Useful Tips

Biting scoops: control and prevention measures


When gardeners had questions “who gnaws onions, cabbage or potato tops”, then perhaps it is time to get acquainted with such a pest as a winter scoop (Agrotis segetum) and determine suitable measures to combat it. The appearance of a winter scoop on the site promises a long and painstaking work to protect against a gluttonous and arrogant pest. The butterfly itself will not bring any harm to the site, but the caterpillars are a real horror for plants and gardeners.

Acquaintance with the enemy

All species of scoops are polyphages (polyphagous insects capable of feeding on numerous species of plants). The family of scoops includes butterflies of various sizes, mostly painted in gray, brown or dark tones. Their front wings are longer than the hind wings, mostly narrow, with a peculiar pattern called the “scoop pattern”.

The basis of the figure is winding transverse lines and three spots: annular, kidney-shaped and wedge-shaped. The hind wings are most often light gray, red or blue with black bandages. In a calm state, the wings of the butterfly are folded roof-shaped.

Butterflies fly in the evening or at night, very rarely - during the day. Caterpillars spend most of their life in the soil, gnawing on the roots of plants or eating their parts above ground at the very surface of the soil. They feed on leaves and root crops, making cavities (hollows) of irregular shape in them, without damaging the skin.

In addition to potatoes, they are dangerous for beets, carrots, onions, peas, beans and many other cultivated and wild species. On vegetable crops, four types of scoops are most often found: winter, exclamation, garden and cabbage.

Winter scoop

Winter scoop (Agrotis segetum) is distributed in all climatic zones except the Far North and arid regions. In Russia, it is distributed in the European part to the Arctic Circle, in the North Caucasus, in the Urals, in the south of Siberia and the Far East.

Butterfly with a wingspan of about Fore wings of various colors: from yellowish brown to dark gray. Four dark lines run across the wing. Hind wings light.

Butterfly winter scoops. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Caterpillars of an older (sixth) age usually hibernate in soil to a depth of up to Spring, when the soil warms up to +10 ° C, they migrate to the surface layer and pupate in special caves.

Pupae are reddish-brown, with two spikes at the posterior end (length up to 20 mm), develop for about a month. The first generation of butterfly years begins in late May and lasts until the decade of July.

The butterfly is active during twilight and night hours. The intensity of the summer of butterflies can be detected using pheromone traps or a tub with wandering molasses, installed at a height of 20-25 cm from the soil surface.

A little solution consisting of molasses and water (1: 3) is poured into the trough, pre-fermented yeast (50 g per 1 liter of water) is added to it.

A few days after departure and additional nutrition on various flowering vegetation, females lay eggs on cultivated and weed plants, as well as on plant debris and soil surface.

The scoop eggs are hemispherical, radially ribbed, milky white or yellow, with a diameter. The female is very prolific and can lay up to 1000 eggs. After days, clearly segmented caterpillars hatch with three pairs of pectoral and five pairs of abdominal legs.

At younger ages (first to second), they live on the underside of leaves or under their rosettes, gnawing small holes. Therefore, it is during this period that it is very important to carry out protective measures with biological and chemical preparations.

Starting from the third age, the caterpillars constantly keep in the surface layer of the soil, creeping out at night for food. During the night, one gluttonous individual can destroy up to 10 plants. Adult caterpillar up to 50 mm long, earthy gray in color with an olive hue and oily sheen.

Caterpillar of a winter scoop on a potato. Photo:

First-generation caterpillars harm from mid-June to mid-July. They damage the seedlings and young plants of sugar beets, sunflowers, corn, millet, etc. After feeding, they pupate in the soil at a depth

The second-generation butterfly years last from mid-July to early September. In the second half of August, egg laying is observed in vegetables and fields reserved for winter crops.

Caterpillars of the second generation do the greatest harm to winter cereals, damaging the sown grain and seedlings.

Exclamation point scoop

Exclamation scoop (Agrotis exclamationis) - small butterflies (in wingspan) The main color of the front wings is from gray to brown-gray, with spots at the base in the form of an exclamation mark.

Caterpillars are dark gray, medium in size, about 30 mm long. The biological features of development in an exclamation scoop are the same as in winter. It damages all vegetables, but most often cabbage and carrots.

Garden scoop

Garden scoop (Polia oleracea) - a very common type of scoop, which develops in two generations.

