Latest Resistance management for sustainable agriculture and improved public health

Corn earworm

Helicoverpa zea

This polyphagous moth is one of the principal enemies of cotton and maize. It frequently attacks vegetable plants: tomato, cabbage or bean but also rice, wheat and soybean.

Corn earworm is found throughout the temperate and (sub)tropical parts of the Americas. It cannot overwinter successfully farther north than about 40°C (104°F); but being highly dispersive, it will immigrate into the northern USA and southern Canada each spring

Adults appear in April-May and can be observed until October. Females lay several hundred eggs (up to 3 000) on all parts of the plant, flowers and fruits included. Depending on the climate 2 to 7 generations can be observed. The life cycle is completed in about 30 days.

The most severe damage is caused by the attack on reproductive parts (flower buds and heads, berries and maize inflorescence.

Corn earworm resistance profile

Resistance to many insecticides has been reported for H. zea, in North-America and Latin America, mainly from the carbamates (MoA 1A), organo-phospates (MoA # 1B), pyrethroids (MoA # 3A) families, or to BT (Bacillus thuringiensis) compounds. Resistance was reported to a lesser extend than for H. armigera, mainly because of lesser geographic distribution compared to H. armigera.

Species Distribution Chemical class Mechanisms
Helicoverpa zea North-America, Latin-America Organophosphates (1B) Target site resistance insensitive acetylcholinesterase (AChE)
Helicoverpa zea North-America, Latin-America Pyrethroids-Pyrethrins (3A) Target site resistance
Helicoverpa zea North-America, Latin-America Bacillus thuringiensis and the insecticidal proteins they produce (11A) Target site resistance

Key corn earworm resources


Title Year Author(s) Publisher
Resistance to Pyrethroid Insecticides in Helicoverpa zea (Boddie) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae): Bioassay Validation, Voltage-Gated Sodium Channel Mutations and CYP6B Overexpression Analysis Doctoral dissertation 2010 Hopkins BW Texas A&M University
The Helicoverpa zea (Boddie) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) voltage-gated sodium channel and mutations associated with pyrethroid resistance in field-collected adult males Vol. 40 (5), pp. 385-393. DOI: 10.1016/j.ibmb.2010.03.004 2010 Hopkins BW, Pietrantonio PV Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Resistance to insecticides in heliothine Lepidoptera: a global view Vol. 353 (1376), pp.1735-50. DOI: 10.1098/rstb.1998.0326 1998 McCaffery AR Royal Society of London (Biological Sciences)
Novel mutations in the para-homologous sodium channel gene associated with phenotypic expression of nerve insensitivity resistance to pyrethroids in Heliothine lepidoptera. Vol. 7 (2), pp. 191-196 1998 Head DJ, McCaffery AR, Callaghan A Insect Molecular Biology

The information provided is based on literature reviews and as such IRAC cannot guarantee or be held accountable for the accuracy of the reports.

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