Pacific Pests, Pathogens and Weeds - Online edition

Pacific Pests, Pathogens, Weeds & Pesticides

Sweetpotato hornworm (027)

Click/tap on images to enlarge
  • Widespread distribution. Asia, Africa, Europe, Oceania. Sweetpotato main host, but it also occurs on eggplant, capsicum, tomato, and legumes. Occasionally, an important pest.
  • Larvae eat young succulent leaves. Eggs are laid singly on the leaves and stems. Outbreaks are not common, although they are devastating when they occur.
  • Natural enemies: parasitoid wasps and predators.
  • Cultural control: avoid planting next to gardens where outbreaks have occurred; handpicking; use chickens; collect vines and other trash and burn after harvest.
  • Chemical control: none recommended for routine treatments, as pesticides will disrupt natural control. For major outbreaks: PDPs: neem, derris, pyrethrum, or chilli; or biopesticides – Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis), or spinosad. Synthetic pyrethroids are likely to kill natural enemies.
Common Name

Sweet potato hornworm, Convolvulus hawk moth

Scientific Name

Agrius convolvuli. It is a member of the Sphingidae.

AUTHORS Helen Tsatsia & Grahame Jackson
Information (and Photo 2) from O'Sullivan J et al . Sweetpotato DiagNotes: A diagnostic key and information tool for sweetpotato problems. ( Photo 3 Wikipedia. (

Produced with support from the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research under project PC/2010/090: Strengthening integrated crop management research in the Pacific Islands in support of sustainable intensification of high-value crop production, implemented by the University of Queensland and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community.

Copyright © 2022. All rights reserved.