South Carolina Soybeans: Still in the Thick of Caterpillar Season

    Heavy soybean looper damage. Photo: Justin Ballew, Clemson University

    We are still in the thick of caterpillar season in soybeans and we need to make sure we are in the fields scouting weekly.  It gets a little tough this time of year when everyone is trying to harvest corn, but its important to make some time for it.  The photo below is a good reminder of what can happen to our fields if we neglect to stay on top of our scouting.


    Heavy feeding damage from soybean loopers.

    At this level of damage, we are probably going to see some yield reduction.  The threshold for foliage loss after bloom is 15%.  Soybean loopers are the most common thing out there right now.  Here is the table from the SC Pest Management Guide showing the thresholds for scouting using a sweep net.

    Sweep thresholds

    Click Image to Enlarge

    When your sweep nets look like the photo below after 10 sweeps, a treatment is past due.  Weekly scouting will help keep us from getting to this level.


    Be sure to check at least 2 separate areas of the field and sample each area twice.  If you can not make a clear decision whether or not to make a treatment after that, check an additional area or two.  If fields are found to be over threshold, labeled insecticides and there rates can be found in the Soybean Insect Control section of the SC Pest Management Handbook.

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