A significant constraint to shallot production is damage by the onion caterpillar (Spodoptera exigua) which can cause yield losses of 45-57%. This study assesses farmer knowledge and effectiveness of insecticides for S. exigua control in shallots in West Java and Central Java. Data was sourced via group discussions and individual interviews (n=100) and analysed using descriptive statistical method and content analysis. Respondent characteristics are briefly reported. The discussion encompasses farmer perceptions of shallot pests, knowledge of pesticide formulations, sources of pesticide information and details farmer pest control strategies. The report identifies that 60% of pesticides used are not government approved and that control strategies are based on short interval (1-2 days), high concentration (150-200% of recommendation) sprays mixes of 2-6 insecticides. The author discusses resistance implications and potential synergistic, antagonistic or neutral impact of spray mixes and the effectiveness of farmer control strategies as indicated by crop damage. Further research areas are summarised as: confirmation of S. mauritia pest status; development of an effective information dissemination system; control options that comprise effective control; ovicidal activity; and identification of synergistic insecticide mixtures.