The cotton bollworm is variable in both size and colour. The body length varies between 12 millimeters (0.47 in) and 20 millimeters (0.79 in) with a wingspan of 30–40 millimeters (1.2–1.6 in). The forewings are yellowish to orange in females and greenish-gray in males, with a slightly darker transversal band in the distal third. The external transversal and sub marginal lines and the reniform spot are diffused. The hind wings are a pale yellow with a narrow brown band at the external edge and a dark round spot in the middle
Cotton : Bore holes are visible at the base of flower buds, the latter being hollowed out. Bracteoles are spread out and curled downwards. Leaves and shoots may also be consumed by larvae. Larger larvae bore into maturing green bolls; young bolls fall after larval damage. Adults lay fewer eggs on smooth-leaved varieties..
Tomato : Young fruits are invaded and fall; larger larvae may bore into older fruits. Secondary infections by other organisms lead to rotting.
Maize: Eggs are laid on the silks, larvae invade the cobs and developing grain is consumed.
Chickpea : Foliage, sometimes entire small plants consumed; larger larvae bore into pods and consume developing seed. Resistant cultivars exist.
Pigeon pea: Flower buds and flowers bored by small larvae may drop; larger larvae bore into locules of pods and consume developing seed. Short duration and determinate varieties are subject to greater damage. Less-preferred varieties exist.
Groundnut : Leaves, sometimes flowers attacked by larvae; severe infestations cause defoliation. Less preferred varieties exist.
Okra : The young larvae on hatching feed on foliage for some time and later bore into the fruits with their bodies hanging outside.
Grapes : Insects feed on grapevine leaves, roots, flowers / berries and shoots are the most destructive. Secondary bacterial infections are common.