Helicoverpa armigera (Hübner) and Helicoverpa punctigera (Wallengren) are the two most important insect pests of cotton production in Australia and require application of insecticides to control them. H. armigera has developed resistance to several insecticides but H. punctigera has not. Cost-effective management of insecticide resistance requires that growers be able to determine the proportion of H. armigera eggs or young larvae present on their crop before applying insecticides. This is impossible visually. We generated two monoclonal antibodies that reacted with the insect protein “lipophorin” and were capable of discriminating individuals of the two species at all life-stages. The antibodies were incorporated into a rapid test kit that was tested under field conditions over two growing seasons. Results obtained with the kit agreed closely with those obtained by rearing larvae through to second instar.
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Vol. 93 • No. 3