Leaf-feeding caterpillars such as the cotton leafworm (Spodoptera littoralis), the beet armyworm (S. exigua) and thetomato looper (Chrysodeixis chalcites) are generally of minor economic importance, but serious outbreaks occasionally occur. In particular, S. littoralis often causes extensive damage to soybeans.
The bean webworm(Lamprosema indicata) feeds on leaves, which are spooned together, causing characteristic windowing as the upper epidermis of leaves remain untouched. This caterpillar may cause considerable damage in soybeans. Natural enemies are important to keep populations at low level.
- Conserve natural enemies. Caterpillars have a wide range of natural enemies (parasitic wasps, predators and pathogens) that are important in their natural control.
- Monitor the crop regularly.
- Hand pick eggs and caterpillars.
- Use botanicals (e. g. neem extracts) and biopesticides (e.g. Bt).