Cluster caterpillars

Cluster caterpillars are infrequent pests in the South Burnett but are more abundant in coastal and tropical areas where serious damage has been reported from this pest.


  • Feeds on foliage and pegs.
  • Young larvae feed in groups and rarely eat the bigger veins of leaves.
  • Large larvae are solitary. They chew leaves, attack and sever pegs causing pod death.

Monitoring and control

  • Sample weekly during the vegetative stage until the end of podfill with a beat sheet.
  • Sample five 1-metre lengths of row at six different locations in the field.
  • The threshold is 3-5 larvae/m2 during podset/podfill.
  • There are no insecticides registered specifically for cluster caterpillars in peanuts.
  • Cluster caterpillars are coincidently controlled with chemical insecticides targeting helicoverpa. For current chemical control options see Pest Genie or APVMA.
  • They are not controlled at all by helicoverpa-NPV-based biopesticides (Vivus Max or Gemstar) and extremely poorly at best by Bt-based products (e.g. Dipel).

Further information