Bollworm, common name for the caterpillar of a particular moth when it is found on cotton. It is also known as the corn earworm and tomato fruitworm, terms derived from the names of the plants it infests. The adult is about 1.9 cm (about 0.75 in) in length and varies in color from yellowish-white to dull green. The larvae may be bright green, deep pink, or dark brown and may be plain, spotted, or striped. In the northern United States, the insect produces two generations a year; in the South it may produce as many as six. The adult deposits its eggs on the plant, and, after hatching, the larvae feed on the plant for about three weeks and drop to the ground, burrowing into the soil to pupate. The last generation of the summer passes the winter in the pupal stage. In the United States, caterpillars cause millions of dollars in damage annually to cotton and corn crops.
Scientific classification: The bollworm belongs to the family Noctuidae of the order Lepidoptera. It is classified as Helicoverpa zea.