From the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services:
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Prior to this summer, the Old World Bollworm, Helicoverpa armigera, had never before been found in the continental United States outside of port interceptions. Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam today announced that after the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the United States Department of Agriculture’s initial finding of three, adult male Old World Bollworms in June 2015 in Bradenton, Fla., there have been no additional finds.
“The Old World Bollworm is the sixth new pest discovered in Florida in the past 90 days. Invasive species cost Florida $100 million per year, and they continue to pose a threat to our $120 billion agriculture industry and the economy as a whole,” stated Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam. “Our scientists who conduct enhanced trapping and rigorous analysis at our laboratory are on the forefront of defending our agriculture industry.”
The Old World Bollworm is a highly destructive pest to agriculture and is responsible for global crop damage. The Old World Bollworm feeds on more than 200 plant species, including corn, tomatoes, potatoes, soy, cotton, grains, and more.
In conjunction with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has installed 202 traps within a 9-mile area. Traps are checked on a weekly basis, and suspect specimens are shipped to the Gainesville laboratory for analysis and identification. Monitoring of these traps will continue.
Agriculture is Florida’s second largest industry—second only to tourism—with a $120 billion economic impact. The agriculture industry supports more than 2 million jobs and produces approximately 300 commodities. There are 47,740 farm operations in the state, covering more than 9.5 million acres of land.