Old world bollworm is native to Europe and Asia. It is not known
to be established in North America. Possible routes for introduction
include imported cuttings, fruits, vegetables, and flowers, as well as
hitchhiking on aircraft. This species is a general feeder and is highly
resistant to pesticides. Hosts include a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, weeds, ornamental plants, and flowers. A partial list includes pine, larch, crab apple, artichoke, barley, carrot, coffee, mango, alfalfa, cotton, tobacco, tomatoes, okra, onion, peppers, leek, clover, potatoes, wheat, maize, flax, soybean, sorghum, rice, millet, lucerne, strawberry, chickpeas, crucifers, legumes, cucurbits, Prunus spp., citrus, Amaranth spp., and sow thistle. In summer, a life cycle can be completed in 5 to
7 weeks. Following generations feed on other plantings of the same
crop or on other hosts. One female moth may lay up to 1,500 eggs.
The dome-like eggs have a ribbed surface and are pearly white when
laid, but change to brown as they develop. The young caterpillars are
predominantly green but the colors vary through development. When
mature, larvae may be up to 2 inches long and usually have striped
patterns over a base color that ranges from light green to brown to
black. Distinct hairs are visible when held up to the light. Larval
development takes 2 to 3 weeks before pupation occurs in the soil.
The reddish-brown pupa stays in the soil for 10 to 14 days when not
overwintering. Adults have light fawn forewings with a kidney-shaped
spot in the middle. Hindwings are grey to grey-brown. Both wings
have a broad dark band on the outer third of the wing but the band
on the hind wing has a pale patch in the middle of the dark band.
When resting, the wings are held roof-like over the body.