Pest Profile

Helicoverpa zea
  • Bollworm on cotton
  • Bollworm on cotton
  • Cotton bollworm moth

Management guide

Pest Description

The adult is a medium-sized, cream-colored moth and is seen frequently throughout the day during periods of heavy infestations. Moths lay eggs singly, mostly on the young terminal leaves and sometimes on leaves and squares within the canopy. Eggs are the size of a pinhead, white to cream colored and hatch in two or three days during warm weather. Young larvae are difficult to find until they are about three to four days old. At this stage, they are about ¼ inch long and brownish colored with some scattered hairs. The full-grown larva is about 1½ inches long with a light-colored head capsule. The predominant body color may range from pink or green to various shades of tan or dark brown. A series of dark stripes run lengthwise on the body.

Source of information

J.P. Michaud (

Pest photo source

J.P. Michaud and Phil Sloderbeck, KSU Entomology