Garden Pests And Caterpillars And Lettuce
| Lettuce is widely cultivated in several parts of the U.S. Cultivation of lettuce is beneficial to farmers as it is a short term crop that requires 70-95 days to grow. It can be grown as a rotational crop and requires cool temperatures for growth. However, lettuce production has severely declined in recent years due to attack from a variety of pests and caterpillars.
Caterpillars: Different types of Lepidoptera larvae or caterpillars that feed on lettuce include cutworms, beet armyworms, corn earworms, cabbage worms and cabbage loopers. Cutworms are large-sized caterpillars with a greasy appearance. Cutworms have a nocturnal feeding habit. These worms chew off young seedlings at the ground level and also defoliate older plants. Beet armyworms cause a potential damage by feeding the crown of the plants and by making holes in the bottom of the lettuce head. There are also other types of armyworms like southern armyworms and fall armyworms that damage lettuce plants by feeding on leaves and head. Corn Earworms are also known as tomato fruitworms or cotton bollworms. Larval caterpillars for these insects feed on outer leaves before going for inner leaves. These caterpillars can also bore holes into the mature heads. Cabbage loopers feed on the lower surface of outer leaves resulting in a windowpane appearance on the upper leaf surface.
Pests: Aphids are the major pests that infest lettuce and damage the plant. Aphids are primarily plant-sucking insects that feed on plant sap and cause discolored areas on the foliage. Leaves get thickened, crumpled and curled. There are different kinds of aphids including bean aphid, green peach aphid, potato aphid and tomato aphid. Other pests that infect lettuce include thrips, seedcorn maggots, leafminers, cucumber beetles, seedcorn beetles and wireworms.