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(Spodoptera, or Laphygma, exiqua), an insect of the family Noctuidae, a serious pest of cotton, alfalfa, tomatoes, sugar beets, and many other agricultural crops. The wingspread is 26–34 mm; the fore wings are grayish brown, and the hind wings white. The beet armyworm is found in many areas of Africa, South Asia, and North America; in the USSR it is encountered in the Lower Volga Region, Transcaucasia, and Middle Asia (where there are from two to six generations per year). Development has no diapause. The moths appear in early spring and lay clumps of several dozen eggs on leaves; some species lay hundreds of eggs. The caterpillars hatch in four to 11 days.
The beet armyworm feeds on leaves, stripping them to the veins or gnawing large irregular holes. When they appear in enormous numbers, the caterpillars may penetrate stems and branches and damage the flowers, buds, and pods of cotton plants, as well as the fruits of tomatoes and the root crop of sugar beets. Not uncommonly, they destroy sprouts or sharply reduce the yield and lower the quality of crops. The beet armyworm pupates in the upper layers of the soil. Countermeasures include the application of modern agricultural techniques and the treatment of plantings with insecticides and biological preparations.
REFERENCEBogush, P. P. Malaia nazemnaia sovka v Turkmenistane i drugikh mestakh ee obitaniia. Ashkhabad, 1964.
P. P. BOGUSH