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The Bureau of Plant Industry

Pink Bollworm

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Kenneth Calcote


P.O. Box 5207
Mississippi State, MS 39762


Telephone: 662.325.8488
Fax: 662.325.8397

The Pink Bollworm, (Pectinophora gossypiella), is considered possibly the most destructive pest on cotton worldwide. It is native to Asia and has been reported in several states in the Southwest. The Pink Bollworm prefers cotton but will also feed on Okra, Kenaf, and Hibiscus.

The larvae of the Pink Bollworm bores into cotton bolls and feeds on the seeds destroying the cotton, losses up to 20% have been reported in Egypt, China, and Brazil.

After feeding on the seed the larvae will stay inside the seed or fall to the ground to pupate. 3 to 5 life cycles per year are possible depending on the climate.

In warm climate the larvae will overwinter inside cotton or okra pods left in the field after harvest. In cold climates the larvae forms cocoons in the soil. The larvae can also survive in the seed after the ginning process and if the seed is not fumigated they will emerge from the stored seed the next spring.

USDA-APHIS-PPQ places traps for the detection of Pink Bollworm in the cotton-producing areas of the state.