Class: Insects

Common Name

Moths and moths larvae

Scientific name

Members of the Lpidoptera order

Potential Hosts

Countless plants and cultural crops

Who am I?

Lepidoptera is a large group of insects containing tens of thousands of different species categorize into dozens of superfamilies, some of which consist of several different families. The Noctuoidea superfamily is the most well-known; it includes the Noctuidae family, commonly known as owlet moths, cutworms, and armyworms.

Damage to plants is caused by moth larvaes (caterpillars) as a result of feeding on the different parts of the plants. Moth caterpillars are major agricultural pests with worldwide dispersion. Notorious moth species include: the gypsy moth, tuta absoluta, fall armyworm, beet armyworm, and the African cotton leafworm.

Moths vs. Butterflies

Many families of moths have thick bodies compared with butterflies. However, members of the Geometridae and the Pyralidae, also have slender bodies. The tapered antennae of moths and the clubbed antennae of butterflies are perhaps the most reliable distinguishing characteristic. Though, the skipper butterflies (Hesperiidae) and the burnet moths (Zygaenidae) both have antennae with a club that tapers to a point at the end.

Control measures


Monitoring: Closely inspect your fields (at least once a week) and look for the presence of moths. Populations start from a few moths, usually upon new growth then rapidly reach a colony of hundreds of moths.

Sanitation: Make an effort to clean and maintain your field’s close surroundings from weeds as often as possible.

Crops growing inside closed greenhouses or net structures will be safer than crops growing outdoors or unprotected. Closed structures should be pre-checked for existing breaches and fixed as soon as possible.

Conventional (chemical)

The following are generic names of insecticides uses in one or more parts of the world: flubendamide, Indoxacarb, methoxyfenozide, chlorantraniliprole, lamda cyhalothrin, bifenthrin, lufenuron, pyridalyl, cypermethrin, emamectin benzoate, and teflubenzuron.


Spinosad based products, Bacillus thuringiensis aizawai


The Common Green Lacewing (Chrysoperla carnea), some species of owls, and other species of birds and to some extent bats.

Careful thought should be taken when planning to use any of the above chemical marked in red. In some cases, the existing moth caterpillars population can rapidly develop resistance to insecticides. Therefore, rotation between products based on different active ingredients is crucial. If caterpillar populations remain unchanged after a single application of one of the chemicals marked in red, future applications won’t just be inefficient, they’ll likely wipe out the presence of any beneficial insects within the field close surroundings, thus making things even worse.

Caution and careful notice should be taken when using any plant protection products (insecticides, fungicides, and herbicides). It is the grower’s sole responsibility to keep track of the legal uses and permissions with respect to the laws in their country and destination markets. Always read the instructions written on labels, and in a case of contradiction, work in accordance to the product label. Keep in mind that information written on the label usually applies to local markets. Pest control products intended for organic farming are generally considered to be less effective in comparison to conventional products. When dealing with organic, biologic, and to some extent a small number of conventional chemical products, a complete eradication of a pest or disease will often require several iterations of a specific treatment or combination of treatments.

Protect your crops.
use agrio.

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