Citation: Esquivel, J.F. 2004. Lamium amplexicaule L. - A new host record for Helicoverpa zea (Boddie) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae). Journal of Entomological Science. 39(3):457-459.

Interpretive Summary: The bollworm, or corn earworm, is an economically damaging pest of corn and cotton. The bollworm can feed on numerous wild plants when the primary hosts may not be available. However, previous wild host plant studies have not reported henbit as a host for the bollworm. Blooming henbit was sampled near College Station, TX, and 14 bollworm eggs and 18 larvae were collected. Two eggs and several larvae produced bollworm moths. These observations indicate henbit can support developing bollworm populations. Mowing or plowing of henbit before or during the cropping season may be required to minimize developing bollworm populations. Alternatively, the potential use of wild hosts as a refuge to produce susceptible bollworms may become an integral component of bollworm management strategies for genetically modified crops. Henbit may contribute to the refuge requirements but additional work is needed to determine the impact of this previously unreported host on developing bollworm populations.

Technical Abstract: Helicoverpa zea is a polyphagous pest of corn and cotton, and this has contributed to the ongoing difficulties in controlling this pest. Previous studies have shown H. zea utilizes many wild host plants, but Lamium amplexicaule has not been previously reported as a host for H. zea. H. zea eggs and larvae were collected from blooming L. amplexicaule near College Station, TX. In total, 14 eggs and 18 H. zea larvae were collected during April 2003. Larval sizes ranged primarily from second to fourth instars. Nine larvae and 2 eggs yielded H. zea adults. Some eggs did not hatch and some larvae died. The presence of H. zea eggs and larvae on L. amplexicaule suggests this previously unreported host might sustain early-season H. zea populations. This new host plant may influence management of this host as a cultural control technique for H. zea. Alternately, this new host plant may contribute to resistance management efforts required for transgenic crops. However, additional research is required to determine the impact of this newly reported host to developing H. zea populations.