Butterflies (fore wings red-brown with transverse lines, hind wings gray) of the first generation fly out in May, the second - at the end of July - August. Females lay yellow-green eggs on the underside of the leaves in a slide of 40–70 pcs. Caterpillars are long with variable color - from light green to dark brown.

Caterpillar of a garden scoop. Photo: Author: Biryukov A.S.

Younger caterpillars look like moths, moving, they arch their backs in an arc. They are multinivorous, causing significant damage to vegetable crops - cabbage, radish, beans, turnips, peppers, tomatoes, not only in open ground, but also in spring film greenhouses. Younger caterpillars feed on leaves, skeletonizing them from the underside. Adult caterpillars completely eat the leaves, and also feed on the pulp of the fruit, gnawing deep, large, irregularly shaped holes.

Cabbage scoop

Cabbage scoop (Mamestra brassicae) is a dangerous, widespread and most harmful pest from the group of leaf-eating scoops.

Butterflies with a wingspan of up to 50 mm, front wings are gray-brown with a yellowish-white wavy line and two dark spots at the front edge, as well as with double dark serrated strips across the wing.

Butterfly cabbage scoops. Photo:

Cabbage scoop develops in two generations. A pupa hibernates (dark brown, with a pointed end) in the soil at a depth. Butterflies of the first generation fly from mid-May to the end of June, the second - from the second half of July to the first half of September.

Females lay hemispherical dark gray eggs in heaps (on the lower side of the leaves of sunflower, peas, tobacco, lettuce, beets. But their favorite food is cabbage.

After days, the green caterpillars hatching from the eggs first “scrape” the pulp of the leaves in small areas, and when they grow, creep out and gnaw out irregularly shaped holes on the leaves.

Adult caterpillars are grayish-green, yellowish-brown, sometimes almost black, usually bite into a head of cabbage, making moves in it and polluting it with liquid excrement.

A damaged head of cabbage rots, emits an unpleasant odor, and eventually becomes a source of phytopathogenic infection.

In cauliflower caterpillars, scoops damage both the leaves and the head.

Control and Prevention Measures

To reduce the damage caused by scoops, it is necessary to use a complex of preventive measures:

1. Destroy weeds, especially flowering ones, on the areas dividing the borders and paths, on which butterflies constantly accumulate for additional nutrition.

2. During the laying of eggs and hatching of caterpillars, the scoop regularly conduct deep loosening of the soil between the rows.

3. During the mass summer, to catch butterflies on crops, use plates (containers, troughs) with water, adding jam or beer to them for smell. Content needs to be changed periodically.

4. Spray planting crops damaged by caterpillars, infusion of blooming wormwood (300 g of chopped raw materials, 1 cup of wood ash and 1 tbsp.spoon of liquid soap, pour 10 l of boiling water, cover, insist Spray immediately after cooling the infusion.

5. Use an effective and harmless biological method to combat scoops - a trichogram predator that destroys pest eggs. During the laying period, three times the release of trichograms (for individuals per 1 ha with each release) with an interval

6. Against the caterpillars of younger ages of each generation, scoop to apply biological products: concentrated lepidocide, BA (biological activity) - 2000 EA / mg - per 10 l of water bitoxibacillin, BA - 1500 EA / mg - 50 g per 10 l of water (2 kg / ha ) If necessary, re-treatment should be carried out in days. (A working solution should be prepared immediately before processing plants. Biological products should be treated at temperatures above +18 ° C and there is no precipitation in the form of rain or heavy growth. Spraying should be carried out in the twilight hours).

7. Chemical preparations are effective against caterpillars scoop: Decis, 2,5% to. Z. - 2 ml per 10 liters of water, Arrivo, 25% ke. to 10 liters of water, Sherpa, 25% ke. - 1.5 ml per 10 liters of water. Use modern insecticides according to instructions. When working with insecticides, try to prevent them from reaching other areas and crops, strictly observe the waiting time (number of days from processing to harvest) specified in the instructions.

8. After harvesting vegetables, carry out a deep autumn digging of the soil, select and destroy the scoop pupae.

Caterpillars and butterflies in yellow-brown scoops: control methods

In the photo Scoop yellow-brown

Scoop yellow-brown early Orthosia stabilis Schiff. (syn. Taeniocampaaa stabilis View) -Butterfly with a wingspan of 35 mm. Fore wings brownish red with a yellow tint. There is a wavy whitish line and spots with bright edges. Near the transverse line, a number of black small dots are visible. Hind wings are yellowish-gray, with light fringe.

