Army worm

Symptom of Damage :

  • Larvae cut the seedlings in large scale.
  • Severe infestation - cattle grazing appearance to the field.
  • They feed gregariously and march from field to field.

Nature of Damage :
  • Caterpillars march in large numbers in the evening hours and feed on the leaves of paddy seedlings till the morning and hide during daytime.
  • They feed gregariously and after feeding the plants in one field march onto the next field. Under severe infestation crop gives the grazed appearance.
  • Attacked plants are reduced to stumps. Nurseries situated in ill-drained marshy areas attacked earlier than dry ground.
  • Damage is severe during July to September.


Irregular feeding by caterpillar Leaves completely eaten away by the caterpillars
Presence of larva Defoliated leaves


Identification of pest :
             Scientific Name - Spodoptera mauritia

  • Egg :
    Eggs are spherical and creamy in colour, which are laid in a group covered over with grey hairs.

  • Larva :
    The caterpillars are light green with yellowish white lateral and dorsal stripes in the early stage and later become dark brown or grayish green in colour with a crescent (Semi-circular) shaped black spot on the side of each segment.

  • Pupa :
    They pupate inside the soil in earthen cocoons. Pupa is
    dark brown and measures 16-17mm long.

  • Adult :
    The adult moth is medium sized, stout built dark brown with a conspicuous triangular black spot on the forewings. Hind wings are brownish white with thin black margins.
Adult Larva


Management Strategies:

Cultural Methods :

  • Drain the water in the field.

  • Flooding the nursery makes the hiding larvae to come to the surface and thus they are picked by birds.

  • Kerosenate the water while irrigation – suffocation

  • Allow ducks into the field.
Apply kerosene to water Flood the nursery to expose hiding larva
Flood the stubbles and incorporate Trimming of bunds to remove alternate hosts

Chemical Methods :

  • Spray chlorpyriphos 20 EC 80ml + 20 lit of water for 8 cents

Dust the crop with Malathion dust
Spray Chlorpyriphos Spraying of pesticide

Biological Methods:

  • Parasitoids such as tachinids, ichneumonids, eulophids, chalcids, and braconid wasps parasitize this pest.

  • Meadow grasshoppers, ants, birds and toads feed on the pest.
Egg parasitoid - Telenomus remus Parasitic larva emerging from armyworm
Predator - Bubulcus coromandus Pupal parasitoid - Netelia sp.