The beet armyworm, Spodoptera exigua (H�bner), has become a persistent pest of cotton in the southeastern United States. It is very difficult to control, once established, because of its tolerance to insecticides and its location deep in the plant canopy. Several aspects of its biology, based on anecdotal observations, are poorly understood, but would provide valuable information for anticipating beet armyworm problems if clarified. These aspects are the overwintering biology of the beet armyworm, and the plant/pest relationships involving: plant quality and variety, soil texture, rain and moisture, and the quality of the plant stand. These areas are discussed and hypotheses developed. In a post-boll weevil cotton production system, a complex of natural enemies appears to play a key role in suppressing beet armyworm populations. Thus, effective management of this pest is contingent upon maintenance of its natural enemies in the crop production system.