Unlike butterfly scoops, the caterpillar does not have such an attractive appearance.

In the photo the caterpillar of Scoops is yellow-brown

It is green, with small yellowish dots and five yellowish longitudinal lines on its back.

The penultimate ring has a yellow transverse line. Butterflies fly in April, after fertilization, the females lay their eggs on the buds and leaves of shrubs and trees. Nutrition and development of caterpillars is observed in late May - June. Scoop yellow-brown early distributed on apple trees, oak and many deciduous trees. It occurs on strawberries constantly due to the presence of green leaves on overwintered bushes.

Methods of struggle scoops with caterpillars are the same as against scoops of violet-gray.

Brown-gray gnawing caterpillars

In the photo Scoop brown-gray

Scoop brown-gray early Orthosia gothica L. (syn. Taeniocampa gothica L.) - a butterfly with a wingspan of 35-37 mm, the front wings are brownish-gray with a light wavy strip and thin white transverse lines. Between the kidney-shaped and the black oblong spot there is a black space with annular spots, the hind wings are gray-brown.

In the photo the caterpillar of the Scoop is brown-gray

The caterpillar is a green-biting scoop, with a green head, on the back there are three whitish-yellow lines, on the sides there is a wide white stripe. Brown doll. Caterpillars feed on fruit trees, shrubs and many herbaceous plants in April-May.

Control measures same as against scoops of violet gray early.

Caterpillar Fighting Blue Head Scoop

On the photo is a blue-headed scoop

Blue-headed scoop, or blue-headed scoop Diloba coeruleocephala L. (syn. Episema coeruleocephala L.), - a brownish-gray night butterfly, with a wingspan of 40 mm. Fore wings are violet-gray, with a large yellowish-white spot, consisting of three small ones, the base of the wings is brownish, with a reddish spot. The same spot exists on the inner corner of the wing. The hind wings are light gray, with an obscure spot and a dark hind angle. The fight against the caterpillar of the bluehead scoop should begin long before the butterflies fly out.

Pictured is the caterpillar of the Blue-headed Scoop

Bluish white caterpillar, 35-38 mm long, on the back and sides it has yellowish lines and black tubercles along the body, covered with hairs. Pupa red-brown, covered with bluish-gray pollen. Eggs hibernate on branches near the buds. In the early spring, caterpillars hatch and feed on buds, leaves and fruits, roughly eating them. Gnawing remains on the damaged ovaries, which are later noticeable as brown, healed fruit damage. After feeding, the caterpillars pupate in June in dense cobwebby white cocoons in the crevices of the bark. In September - early October, butterflies fly out and after fertilization, the females lay their eggs on branches. Over a year, one generation of the pest develops.

A scoop damages all fruit crops, many berry bushes and forest species.

Control measures same as against a scoop of violet-gray early.

How to understand that a winter scoop started up on the site

  1. Abrupt and sudden wilting of plants.
  2. The stems are gnawed right at the base.
  3. Caterpillars themselves can be found next to damaged, weak, and decaying plants. But they do not have a certain color, they can be completely different shades, with splashes, stripes and without. And yet more often they have a gray color. Litter of caterpillars is still visible nearby with plants on the ground.
  4. On continuous crops there are bald spots.

The habits are the same as those of a cotton scoop: in the daytime, the caterpillars hide. The ideal time for food is night. The list of their preferred plants is huge, and in one night they are able to destroy plants on a large plot. In root crops, caterpillars gnaw large areas of pulp, gnaw seedlings and even seeds.

You can fight with a biting scoop without using any drugs, but you need to catch it before they multiply. Having missed the moment, the caterpillar invasion will become a natural disaster, which will be too difficult to deal with.

A mechanical way to deal with caterpillars of a biting scoop

Since the pest eats at night, you will have to collect the tracks at the same time. No matter how inconvenient, and may even be funny, you need to go out in the dark with a light and collect them. To kill the caterpillars, you need to pour half a bucket of water, add soap, and send all the collected animals there. Such work will have to be done all summer, a couple of times a week.

