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Losses from earworms impact falling in Brazil

Losses from infestations of earworms (Helicoverpa spp) in Brazil are being contained after two years of huge losses. That is the opinion of a researcher at the Ministry of Agriculture maize research corporation, the Embrapa Milho. The fall in incidences of the pest this year is due to the use of biological control agents. “It is common to see Helicoverpa eggs hosting Trichogramma spp parasitoid wasps, while other predators are impacting numbers. Natural enemies were not widespread two years ago,” the corporation notes. “The pest is present but not causing considerable damage.” It further cautions that chemical insecticides have impacted on such predators as well as the pest. Reported losses from the pest totalled some R$10,000 million (US$3,700 million) in the previous two years, leading to a 30% rise in pesticide costs for arable crop growers.  The country introduced emergency measures against the pest in late 2013.

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