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Figure 3. A typical trap used to monitor for different types of moths. The top is solid and the bottom is sticky to trap moths. The small red capsule-like piece contains specific sex pheromones to trap male carpenterworm moths.

The Alabama Vegetable IPM program conducts a statewide insect monitoring program as a special service to crop producers. Pest alerts are based on moth counts from sticky wing pheromone traps. However, there is no shortcut to direct crop scouting to detect pest pressure. Producers should monitor insects, keep good records, and develop their own IPM plan suitable for the farm. The following information provides an overview of the insect pest activity in 9 pheromone-trap locations throughout May and June. 

Moth Activity Trends

  • The US Drought Monitor shows some dry areas in the northern parts of Alabama.
  • Fall and Southern armyworms are on the rapid rise. Late-planted vegetable crops may be attacked soon.
  • Tomato fruitworms/corn earworms are much more active compared to tobacco budworms.
  • Cabbage looper populations are very high. Any early planted brassicas will be under pest attack.
  • Pest activity is increased by drought. Economic damage is increased by stress on the plants.
  • Scout crops closely under stressful growing conditions. Target improving the overall plant health.
  • Watch for flash drought. These are short, 2- to 3-week droughts that can cause rapid increase in pest activity, which is bad on vegetable and fruit crops where economic thresholds are extremely low or zero.

Moth Counts from Sticky Wing Pheromone Traps (May and June 2023)

This report is based on pest monitoring from 9 locations in Alabama.
SpeciesSeason Total Average
Beet armyworm1423
Fall armyworm 1282
Southern armyworm 1563
Yellow-striped armyworm 381
Cabbage looper 3356
Soybean looper 1202
Tomato fruitworm1403
Tobacco budworm 431
Lesser cornstalk borer 3,46565
Squash vine borer 4048


Special thanks to Olivia Fuller, David Lawrence, Jacob Kelley, Chip East, Eric Schavey, Makayla Gothard and Susie Kim for contributing to the data collection from multiple locations. Supported by funds from the USDA-NIFA BFRD, SARE Research & Education/PDP, CPPM/EIP, OREI, and ADAI Specialty Crops Block Grant Programs.

IPM Resources

For major insect pest and disease images, download the Farming Basics mobile app. The app now has information on organic and conventional insect control under the Insect tab. The app information is general IPM guidelines that was aggregated from various Alabama Extension publications. Also, people can use the app to subscribe to the Alabama IPM/Sustainable AG newsletter and contact a commercial horticulture regional Extension agent. Use the following IPM resources for insecticide choices related to specialty crops:

Video Resources

The Alabama Beginning Farmer playlist on the Alabama Extension YouTube channel have several IPM videos. One of the new field IPM videos, Integrated Pest Management (Overview), provides an overview of all three levels of pest management.