Description and photo

The scoop butterfly is an insect with a wingspan of up to 5 cm. When folded, brown or brown wings are firmly pressed to the body. The scoop lives about a month. The female butterfly lays several hundred small eggs, attaching them to the underside of the leaves. After 10 days, larvae (caterpillars) hatch from the eggs, which immediately begin to feed on greens, gnawing the delicate tissue of the leaf, leaving the veins intact.

The flight of butterfly scoops in the Moscow region and the middle lane begins in mid-June, in the southern regions the pest has been active since May. At the end of August, scoops disappear.

Types and differences

In total, there are several thousand species of these butterflies in the world. Biting moths cause the greatest damage to crops. A group of pests, which include potato, winter, exclamation scoops. Butterflies are active in the evening and at night, laying eggs on leaves from the bottom. Caterpillars damage the seedlings of beets, carrots, cabbage, sunflowers, peas and other plants. In growing root crops and potatoes, the larvae gnaw at the passages without damaging the skin.

Winter scoop. A yellowish-gray nocturnal butterfly inhabiting the entire European territory of Russia. Active flight begins in May and lasts until the end of July. Winter scoops are very prolific, able to lay up to a thousand eggs. Caterpillars are already cleared after 5 - 7 days. In the early stages of development, lives on the lower leaves and on young shoots of plants, later leaves in the upper layers of the soil. The adult caterpillar is shiny, thick, greenish-yellow in color, up to 5 cm long. One gluttonous individual per night can damage up to a dozen plants.

In areas with a warm climate, winter scoop gives two generations. Caterpillars that hatched in early autumn feed on grain and seedlings of winter crops.

Exclamation scoop. A small gray butterfly, with a wingspan of up to 3.5 cm. Caterpillars up to 3 cm in length, dark gray. It develops in the same way as winter. Inflicts severe damage to seedlings of carrots and cabbage.

Garden scoop. Butterflies of this species are brown-brown, caterpillars can be light green or brown. Appears at the end of May, butterflies lay 50 - 70 eggs on leaves from the side of the earth. The menu of caterpillars is extensive: radishes, beans, peas, cabbage, turnips, peppers, tomatoes.

Cabbage scoop. Dangerous pest from the group of leaf-eating scoop. Large dark gray butterflies with serrated wing edges begin to fly from mid-May. Each season, each is able to give two generations. The female lays eggs on cabbage leaves, although she does not disdain other cultures: peas, tobacco, beets, salads.

Caterpillars hatch after 10-12 days and gnaw holes of irregular shapes on the leaves, leaving hard leaf veins not eaten. Often the caterpillars bite into the head of cabbage, polluting it with their excrement.

Agrotechnical method

In autumn, caterpillars scoops go into the soil, turn into pupae, and winter in this form. In spring, the chrysalis turns into a butterfly. Уничтожить куколок поможет осенняя вспашка на глубину до 15 – 20 см. Оказавшиеся на поверхности куколки совки погибнут на морозе. С этой же целью проводят весеннюю культивацию участка сразу после схода снега.

Полезно регулярно рыхлить междурядья, вынося на поверхность личинки вредителя, где их могут склевать птицы.

Поможет снизить численность совки выкашивание сорных растений на участке и за его пределами. Бабочка совки питается цветочной пыльцой. Depriving her of food, the gardener forces her to seek food elsewhere. Particular attention should be paid to the destruction of nettles, quinoa and mari - her favorite plants.

Chemical way

With a high number of pests and over large areas, insecticides cannot be dispensed with. The following drugs are used:

  • Decis (1 ml of the drug per 10 liters of water per 250 m),
  • Samurai,
  • Karate (1 ml per bucket of water, over an area of ​​100 m),
  • Proteus (7 ml diluted in 5 l of water, the solution is enough to process 1 hundred parts),
  • Fury or Kinmix from the group of pyrethroids (1.5 ml of the drug is dissolved in 10 l of water),
  • Bazudin in granules is embedded in the soil in an amount of 200 g per hundred square meters.

Attention! Use chemical pest control agents, observing safety measures. While working with the drug is forbidden to smoke and eat. It is necessary to use special clothing and personal protection (respirator, gloves, goggles). Harvesting fruits and vegetables is possible after a while (at least 15 - 20 days) after processing.

