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Plantwise Technical Factsheet

spiny bollworm (Earias biplaga)

Host plants / species affected
Abelmoschus esculentus (okra)
Abutilon (Indian mallow)
Abutilon indicum (country mallow)
Alcea rosea (Hollyhock)
Ceiba pentandra (kapok)
Gossypium (cotton)
Hibiscus (rosemallows)
Hibiscus cannabinus (kenaf)
Hibiscus rosa-sinensis (China-rose)
Hibiscus sabdariffa (Roselle)
Theobroma cacao (cocoa)
Urena lobata (caesar weed)
List of symptoms/signs
Fruit  -  abnormal shape
Fruit  -  internal feeding
Growing point  -  external feeding
Growing point  -  internal feeding; boring
Seeds  -  distortion
Seeds  -  internal feeding
Whole plant  -  dwarfing
Whole plant  -  external feeding
Whole plant  -  frass visible
Whole plant  -  internal feeding
Whole plant  -  uprooted or toppled
The symptoms depend on the stage at which the crop is attacked. On cotton, in early stages the plant will wilt, when the larva is in green bolls they may become deformed.
Prevention and control

Cultural Control and Sanitary Methods

Cultural control measures will depend very much on the crop, the surroundings and the climate. E. biplaga feeds on a wide range of plants and may prefer wild hosts to crops. If crops are grown while wild hosts are available nearby, the crops may not be badly affected. Wild hosts will also maintain a supply of natural enemies. The pest cannot diapause, so in arid areas it will only survive if there are suitable wild host plants available during the dry season. Removal of these will reduce pest numbers greatly. The situation to be avoided is where pest numbers can build up on wild hosts and then transfer to the crop when that is more readily available.

In Uganda, El-Heneidy and Sekematte (1996) found that populations of predatory arthropods were constantly higher on cotton grown with trap crops than on cotton grown alone, throughout both growing seasons. Seed cotton yields were also higher (20-25%) in cotton grown with trap crops.

Host-Plant Resistance

Decazy and Coulibaly (1982) stated that cocoa clones C 409 and C 1 are highly susceptible to attack by E. biplaga; as is clone UF667 (Nguyen Ban, 1972)

For cotton, Reed (1974) found that the glandless varieties were the most susceptible, and the Frego bract and nectariless varieties were the least attacked.

Biological Control

There are no reports of biological control in the field, although preparations were made for the release of Trichogrammatoidea lutea in Côte d'Ivoire (Nguyen Ban and Kumar, 1974).

Chemical Control

Due to the variable regulations around (de-)registration of pesticides, we are for the moment not including any specific chemical control recommendations. For further information, we recommend you visit the following resources:

E. biplaga is a significant pest in sub-Saharan Africa, but the exact damage attributable to this species is often not distinguished from that caused by other noctuid larvae: Earias insulana, Heliothis armigera and Diparopsis species.
Related treatment support
External factsheets
TNAU Agritech Portal Crop Protection Factsheets, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, English language
TNAU Agritech Portal Crop Protection Factsheets, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Tamil language
Bayer CropScience Crop Compendium, Bayer CropScience, English language
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