Giant looper (Ascotis selenaria reciprocaria)
The adult is a moth with a wingspan of up to 5 cm. They vary in colour from dark brown to light grey with numerous dark grey markings. They lay pale green eggs in crevices in the bark. The caterpillars are pale grey to dark brown resembling twigs, and move with a looping motion. They are about 5 cm when fully grown. Young caterpillars usually eat pits on the upper leaf surface and older caterpillars feed on the leaf margins leaving a jagged edge. All stages of caterpillar prefer tender and young leaves but berries and large flower buds may also be attacked. Alternate hosts include groundnuts, sweet potatoes, black jack weeds as well as some tree species like Datura and Eucalyptus.
- Control is justified when more than 10 caterpillars are present on seedlings and young suckers or 20 caterpillars on cropping coffee trees.
- Spray with Bacillus thuringensis(Bt) products (Thuricide HP(r) or similar product) at a rate of 4 g in 20 l of water (200 g/ha). For more information on Bt click here.
- Spray with Neem products. For information on Neem click here.
- Similar control measures are recommended for the Green looper (Epigynopteryx stictigramma)