Biological method

A method of combating a scoop that does not harm nature: they use natural enemies of the butterfly, bringing a trichogram to the site that eats laid eggs. Predators are released during the laying period of the butterfly, in the amount of 300 - 400 individuals per hundred.

Biological preparations will help cope with the pest: Fitoverm, Bitoksibacillin (50 g per 10 l of water). Processing should be carried out in the evening in dry weather, with air temperatures above 20 degrees.

Folk remedies

Opponents of chemistry on the site successfully use infusions of various herbs to scare away and destroy scoops.

  • Sagebrush. Stems and leaves (1 kg per 3 liters of water) are boiled for 15 to 20 minutes. Cooled broth sprayed seedlings.
  • 100 g of hot pepper is boiled in a liter of water for about 30 - 40 minutes. The resulting liquid is diluted 8 times with clean water.
  • Bow. The chopped half of the bulb is insisted night in a liter of water. The strained infusion is sprayed with plants during the flight period of the butterfly scoops.
  • Garlic. A few cloves pour hot water (1 liter) and insist 3 days. The liquid for use is diluted with water 5 times.
  • Burdock. Chopped leaves and stems are tightly packed in a bucket and filled with water to the top. After 3 days, the infusion can be sprayed. For better adhesion to the foliage, 50 g of liquid soap is added to it.
  • To prevent the occurrence of a pest, it is necessary to maintain the site in a state clean of weeds. Conduct soil tillage in autumn and spring, monitor the appearance of butterflies and immediately take action.

Infusion of bird cherry

Often bird cherry is advised to put between rows of branches, but in a large garden this is very inconvenient, since too many branches will be needed. To prepare the infusion, you will need twigs, a hammer, a large container and water. The branches need to be thoroughly softened with a hammer, sent to a container and pour boiling water, it is best to insist for three days.

Tobacco dust, yarrow and wormwood scoops also do not like. The amount of ingredients can be selected independently, the most important thing in the infusion is a pungent smell. This infusion should be watered plants, poured directly on the stem, at a height of 10 cm above the ground. Periodically, you need to repeat the procedure, as vegetable essential oils are weathered quickly.

In order not to let the caterpillars, which are mainly engaged in biting the stems of plants, put obstacles around the stems. The cartons are impregnated with a solution of tar soap and fastened with a paper clip around the plant with a rim. However, this is not very convenient, as you will have to put a "fence" almost around each stalk.

Biological products

For treatment from scoops, a mixture of BTB and Lepidocide is also used as soon as signs of damage to the sprouts appear. The main thing is to do the processing on time, as the larvae of older ages are more persistent.

Very effective predatory nematodes - Nemabakt or soil "Protection". This is a composite of a carnivorous nematode and a symbiotic bacterium. They act amazingly: a round worm enters the larva with food or, excuse me, through the anus, and bacteria decompose the pest inside from the inside. It turns out a sort of broth from the insides, which is then eaten up by nematodes. After the empty shell remains, they leave it. Bacteria and beneficial nematodes are well established and live in the open ground.

Site care and farming practices

It was once believed that pest numbers can be reduced by deep digging to make wintering difficult for caterpillars. But, firstly, no one digs at such a depth. And secondly, there is more harm from digging. Therefore, in the practice of natural agriculture, other agrotechnical techniques are used, namely:

  • If there is too much damage this year, this bed for the winter and until the end of June is covered with black agrofiber to make it difficult for the larvae to get out. If you have to resort to such a measure, season the bed with good organic matter - for such a long period, the organic will spit well, and in the middle of summer it will be possible to plant beans, daikon, kale or any greens on it.
  • The bed can also be sown with perennial siderates of the legume family (comfrey, alfalfa) and not be used for a year. For the second winter, also layered with organic material and covered with agrofiber, so that the earthworms processed roots, tops and top layer.
  • Along the perimeter of the plot, annual flowers and / or siderates can be planted, in which the female pests will lay eggs. Annuals bloom until autumn, and here their natural entomophage enemies breed.

It will take a lot of time to fight the winter scoop, most likely it all depends on the desire to get rid of this pest. Only by constantly monitoring the site will it be possible to first reduce the number of individuals, then protect yourself from the pest more reliably. As for chemistry, it is hardly possible to eat onions after treatment with pesticides. It’s better to choose a biologically safe drug or folk remedies to combat the winter scoop.