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Pink Bollworm

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Pink bollworm
Scientific Name:
Pectinophora gossypiella (Saunders) (Naranjo et al. 2002)
Common Name:
Pink bollworm (PBW)
Pink bollworms emerging from a damaged cotton boll - Peggy Greb, USDA, Agricultural Research Service


  • U.S. Department of Agriculture.
    U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced today that U.S. cotton is free — after more than 100 years — of the devastating pink bollworm. This pest has cost U.S. producers tens of millions of dollars in yearly control costs and yield losses. Thanks to rigorous control and regulatory activities carried out by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), state departments of agriculture, the U.S. cotton industry, and growers, pink bollworm has been eliminated (PDF | 176 KB) from all cotton-producing areas in the continental United States. As a result, USDA is lifting the domestic quarantine for pink bollworm, relieving restrictions on the domestic and international movement of U.S. cotton.
Native To:
Possibly the eastern Indian Ocean region (Henneberry and Naranjo 1998)
Date of U.S. Introduction:
First detected in Texas in 1917 (Henneberry and Naranjo 1998)
Means of Introduction:
Arrived from northern Mexico naturally or through infested shipments (Henneberry and Naranjo 1998)
Adults lay eggs on cotton bolls; once hatched, the larvae eat the seeds and damage the fibers of the cotton, reducing the yield and quality (Henneberry and Naranjo 1998)
Current U.S. Distribution:
Southwestern U.S.


  • U.S. Government Printing Office. Electronic Code of Federal Regulations.

  • USDA. APHIS. Plant Protection and Quarantine.

    A Federal Order is a legal document issued in response to an emergency when the Administrator of APHIS considers it necessary to take regulatory action to protect agriculture or prevent the entry and establishment into the United States of a pest or disease. Federal Orders are effective immediately and contain the specific regulatory requirements.



  • Google. YouTube; California Department of Food and Agriculture.
    Following a Pink Bollworm quarantine and eradication program that endured for more than 50 years, the USDA lifted regulations for the cotton pest in September 2018. In this video, the California Department of Food and Agriculture examines the history of the program and the innovation that brought it at long last to a conclusion.

Selected Resources

The section below contains highly relevant resources for this species, organized by source. Or, to display all related content view all resources for Pink Bollworm.


European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization.

USDA. APHIS. PPQ. CPHST. Identification Technology Program.

Federal Government

USDAAPHIS. Plant Protection and Quarantine.

International Government

India Ministry of Agriculture.
See also: CICR Technical Bulletins for more factsheets

State and Local Government

Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce. Division of Plant Industry.
California Department of Food and Agriculture. Plant Health and Pest Prevention Services.


University of California. Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program.
University of Arizona. Cooperative Extension.
See also: Cotton Insect Publications for more factsheets
Texas A&M University. Texas Cooperative Extension.


Texas State Historical Association.