We have seen a sharp, 8-fold increase in the number of beet armyworm moths (Spodoptera exigua) caught in the Hammonton area in the past couple of days. Moth counts in other areas remain low, but this demonstrates how patchy insect populations may be and this patchiness is probably enhanced by the storm cells moving across the state. Beet armyworm is a migratory pest and is brought in on weather fronts, especially from those coming in from the south and west.
Beet armyworm is a general plant feeder but seems to prefer solanaceous crops, especially peppers. With a past history of insecticide resistance/tolerance, farmers must be vigilant not to let the populations build up in the field.