Efficacy of Helicoverpa Armigera Nucleopolyhedrovirus on Soybean for Control of Helicoverpa zea (Boddie) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) in Arkansas Agriculture

Joseph L. Black, Gus M. Lorenz, Aaron J. Cato, Nick R. Bateman, Nicholas J. Seiter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Helicoverpa armigera nucleopolyhedrovirus (HearNPV) is a naturally occurring virus commercially produced for control of Heliothines, including Helicoverpa zea. One drawback with using this virus for control has been the slower time to mortality compared with synthetic insecticides. However, a new formulation (Heligen® ) has anecdotally been thought to result in quicker mortality than previously observed. The objective of this study was to evaluate percent defoliation, the efficacy of HearNPV on mortality for each H. zea larval instar, and the potential for control of a second infestation. Fourteen days after the first infestation, all plants were re-infested with a second instar larva to simulate a second infestation. Helicoverpa armigera nucleopolyhedrovirus was effective at killing 1st–3rd instars, resulting in 99% mortality over 4–6 days. However, 4th and 5th instar mortality only reached 35%. Second infestation larvae died between 3.4 and 3.8 days, significantly faster than the 1st infestation of 2nd instars, which had a mean time to mortality of 4.9 days. An increase in mortality rate is probably due to increasing viral concentrations after viral replication within the first hosts. Final defoliation percentages were significantly smaller in the treated plants versus the untreated plants. Only 3rd and 4th instar larvae caused percent defoliation to exceed the current Arkansas action threshold of 40%. Helicoverpa armigera nucleopolyhedrovirus in the Heligen formulation can control 1st–3rd instars within 4–6 days, while keeping defoliation below the action threshold of 40%.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number91
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022


  • Bio-pesticide
  • Helicoverpa zea
  • Heligen
  • Nucleopolyhedrovirus
  • Soybean

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Insect Science


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