Bulletin of Entomological Research

Research Article

Radar observations of the autumn migration of the beet armyworm Spodoptera exigua (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) and other moths in northern China

H.-Q. Fenga1, K.-M. Wua1 c1, D.-F. Chenga1 and Y.-Y. Guoa1

a1 Institute of Plant Protection, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing 100094, P. R. China


The autumn return migration of the beet armyworm Spodoptera exigua Hübner and other insects in northern China was observed with radar and with a simultaneously-operated searchlight trap and ground light-trap at a site in Langfang, near Beijing. The searchlight trap was found to be an efficient tool for trapping migrants and, operated alongside a ground light-trap, could distinguish migrant from locally-flying species. It was confirmed that S. exigua and some other species were high-altitude nocturnal windborne migrants during September and October in northern China. Maximum density of moths typically occurred below 500 m, and strong layering was often observed at about 200 m above ground level in airflows that would carry the moths towards the south. Descent of S. exigua in the vicinity of the radar site in late September was often associated with rain.

(Accepted November 25 2002)