How to Manage Green Cloverworm in Soybeans

FBN Network

Sep 05, 2023

Green cloverworm (Hypena scabra) feed on soybean foliage, leading to defoliation with a significant impact on yield potential. Infestations during the reproductive stages of the soybean crop can be particularly severe, as this is when the plants are most vulnerable. In heavily infested fields, yield losses of up to 40% have been reported. 

Closely monitoring soybean fields for any signs of green cloverworm infestation and taking immediate action with products like Willowood Lambda-Cy 1EC** is crucial to mitigate the damage.

This guide will outline:

  • How to identify green cloverworms

  • Regions typically affected by green cloverworms

  • When green cloverworms usually affect crops

  • How to scout for green cloverworms

  • How to manage green cloverworms 

Image by Daren Mueller, Iowa State University,

How to Identify Green Cloverworm

The larvae of green cloverworm are easily recognizable by their pale green color and distinctive white stripes that run along their bodies. They also possess three pairs of prolegs near their rear end, which sets them apart from other similar pests. 

As the larvae mature, they undergo several molts, gradually increasing in size and developing more defined markings. Once they reach adulthood, green cloverworm moths emerge with a wingspan of about one inch. These adult moths are characterized by their brownish-gray coloration, which allows them to camouflage well in their surroundings. 

Phil Sloderbeck, Kansas State University,

How to Scout for Green Cloverworm

Farmers should closely monitor crops, particularly the upper canopy, for signs of defoliation, skeletonized leaves, and irregular-shaped leaf holes. Larvae or adult moths may also be noticeable, which are both strong indicators of green cloverworm infestation.

Regions Affected by Green Cloverworm

Green cloverworm is particularly abundant in the southern and central regions of the U.S., specifically in Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Missouri. However, green cloverworm can also be present in other regions, so it’s important to remain vigilant around the country. 

Image by Natasha Wright, Braman Termite & Pest Elimination,

When Do Green Cloverworms Affect Crops?

Green cloverworm infestations are most likely to occur during the mid to late season of soybean growth. Larvae emerge in early summer and feed on soybean foliage until late fall. 

[RELATED: Is Your Soybean Crop Getting Enough Potassium?]

How to Chemically Manage Green Cloverworm

While pheromone or light traps can sometimes be options to address early stage cloverworm presence, many infestation scenarios require chemical control to effectively manage green cloverworms. When deciding whether to employ chemical products to control armyworms, farmers should first assess the severity of the infestation and determine the economic threshold for treatment. After deciding to move forward with a chemical treatment, there are a few insecticide options available. 

One popular option is Willowood Lambda-Cy 1EC**, an insecticide containing lambda-cyhalothrin, but products containing active ingredients such as spinosad or chlorantraniliprole have also shown great results in suppressing green cloverworm populations. These insecticides work by directly killing the pests upon contact or through ingestion, disrupting their feeding and reproductive capabilities, and ultimately reducing their numbers.

Green Cloverworm Crop Protection from FBN Direct®

Proactively scouting for and responding to pest presence in your fields will help reduce potential crop damage and improve yield. FBN Direct has a wide variety of effective insecticides to help address pest pressures and keep your operation on track. With transparent pricing, straightforward online ordering, detailed product labels and fast direct-to-farm delivery, FBN Direct can help you get the products you need to protect your crops. 

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