Sugar Snap Hitchhiker
Location:  Maidenhead, UK
August 18, 2010 7:19 am
Greetings from the rainy UK, where we have discovered a hitchhiker from sunnier climes, smuggled in by a large supermarket chain inside a Sugar Snap pea pod. Now a few days old and finishing his third set of peas, Claudio is doing well. Any ideas whether he will become more interesting when he pupates?
Wil Mohr

African Bollworm

Update:  Sugar Snap Hitchkiker
August 19, 2010
Hi Bugman, after further investigation, have found it appears to be the dull
and unspectacular African Bollworm – Helicoverpa armigera (Synonym:
Heliothis armigera)
best regards – wil

Hi Wil,
Thank you so much for taking the time to write back after you self-identified your African Bollworm,
Helicoverpa armigera, also known as the Old World Bollworm.  The Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health website provides this information:  “Old world bollworm is native to Europe and Asia. It is not known to be established in North America. Possible routes for introduction include imported cuttings, fruits, vegetables, and flowers, as well as hitchhiking on aircraft. This species is a general feeder and is highly resistant to pesticides. Hosts include a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, weeds, ornamental plants, and flowers. A partial list includes pine, larch, crab apple, artichoke, barley, carrot, coffee, mango, alfalfa, cotton, tobacco, tomatoes, okra, onion, peppers, leek, clover, potatoes, wheat, maize, flax, soybean, sorghum, rice, millet, lucerne, strawberry, chickpeas, crucifers, legumes, cucurbits, Prunus spp., citrus, Amaranth spp., and sow thistle. In summer, a life cycle can be completed in 5 to 7 weeks. Following generations feed on other plantings of the same crop or on other hosts. One female moth may lay up to 1,500 eggs. The dome-like eggs have a ribbed surface and are pearly white when laid, but change to brown as they develop. The young caterpillars are predominantly green but the colors vary through development. When mature, larvae may be up to 2 inches long and usually have striped patterns over a base color that ranges from light green to brown to black. Distinct hairs are visible when held up to the light. Larval development takes 2 to 3 weeks before pupation occurs in the soil. The reddish-brown pupa stays in the soil for 10 to 14 days when not overwintering. Adults have light fawn forewings with a kidney-shaped spot in the middle. Hindwings are grey to grey-brown. Both wings have a broad dark band on the outer third of the wing but the band on the hind wing has a pale patch in the middle of the dark band. When resting, the wings are held roof-like over the body. In the UK, it is known as the Scarce Bordered Straw and the UK Moths website has this information:  “An immigrant species to Britain, mainly around the southern coasts, and occurring most often in the autumn months.
It is also found as a larva from time to time on tomato plants, geraniums and other plants brought in from the Mediterranean region, where it can be a pest.

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