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Extension > Garden > Diagnose a problem > What's wrong with my plant? > Vegetable > Swiss Chard > Holes in leaves

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Swiss Chard > Leaves > Holes in leaves

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  • Image: Eastern Tent Caterpillar 1
  • Image: Eastern Tent Caterpillar 2
  • Image: Eastern Tent Caterpillar 3


  • Chews irregular holes in leaves; can completely defoliate plants
  • Feeds during night and typically not seen during day
  • 1/4 to 2 inches long
  • Soft-bodied and typically brown or gray
  • Active spring and summer; is particularly common during cool, wet weather
  • More information on Slugs
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  • Image: Forest Tent Caterpillar 1
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Imported Cabbageworm
Artogeia rapae

  • Larvae feed on leaves causing irregularly shaped holes
  • Larvae are up to 1 inch in length, velvety green in color with faint yellow stripes running longitudinally on the back and sides
  • Larvae are present throughout the growing season
  • Brown droppings may be seen
  • More information on Imported Cabbageworm
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  • Image: Cankerworms 1
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Flea Beetles
Disonycha xanthomelas, Systena blanda, and
Phyllotreta spp.

  • Adult feeding on leaves creates shallow pits and small, irregular holes giving it a "shot hole" appearance
  • Heavy feeding may cause wilting
  • Adults are small (1/16 to 1/8 inch long), and vary in color from black, bronze, bluish, or brown to metallic gray, while some species have stripes
  • Present throughout the growing season
  • More information on Flea Beetles
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  • Image: Redhumped Caterpillar 1
  • Image: Redhumped Caterpillar 2
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Cabbage Looper
Trichoplusia ni

  • Larvae feed on leaves resulting in large ragged holes
  • Dark green droppings may be seen
  • Larvae are up to 1 ½ inches in length, light green, and move in a characteristic "looping" action
  • Present from early July to late August
  • More information on Cabbage Looper
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  • Image: Yellownecked Caterpillar 1
  • Image: Yellownecked Caterpillar 2
  • Image: Yellownecked Caterpillar 3

Diamondback Moth
Plutella xylostella

  • Larvae feed on leaves, turning tissue opaque/white color
  • Affected tissue eventually falls out resulting in small holes
  • Larvae are up to 1/3 inch and pale green in color
  • Present throughout the growing season
  • More information on Diamondback Moth

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