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Figure 2. Stick-wing pheromone traps compare moth activity and insect pressure in various environments.

The Alabama Vegetable IPM program conducts the 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.

Overview of insect pest activity from monitoring traps: (26 locations, May-October 2022).

  • Moth activity trends:

    • 2022 had a wet spring and a dry summer period. This had a major effect on pest populations. Comparatively, 2021 summer was very wet with steady rainfall.
    • Beet Armyworm (BAW) activity in 2022 was roughly four times more than Fall Armyworm (FAW). This was the exact opposite trend from our experience in summer 2021.
    • Southern Armyworm (SAW) activity is alarming and has been gaining momentum over the past three years when we have been monitoring. Major worry for specialty crop producers.
    • Corn Earworm/Tomato Fruitworm activity has been steady over the past two years.
    • Cabbage Loopers (CL) were active in 2022 late-summer – these could carryover to the winter crops.
    • Squash Vine Borer (SVB) activity was very high last two years – pickleworms and melonworms are adding to grower headache. Check out https://www.aces.edu/blog/topics/farming/how-to-identify-squash-vine-borers-pickleworms-melonworms/ to know more about the borers.
Additional IPM Resources: For major insect pest and disease images, download the Farming Basics Phone App (version 2 available) now has organic and conventional insect control in the ‘Insect’ tab. Those are general guidelines and aggregated from various IPM publications I have done. Also, anyone can subscribe to the Alabama IPM/Sustainable AG newsletter from the Farming Basics phone app. Producers can use the app also to contact a commercial horticulture REA.


Moth counts from sticky wing pheromone traps

Moth counts from sticky wing pheromone traps
Species2022 (wet spring, dry summer)2021 (very wet year)2020 (wet year)2019 (flash drough)2018 (wet year)2017 (flood year)2016 (prolonged drought)2015 (wet year)
Beet armyworm8071320124089059212009551200
Fall armyworm 2522490370656933528574807
Southern armyworm 4411020563NANANANANA
Yellow-striped armyworm 97153141NANANANANA
Cabbage looper 889735568517297714464134
Soybean looper 263481342356577755501559
Tomato fruitworm31535325411377424119184
Tobacco budworm 103174657531113017260
Lesser cornstalk borer 73894710715063605190679048904950
Squash vine borer 120512306231140530987630565


Special thanks to Olivia Fuller, David Lawrence, Jacob Kelley, Chip East, Eric Schavey, and Makayla Gothard 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

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.


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