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The Beet Armyworm, Spodoptera exigua; an Economic Pest of Citrus in California1

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Larvae of the beet army worm, Spodoptera exigua (Hbn.), caused substantial economic losses in approximately 500 acres of young, recently planted citrus trees and nursery stock during the summer and fall of 1957, 1958, and 1959 in most California citrus areas. The larvae may destroy each succeeding flush of growth and the terminal shoots. The attacks of the larvae have a pruning effect on the young trees, and subsequent retarded tree growth causes infested trees to develop only half as fast as non infested trees. The new rootstock-scion combinations currently being planted grow two or more times as rapidly as former combinations; consequently, the continuous supply of young and succulent foliage provides food for optimum development of beet army worm larvae. The facts seem to explain the recent "adaptation" of the beet army worm, enabling it to infest citrus and cause serious economic losses. The life cycle of this insect lasts 30 to 60 days during the summer and fall, and there are four or more generations a year on citrus in California. No parasites have been taken 011 citrus thus far. Chemical control measures utilizing DDT and parathion provided excellent but short-term control, since re infestation was continuous.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 1960

More about this publication?
  • Journal of Economic Entomology is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December. The journal publishes articles on the economic significance of insects and is divided into the following sections: apiculture & social insects; arthropods in relation to plant disease; forum; insecticide resistance and resistance management; ecotoxicology; biological and microbial control; ecology and behavior; sampling and biostatistics; household and structural insects; medical entomology; molecular entomology; veterinary entomology; forest entomology; horticultural entomology; field and forage crops, and small grains; stored-product; commodity treatment and quarantine entomology; and plant resistance. In addition to research papers, Journal of Economic Entomology publishes Letters to the Editor, interpretive articles in a Forum section, Short Communications, Rapid Communications, and Book Reviews.
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