Beet Army Worm – Spodoptera exigua


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Wingspan of 25-30 mm. Forewings are mottled grey and brown without dark markings and usually with an irregular banding pattern and a pale coloured reniform spot. Hindwings are uniform grey to white, edged with a dark margin.


Different instars vary in colouration. Early instars are pale green to yellow in colour. Fourth instars are darker dorsally with a dark lateral stripe. Final instars are variable, usually green dorsally and pink to pinkish-yellow ventrally. A white lateral stripe is usually present together with a series of dark spots dorsally and laterally and the spiracles are white with a narrow black border.


Slightly tapering in shape and greenish to white in colour. Laid in clusters covered with a layer of whitish scales on leaves. Eggs typically hatch in 2-3 days.


Worldwide except South America.

Economic Host(s)

A wide range of arable, vegetable and ornamental plants including beet, broccoli, cabbage, aubergine, wheat, cotton, soybean, sugarbeet and tobacco.


Larval feeding results in skeletonization of leaves and total defoliation of plants can occur. Holes in fruits such as aubergine can be seen and stem boring may occasionally occur.


6 or more


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