Wednesday, April 4, 2012

True Armyworms Spotted in Early April

True Armyworms were reported on April 2nd feeding on rye near the Wiregrass Research Station (near the Headland, AL airport), in Henry County. This insect had previously been reported from the Coastal Bend of Texas to South Georgia and as far north as Kentucky. The larvae feed mostly at night and may not be found in daylight hours until digging into the soil surface debris. The larvae vary from green to brown with lighter stripes on their sides and back. In some ways they look similar to Fall armyworms.

These caterpillars can cause extensive damage below the crop canopy before they are detected. Controls are suggested when 4 to 5 larvae per square foot are found and feeding is heavy on the lower leaves. It is important to protect the flag leaf.

Most all insecticides labeled for small grains will provide adequate control. They are not as hard to kill as fall armyworms in cotton. However, good coverage is important, especially when making applications by air.