Thin Lizzy predicted it in 1976. Actually, the boys and girls are back in town. Over the weekend, the first painted lady butterflies were spotted in Iowa. Why care about this beautiful butterfly? It seems like a distant memory, but remember the thistle caterpillar bonanza on soybean last summer? They are one in the same species.
It is not unusual to see these butterflies in Iowa starting in May. They migrate here every summer from the southern US and Mexico. Read more about the life cycle and management in soybean here. Many farmers throughout Iowa have planted soybean or will plant soon. Females will lay eggs on early-vegetative plants. It is way too early to predict thistle caterpillar densities in Iowa soybean this summer, but it is important to scout vegetative soybean.