In the spring when gardens and fields and plowed and planted, caterpillars that were feeding on weeds and other host plants move to young plants and transplants. Caterpillars cut off small plants at or near the soil surface and feed on them during the night. In field crops, damage usually appears as skips or sections of rows where all plants are missing. Caterpillars can do tremendous damage in a short period of time. Caterpillars may be found by raking soil around damaged plants or turning over debris on the ground under which caterpillars hide during the day. Adult moths are attracted to lights at night.
Consult the Vegetable IPM Web Site for recommended controls of this pest.