Okra has few noticeable pests. Pods curled or with wart-like protrusions commonly indicate earlier feeding damage by stink bugs and/or leaffooted bugs. Corn earworms also infest pods occasionally. Damage to the foliage is normally unimportant, unless Japanese beetle populations are unusually high.


A. Insects that feed externally on buds, foliage, or pods

  1. Chewing insects that leave holes in plants

    1. Corn earworm - Early instar cream colored or yellowish-green with few markings; later instar green, reddish, or brown with pale longitudinal stripes and scattered black spots; moderately hairy; up to 44 mm long; three pairs of legs, five pairs of prolegs (Fig. 145); eats holes in pods

    2. Japanese beetle - Hard-bodied, shiny, metallic green beetle with coppery brown wing covers which meet in a straight line down the center of the back; body about 13 mm long (Fig. 146); skeletonizes leaves; may also eat pods

  2. Pests that cause discoloration or distortion of plant

    1. Aphids - Soft-bodied, pear-shaped insects with a pair of dark cornicles and a cauda protruding from the abdomen; may be winged or wingless - wingless forms most common; feed in colonies; excrete honeydew on which sooty mold grows.

      1. Green peach aphid - Pale yellow to green wingless adult up to 2.4 mm long; winged adult with dark dorsal blotch on yellowish-green abdomen; cornicles over twice as long as cauda and slightly swollen toward tip; yellow-green nymph with three dark lines on abdomen (Fig. 147A to C)

      2. Melon aphid - Yellow or green in host, dry summers; pale to dark green in cool seasons; body up to 2 mm long; cornicles slightly longer than or twice as long as cauda; nymph similar in color to adult (Fig. 148A to C)

    2. Leaffooted bugs and Stink bugs - Bugs up to 19 mm long; adult green or brown and shield-shaped (stink bug, Fig. 149A), or brown with enlarged, flattened hind legs (leaffooted bug, Fig. 149B); stink bug nymph pale green or green with orange and black markings (Fig. 149C); leaffooted bug nymph red (Fig. 149D); pierce buds, pods, and seeds causing pods to be deformed and seeds to be shriveled; wart-like growths appear on pods

B. Insects that feed inside the plant, e.g., within the stalk or leaf mesophyll

  1. European corn borer - Pale yellow or pinkish caterpillar up to 26 mm long with several rows of tiny, darkly colored spots; three pairs of legs near the head; five pairs of prolegs (Fig. 150); leaves entrance hole fringed with silk and frass in stalk; weakens stem and interferes with pod development

  2. Vegetable leafminer - Colorless to bright yellow maggot with black mouthparts; body up to 3 mm long; pointed head; S-shaped mines in leaves, often enlarged at one end (Fig. 151)

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