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Commercial Horticulture > Comm Hort Blog > Posts > Vegetable Insect Pest Scouting Report – August 3, 2015 (Alabama)

For statewide distribution maps of various insect pest species, visit  

We have detected plenty of caterpillar activity on plants and in pheromone traps around the state. Common armyworms include the beet and yellowstriped – these caterpillars move from the foliage or stems to the developing fruits in a hurry. Tomato hornworm caterpillar feeding has been surprisingly low in our research plots in central Alabama this year. We have detected a large spike in moth activity for tomato fruitworms, fall armyworms, and soybean looper.  Looper feeding was noticeable in our research plots in Clanton – so stay alert and scout for overlapping generations of hungry caterpillars!

Although it is late in the season, but the squash vine borer moth numbers appear to keep rising across central AL (overlapping second generation?). On small organic farms, the economic threshold for squash vine borers is one moth per trap, i.e., detection is enough to trigger pest management.


Squash bug activity has been very high in Hubbard trap crops with egg numbers as much as 19 times higher than the yellow squash (main crop). We are now spraying the Hubbard squash trap crop to kill the hatching nymphs before they scatter and hide.


Leaffooted bugs are very active in the sorghum-sunflower trap crops at Cullman; in the presence of the active trap crop, leaffooted bugs have not migrated to the squash in the vicinity. If you have trap crops around your vegetable garden, then scout and remove as many leaffooted bugs as you can from sorghum. If using conventional insecticides on a farm, wait for the leaffooted bug numbers to stabilize before spraying the sorghum panicle. Do not spray the sunflower to protect pollinators. Spray only the sorghum panicles to protect pollinators.

sugarcane aphid.JPG 
CAUTION: Watch for sugarcane aphids (picture above) and corn leaf aphids (picture below) on sorghum trap crops – we had to resort to foliar insecticide spray this year (Transform®) to allow panicle emergence under very high aphid pressure. This is the first year we had to do insecticide sprays on the sorghum foliage for controlling sugarcane aphids. For more information about the sugarcane aphid and control methods, read the blog article by Dr. Kathy Flanders  ​

cornleaf aphid.JPG 
Complete insecticide recommendations can be found in the SE Vegetable Crop Handbook ( If you can keep the moths away from the crop, then that goes a long way in reducing egg and caterpillar pressure on vegetables. High tunnel crop producers and gardeners can read the pest exclusion system at (download the SARE Bulletin from the website). Organic pest management recommendations can be found in the Alternative Vegetable IPM Slide Chart which is a handy tool for small producers.


Other useful resources for producers:

Vegetable IPM website  

Facebook page: Alabama Vegetable IPM

Alabama IPM Communicator e-newsletter:

Ayanava Majumdar, Ext. Entomologist


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