About looper worms

Asked March 24, 2015, 4:00 PM EDT

I know looper worms are more common on cabbage, but will attack snap beans. However, would looper worms also attack runner beans--or more precisely runner bean seedlings? I am a children's author and have a book coming out following the life cycle of runner beans. I'd like to illustrate possible pest that might attack the young plants. The loopers would be neat for illustration purposes, but I want to be sure the reference is accurate. Thank you for any help you can offer. Patricia Thomas. (p.s. I'm also a Penn Stater

Lackawanna County Pennsylvania

1 Response

Green beans have a lot of regional names: Phaseolus vulgaris, the common bean,also known as string bean, field bean, flageolet bean, French bean, garden bean, haricot bean, pop bean, or snap bean, They are actually different cultivars of the same plant. I would expect them on the runner bean.

Here is an excerpt from a University of Florida fact sheet on cabbage looper (Trichoplusia ni). Regional differences account for the different names of Snap beans are in the list. Pole beans are a variety of green beans or snap beans, as are bush beans.

"The cabbage looper feeds on a wide variety of cultivated plants and weeds. As the common name implies, it feeds readily on crucifers, and has been reported damaging broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Chinese cabbage, collards, kale, mustard, radish, rutabaga, turnip, and watercress. Other vegetable crops injured include beet, cantaloupe, celery, cucumber, lima bean, lettuce, parsnip, pea, pepper, potato, snap bean, spinach, squash, sweet potato, tomato, and watermelon. Additional hosts are flower crops such as chrysanthemum, hollyhock, snapdragon, and sweetpea, and field crops such as cotton and tobacco. Surprisingly few common agricultural weeds are frequent hosts; among those that are suitable are lambsquarters, Chenopodium album; wild lettuce, Lactuca spp.; dandelion, Taraxacum officinale; and curly dock, Rumex crispus.