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Brazilian earworms coming under control

Earworms (Helicoverpa spp) that caused such huge losses in Brazil two years ago remain but “occur within normal parameters and [are] containable”. That is the assessment of researchers from the agricultural research corporation, the Embrapa. Researcher Ivan Cruz believes that the falling occurrence of the pest is due to actions of natural predators. “Today it is common to see Trichogramma becoming parasitic to Helicoverpa eggs,” he notes. “There is also Orius spp, present on maize ears and eating Helicoverpa eggs … we have many biological control agents and in large quantities, and although the pest remains present, the damages it is causing are no longer considerable." Devastating losses from earworms led two years ago to emergency measures such as approvals of biological controls and of imports of emamectin benzoate insecticide.

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