Green Cloverworm Identification

Soybean Pests

green cloverwormGreen Cloverworm Identification:

  • Larvae are pale green with one or two white stripes extending down each side of the body.
  • They have three pairs of prolegs in the middle of the body.
  • Larvae wiggle violently when touched; no other caterpillar damaging soybeans exhibits this behavior.
  • Adults are dark brown or black moths with spotted wings.
  • Their wingspan is approximately 1 inch.

Life Cycle:

  • Overwinter as pupa in leaf litter and crop debris.
  • As temperatures warm in the spring, adults emerge and mate.
  • Eggs are laid on the underside of leaves and hatch in 4 days
  • Larvae develop through 6 instars (stages) and consume most of their food during stages 4-6.
  • Mature larvae burrow into the soil or among crop debris to pupate.
  • There are usually two generations per year.

Host Range:

  • Will feed on alfalfa, bean, clover, cowpea, soybean, strawberry, vetch, as well as many common weeds and other legumes.

Injury & Damage:

  • Young larvae feed throughout the soybean plant, but older larvae feed primarily in the upper one-third of the canopy.
  • Larvae generally feed in the middle of leaves rather than at the margins.
  • Diseases frequently suppress green cloverworm populations, however, this may not occur until after a substantial amount of defoliation has occurred.


  • Sampling should be done with a drop cloth


  • Green cloverworm populations are usually kept in check by a fungal disease.
  • Disease development is favored by high humidity and warm temperatures.
  • Treat only if defoliation reaches 40% in pre-bloom, 20% during bloom and pod-fill, and 35% from pod-fill to harvest