The Panel on Plant Health undertook a pest categorisation of Spodoptera littoralis (Boisduval) for the territory of the European Union (EU). This insect is morphologically very similar to S. litura but the two species occupy very distinct geographical distributions, with only S. littoralis found in Europe and Africa. S. littoralis is established only in the southernmost parts of Europe where winters are not too cold. Long-distance northward migrations occur and the pest can also be transported throughout the EU with plants for planting. S. littoralis is highly polyphagous and it is an important pest of a very wide variety of outdoor vegetable, salad and ornamental crops in southern Europe. Field crops, such as lucerne, can also be affected, and even football pitches can be damaged. Population densities and damage vary considerably from year to year. Outbreaks also occur in protected crops, particularly ornamentals, throughout the EU. A very large number of insecticides are deployed to control this pest, which is resistant to many compounds. Resistance management and successful control of the pest can be obtained with mass trapping, mating disruption and attract-and-kill methods. S. littoralis is listed in Annex IAII and special requirements for S. littoralisare formulated in Annexes IVAI and IVAII of Council Directive 2000/29/EC to regulate the movement of plants for planting of three ornamental genera (Dendranthema, Dianthus and Pelargonium).
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- regulated non-quarantine pest