Brazil: Helicoverpa armigera Caterpillar Eats its Way through $900M Cotton, Soybeans » Blog Archive

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The Helicoverpa armigera caterpillar was discovered in Brazil’s northeastern state of Bahia last year and spread rapidly to the country’s Cerrado region in 2013. The pest has already cost Brazilian producers up to $900 million in damages to cotton and soybean crops.

DTN has discovered the same pest has already been intercepted thousands of times in the United States over the past few decades. Although it has yet to establish a population here, scientists said the chance of a U.S. invasion of the highly mobile moth is possible.

“I think what the Brazil case demonstrates is how mobile this pest is,” said Rob Venette, a research biologist with USDA’s Forest Service who specializes in invasion biology. “It demonstrates the potential for it to be moved, likely in some form of international trade.”

The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) ranks Helicoverpa armigera as a high-priority pest in corn, cotton, small grains and soybeans, and efforts are underway to keep it out of American fields. Should it ever successfully invade the U.S., we’ll know quickly, University of Arizona entomologist Yves Carriere told DTN.

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LocationCoordinatesRelevanceShow on map
United States39.76°N 98.5°W0.603Yes
Brazil10°S 55°W0.322No
Mexico23°N 102°W0.250No
Cerrado, Paraná, Brazil24.55°S 50.58°W0.213No
Bahia, California, United States38.1°N 122.1°W0.209No
New York, New York, United States40.71°N 74.01°W0.197No
Texas, United States31.25°N 99.25°W0.186No
North Carolina, United States35.5°N 80°W0.179No
China35°N 105°E0.179No
Florida, United States28.75°N 82.5°W0.170No
India22°N 79°E0.170No
Pakistan30°N 70°E0.169No
Australia25°S 135°E0.158No
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Brazil: Helicoverpa armigera Caterpillar Eats its Way through $900M Cotton, Soybeans » Blog Archive
Original text (summary): 

The Helicoverpa armigera caterpillar was discovered in Brazil’s northeastern state of Bahia last year and spread rapidly to the country’s Cerrado region in 2013. The pest has already cost Brazilian producers up to $900 million in damages to cotton and soybean crops.

DTN has discovered the same pest has already been intercepted thousands of times in the United States over the past few decades. Although it has yet to establish a population here, scientists said the chance of a U.S. invasion of the highly mobile moth is possible.

“I think what the Brazil case demonstrates is how mobile this pest is,” said Rob Venette, a research biologist with USDA’s Forest Service who specializes in invasion biology. “It demonstrates the potential for it to be moved, likely in some form of international trade.”

The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) ranks Helicoverpa armigera as a high-priority pest in corn, cotton, small grains and soybeans, and efforts are underway to keep it out of American fields. Should it ever successfully invade the U.S., we’ll know quickly, University of Arizona entomologist Yves Carriere told DTN.

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Helicoverpa armigera rapid spread in Brasilpotential2013-12-28
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