Common Species:
Spodoptera litura (Fabricius)
Common Name:
taro catterpillar
cluster caterpillar
common cutworm
cotton leafworm
cotton worm
tobacco caterpillar
Damaging Stage:
Crops Afected:
Cucurbits, solanaceous, legumes, brassicas, cotton, tobacco, onion
Characteristics Damage:
Newly hatched larvae attack their hosts  in cluster and feed gregariously by scraping the leaf surface.
Larvae move and feed on the other leaves making large irregular holes and may leave only the veins.
High infestation results to severe defoliation.
Control and Management:
Monitor the area regularly.
Hand pick the larvae to reduce the population.
Remove weeds and volunteer plants that may serve as alternate hosts.
Cultivate the soil by plowing and harrowing and use plastic mulch to minimize pupation in the soil.
Plant trap crops like sunflower, taro or castor plants around the area.
Use of pathogens like the nuclear polyhedrosis virus and entomopathogenic fungi Aspergillus flavus, Beauveria bassiana and Metarhizium anisopliae to reduce cutworm population.
Apply botanical insecticide like neem extract.
Apply lamda-cyhalothrin (e.e. Karate®), tebufenozide (e.g. Mimic®) and fipronil (e.g. Ascend®) when necessary.