All About Leafy Greens: Common Leafy Green Insects

The delicate, edible leaves of leafy green vegetables, as one might imagine, are particularly susceptible to damage from insects. Keep an eye out for these common “leafy green insects.”

Leafy green insects: The usual suspects.

Beet armyworm — Adult moths have a wingspan of about 1 ¼ inches, and have wings with brownish or fine light and dark markings on the forewing. The larvae are light in color with dark heads, and eventually turn green with light and dark stripes down the side.

Southern armyworm —  Adults are moths with a wingspan of 1 ½ inches and distinguished by a kidney-shaped spot near the center of the wings, with forewings streaked with cream, gray, light brown and black. The larvae are colorful with reddish brown heads and a narrow white-to-orange stripe down the center of the back.

Cabbage looper —The adult moth is distinguished by a 1 ½ inch wingspan with figure eight-like grayish-brown markings, with wings that become rounded toward the bottom. Larvae use an “inch worm” motion, and feature narrow white stripes and long fine lines running down the back.

Cutworms — Adult moths have large bodies and can vary in wingspan from 1 5/8 inches to 2 1/8 inches in the variegated variety. Wingspan of the granulate variety can be 1 ¼ to 1 ¾ inches. All possess a light to medium brown or gray base color on their forewings. Colors of the larvae range from light gray to black on top and lighter below.

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