A number of caterpillar species feed on the squares and bolls of the cotton plant. Among these are the cotton bollworm [Helicoverpa zea (Boddie)], tobacco budworm [Heliothis virescens (Fabricius)], pink bollworm [Pectinophora gossypiella (Saunders)] beet armyworm [Spodoptera exigua (Hubner)], and fall armyworm {S. frugiperda (J.E. smith)]. Prior to the introduction of Bt transgenic cotton varieties the cotton bollworm/tobacco budworm complex in the east and the pink bollworm in the far west consistently caused the greatest losses to cotton. Today, with the new two gene technology few insecticide applications are required for these pests as well as the armyworms and the foliage feeding looper species.


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