How to recognize beet armyworm 

The beet armyworm is a small moth that is about 15 mm in length. The wingspan is 25-30 mm. The wings have a yellowish kidney-shaped spot and are held in a characteristic position. The wings are somewhat folded around the body when resting. A female can deposit around 300-600 eggs in multiple layers during her 15-day lifespan. They are (green)grey and covered in fluffy hairs. After a few days, the caterpillars will emerge and stay together in webs. The caterpillars are pale yellow-green and turn greener over time depending on their host plant. They will always have light stripe over the length of their bodies. The caterpillars spread across the plant when they get older. Fully grown caterpillars leave the plant and pupate in the soil. The pupae are light brown and 15-20 mm in size. 

Beet armyworm caterpillar Spodoptera exigua
Beet armyworm caterpillar
Beet armyworm Spodoptera exigua
Beet armyworm

Beet armyworm damage and distribution 

The beet armyworm has a broad host range. Especially in ornamentals, such as chrysanthemum, gerbera and rose, this species is known to cause problems. In addition, crops like bell pepper can be infested in large numbers. The moth can also develop outdoors during summer on herbs like dandelions, Senecio, Rumex and Ononis. The moths hide during the day and become active in the evening and at night. A lot of damage is done in the plant head, where growth buds are destroyed by feeding. Large caterpillars can eat complete leaves with the exception of the main vein. Often many excrements can be found, especially with large caterpillars 

Beet armyworm life cycle

  • 50-150 eggs per group
  • pupa light brown, 5-20 mm, pupal stage takes about six days
  • egg to adult in 35 days at 20ºC and 17 days at 30 ºC

Beet armyworm host plants

  • chrysanthemum, gerbera, rose and pot plants
  • crops, such as paprika
  • herbaceous plants, such as dandelions
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Common caterpillar and moth species

Carnation tortrix
Box tree
moth
European pepper moth
Beet
armyworm
Silver Y
moth
Bright-line brown-eye
Cabbage
moth

Tomato
looper
Eikenprocessierups bestrijding
Oak
processionary