Yellow-striped Armyworm Attacking Vegetables

One pest that is becoming more common is the yellow-striped armyworm. This pest has a wide host range and will feed on tomato, pepper, cole crops, and leafy vegetables. It is not specifically listed in the Vegetable Production Guide for Commercial Growers (ID-36) because, in the past, it was relatively uncommon. However, in the past few years, we have seen yellow-striped armyworm at levels comparable or higher than that of corn earworm (also known as  tomato fruitworm).

Plant Damage & Insect Description

Yellow-striped armyworm, like tomato fruitworm, attacks tomato and pepper fruit and chews holes in the sides of fruit. Both pests will create half-inch diameter holes, often with multiple holes per fruit.  They attack green fruit and remain outside the fruit while feeding. Young larvae are leaf feeders.

Figure 1. Yellow-striped armyworm on tomato foliage (Photo: Ric Bessin, UK).

Figure 1. Yellow-striped armyworm on tomato foliage (Photo: Ric Bessin, UK).

A yellow stripe on each side of the body and a dark spot on the first abdominal segment  distinguishes yellow-striped armyworm from the tomato fruitworm (Figure 1). Because both of these insects attack the fruit, they are direct pests.


Producers need to manage yellow-striped armyworm as they would tomato fruitworm.  Insecticides listed in ID-36 for tomato fruitworm are also very effective against yellow-striped armyworm.


By Ric Bessin, Extension Entomologist



Posted in Vegetables
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