Tiny green caterpillars eating my lettuce

Asked August 11, 2017, 4:26 PM EDT

Hello, i noticed that parts of my lettuce that I had planted in mid-July for a fall crop have been eaten up. There are lots of black eggs all over that lettuce and I noticed a lot of tiny green worms/caterpillars. I pulled the lettuce out and stomped on all the black dots and the worms. What are these green worms? I never had a problem with lettuce before. Is it too late to cover my lettuce with a floating row cover? I am also growing spinach, radish and more lettuce in a different bed for the fall (they are now starting to sprout). Do I need to cover those as well? I thought that when fall hits, the bugs would go away.

Howard County Maryland

1 Response

The larvae in your photo looks like a cabbage looper. They can damage several types of host plants. See our pest profile and management and control methods.
Depending upon the vegetable, weather, and life cycle of the insect it is possible that you may have some insect feeding throughout the season.

The infestation is extensive and a floating row cover will not be effective now. It is not too late to replant and you can cover with floating row cover.
Protect the plants in your other bed with row cover. Here is more information http://extension.umd.edu/growit/beyond-basics/floating-row-cover