Insect Pests - Caterpillars
Developed by Mark Bell, Frank Zalom, Emily Symmes, and Mark Henderson - UC Davis International Programs Office (2009)
"What are Caterpillars?
Caterpillars are the immature or larval forms of moths and butterflies; they make up the very large insect order Lepidoptera. A few of the most important caterpillar pests of crops include beet armyworm (Spodoptera), tomato fruitworm (a.k.a. corn earworm, American bollworm), and cutworms. See page two for photos of several Lepidopteran pests.
What is the Damage Caused?
Caterpillars often feed on the crowns of leafy vegetables causing severe stunting and possible death. When plant heads form, caterpillars may burrow inside from the bottom, making it difficult to detect infestation. Cutworms typically feed at or below ground level, attacking stalks and roots. Loopers feed on the undersides of leaves, often skeletonizing them. Fall caterpillar populations typically cause more damage than spring populations.
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