This week I thought we should discuss fall army worms. Fall armyworms have started showing up in Arkansas pastures in high numbers over the last couple of weeks. Fall army worms have been seen in populations well above treatment thresholds in many areas of the state.
Fall armyworms have been found in both pastures and hay fields. Even with the extremely cold temperatures we experience adult fall army worms have overwintered in unexpected large numbers. The extended rains in the spring caused a delay in the first cutting of hay for most producers. This means that quality was decreased and producers are hoping for a more timely nutritious second cutting for their animals. This is another reason to be watching out for fall army worms. These worms can decimate a hay field or pasture in a very short period of time.
Army worms are most attracted to tender growing forage. This means that newly cut hay fields and well-managed pastures are the first on the list for these insects. Damage from fall army worms usually shows up in appearance as lightly colored grass similar to frost or as small patches of green tissue missing from the leaf surface. It is very important to scout fields in field and not from the pickup truck. These insects are very good at hiding in the thatch of fields and are usually not visible from the pickup before it is too late.
Another sign to watch out for is birds feeding in the fields at an increased rate. Scouting can be done anytime throughout the day but usually the worms are the most active during the early morning or late afternoon part of the day. If you have additional questions about scouting for fall army worms or if you have fall army worms and are looking for methods of control please contact The Newton County Extension Office at 870-446-2240. Remember to check out our Facebook UAEX Newton County Extension Agriculture News.
Newton County Ag-Extension Agent-Staff Chair