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Commercial Horticulture > Comm Hort Blog > Posts > ​Pheromone trap catches for major insect pests (season-long report) – released on Nov 30, 2015

This is the final pest activity report for 2015. This article contains graphical representation of season-long pest activity with number of insect generations indicated on the graph. The Alabama map shows the statewide totals and relative pest pressure for each pest species based on sticky wing pheromone trap counts. Read the earlier blogs available on the Alabama IPM Communicator (look under the category “Insects” in the navigation bar) for more information.


Beet armyworms (BAW):  Has 5-6 generations in the south. Host plants include bean, corn, cowpea, eggplant, pea, pepper, potato, tomato, and many other vegetables. Field crops may include corn, cotton, peanut, sorghum, and soybean.

 BAW map11-30-15.jpg

BAW activity update:  In 2015, overall we experienced a very high activity of these insects with peak activity in July and August with almost 10 moths per trap per location on an average. Highest activity was recorded in Central and South Alabama.


Fall armyworm (FAW):  Has 4-5 generations in the south – migrates upward from FL and populations get worse mid- to-late-season on specialty or row crops. Prefers to feed on grasses then move to various row crops and vegetables that include fruiting crops.

 FAW BAW graph11-30-15.jpg
FAW BAW graph11-30-15.jpg

FAW activity update: There was a late onset of these insects on vegetable and row crops with peak activity in late August and September. Highest trap catches have been seen in Central and North Alabama with much lower average insect numbers and heavy fluctuations in moth flight. Hay and livestock producers should visit this website for updates about armyworms posted by Dr. Kathy Flanders. 


Soybean looper (SL): Infestations happen from migrating populations or moths may be moved by weather systems. SL attack soybean and peanuts among other row crops. Also attacks many summer vegetable crops during late season. There can be 5-6 generations of these insect pests in the south.

SL map11-30-15.jpg


SL activity update:  SL moth activity started late in August and September across Alabama with pest pressure reaching high levels (8 moths average per trap) at the majority of monitored locations. Greatest SL activity was observed in North and Central AL where there are large acres of suitable host crops. We have detected about 6 generations of the moths that causes heavy pest pressure on row crops.


Cabbage loopers (CL):  We have a few locations across AL where we are monitoring this highly migratory insect. Adult moths are known to overwinter in south Florida. Host plants include a variety of crucifer crops along with sweet potatoes, beans, peas, squash, tomato, and watermelons.  There can be 5-7 generations of these insect pests in the south.

CL map11-30-15.jpg
CL SL graph11-30-15.jpg


CL activity update: Overall, CL activity was low across the state (about 2 moths per trap across loactions); this activity level was much lower than soybean loopers. Highest trap catches were recorded in Central Alabama from vegetable crop fields. Due to overlapping generations (nearly 6), late-planted crop is at greatest threat from this insect.


Corn earworm (CEW):  Also known as the tomato fruitworm. It has about 5-7 generations in the south. Corn, tomato and cotton appear to be favorite crops among numerous others row and horticultural plants that may also be attacked. Tomatoes are a favored host for CEW moths to lay eggs if corn is unavailable – so vegetable producers should watch out and scout intensively to detect this pest at the earliest!

CEW map11-30-15.jpg


CEW activity update: Activity of this major pest was low across the state with nearly five or six generations and peak activity was recorded in August. Highest moth numbers (2 moths per trap per location) were recorded from South Alabama.


Tobacco budworm (TBW):   Has about 5 generations in the south. Host crops include cotton, soybean, and peanuts among others. May also attack vegetables as pea, pepper, pigeon pea, squash, and tomato.

TBW map11-30-15.jpg


TBW activity update: No major outbreaks of this insect were reported in 2015 from peanut or vegetable fields. Pheromone traps detected at least one moth at about 60% monitored locations but the overall moth activity was very low across Alabama. Peak moth activity occurred in late August with about 5 generations.


Lesser cornstalk borer (LCB):  3-4 generations may occur. Prefers various legume (including peanuts and soybeans) and grassy crops. In peanuts, LCB damage can cause rapid yield loss along with severe crop contamination during hot dry weather conditions. This insect can also devastate large acres of soybean fields under favorable conditions.

 LCB map11-30-15.jpg
LCB graph11-30-15.jpg

LCB activity update: We detected several peak activity periods for this insect with over 5,000 moths counted throughout the season trapped near peanut fields. Average number of moths was 60 per trap per location – the highest for any insect pest observed in this IPM project. Highest trap catches have been recorded from Central and South Alabama.


Squash vine borer (SVB):  Has one to two generation per year depending on location. Moths are day-flying and they can migrate long distances during early spring to find host plants. Moths look like wasps and lay eggs on the stem close to the soil. Caterpillars cannot be killed once they burrow inside the plant stalk, so use pest prevention tactics.

 SVB map11-30-15.jpg
SVB graph11-30-15.jpg

SVB activity update: This insect was very active in vegetable fields with nearly 7 moths per trap in Central Alabama.  There were at least two generations of this pest in Central and South Alabama with peak activity in July and August.


Acknowledgement:  The data visualization maps above have been developed using (Spensa Technologies, IN). We appreciate the assistance provided by Regional Extension Agents and producers for data collection/pest monitoring. Thanks to Luke Knight and Lucinda Daughtry (Undergraduate Project Assistants) for assistance in the insect monitoring project. We are very thankful to the Alabama Specialty Crops Grant and the Alabama Peanut Producers Association for funding this insect monitoring program.


For IPM questions, please call Ayanava Majumdar, 251-331-8416, or use the resources below.

Vegetable IPM:

Peanut IPM:

Facebook pages:  Alabama Vegetable IPM or Alabama Peanut IPM 

Subscribe to the Alabama IPM Communicator newsletter, visit​


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