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The name Helicoverpa refers to two species of moth, the larvae of which attack field crops in the northern grains region of Australia. These two species are Helicoverpa punctigera and H. armigera. Together, they are the most economically damaging insect pests of field crops in Queensland and northern New South Wales.

Helicoverpa armigera is generally regarded as the more serious pest because of its greater capacity to develop resistance to insecticides, its broader host range, and the fact that it persists in cropping areas from year to year, whereas H. punctigera numbers fluctuate from year to year based on conditions in its inland breeding areas.

Damage and crops attacked

Helicoverpa armigera attacks all crops but is less common in wheat and barley. In contrast, H. punctigera only attacks broadleaf crops and is not found on grass or cereal crops such as wheat, barley, sorghum or maize.

More information on Helicoverpa management in specific crops can be found in:

Helicoverpa life cycle and ecology

Understanding the life cycle and behaviour of Helicoverpa improves our ability to identify weak points in the pest´s biology and ecology, and so manage it more sustainably.

Insecticides and transgenic crops

Natural enemies



Cultural controls and other tactics

Last updated 05 October 2011