Budworm Control in Your Garden

Lepidoptera : Noctuidae

Budworm is Australia’s most destructive and widespread caterpillar pest. It is a pest that has many common names shared between two moth species in the genus Helicoverpa. The common names Corn Earworm, Cotton Bollworm, Tobacco Budworm, and Tomato Grub or Tomato Fruitworm are usually applied to Helicoverpa armigera, and Helicoverpa punctigera is known as Native Budworm. Notably, Corn Earworm (Helicoverpa zea) does not occur in Australia.

The problem is that the caterpillars boring into your tomatoes may be either species, and one or both species is found in all regions of Australia. It takes a trained eye to see the difference between the two, especially at larval (caterpillar) stage. One species, Helicoverpa armigera, is resistant to many of the synthetic insecticides registered against it. However there are some products available that work very well.

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