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(also corn earworm; Heliothis armigera), a moth of the family Noctuidae. The anterior wings are grayish yellow, and the posterior wings are lighter. The wingspan is 30–40 mm. The cotton bollworm is distributed in cotton-growing countries. In the USSR it is found in the southern European portion and in the Caucasus. The pupae winter in the soil, and the moths hatch in spring, when the temperature of the upper layer of soil is 17° to 20°C. They lay their eggs, about 500 at a time, on the upper parts of the plants.
The caterpillars damage more than 120 species of cultivated and wild plants. The plants most often damaged are cotton, corn, chick-pea, tomato, kenaf, tobacco, and soy. When feeding on cotton, the insects first skeletonize the leaves and then damage the buds, flowers, and ovaries, causing them to fall; subsequently they eat the seeds out of the bolls. The caterpillars also feed on corn in the ears and eat the seeds of tobacco and tomatoes.
Control measures include autumn plowing and the destruction of flowering weeds in the spring. Infected corn, tobacco, chickpea, and tomato crops are treated with insecticides in May (treatment is discontinued 25–30 days before harvest), while cotton is treated during budding. Other control measures include early cutting of corn for silage, the destruction of eggs and caterpillars during chopping of cotton, and the removal of post-harvest plant wastes from fields.