Update on the situation of Helicoverpa armigera in Hungary
In Hungary, Helicoverpa armigera (EPPO A2 quarantine pest) is a migratory species which occasionally invades the country from the south and southeast. Damage was recorded in 1951, 1986 and more recently in 1993, mainly on maize and tobacco (see EPPO RS 94/216). Damage was even more serious in 1994, as H. armigera has been found also on ornamentals, vegetables (paprika, tomato, bean, pea, celery, broccoli, leek), alfalfa, sunflower, sugar beet and even young apple trees. In addition, as recent winters were mild, pupae were often able to overwinter in the upper layer of the soil.
Studies on adult populations have also been carried out using 25 light traps placed in Hungarian forests from 1993 to 1994. A higher level of adult population has been found in 1994 compared to 1993. In both years, the main flight period occurred in August/September. Adult moths were most abundant in the warmer central and southern parts of the country. As trapped insects were intact, it is suggested that they belong to a generation which had developed in Hungary. Climatic studies on a longer period showed that H. armigera outbreaks are observed in Hungary during years with warm and dry summers.
As future outbreaks of H. armigera may be expected, studies on sex pheromone traps are being carried out in order to detect this unwanted immigrant as soon as possible. A potent attractant has therefore been developed in Hungary.