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Nashville, Ark. – Fall Army Worms are upon us. Chances are army worm larvae and eggs
are already in your pastures. It is important to scout your pastures for any damage
or evidence of army worm activity. If treatment is done early, it can be very effective,
if not; army worms can take over whole pastures and compete with livestock for forage.
Some major characteristics of fall army worms include: The egg is creamy white and
dome shaped, with a flat base. The nuisance that we are concerned with is the caterpillar,
the larva stage. When newly hatched, the larva is light green with a dark head capsule
and measures approximately 1/16 inch long. As the larva feeds, it becomes darker and
longer with light colored lines down the sides of its body. The head is unique in
that it has a light yellow inverted “Y” on the top. As it matures, it also contains
4 black dots on the end of its abdomen. Fully grown larva, are about 1½ inches long.
Recognizable damage: pasture patches typically appear browned or burned out resembling
drought damage. The damaged patch will increase in size over time, as fall army worms
chew more tender growth. Fall army worms typically target newly established stands
of bermudagrass, winter annuals, fescue, or orchardgrass.
In Arkansas, army worms typically appear when plants green-up from a rain that has
ended a prolonged dry/drought period. This happens as early as July and continues
into fall. The rain showers we experienced the past few weeks are perfect for forages
to begin attracting army worms.
Treatment: When to treat: chemical control is suggested when 3 or more worms per square foot are found; also
when the worms reach about ½ inches in size. However, early treatment before this
is not necessarily discouraged. However, treatment after worms reach 1½ inches in
size is discouraged, because the worms are ready to molt and most of the damage is
already done. What chemicals to use: depends on individual operations. Cost, availability, restricted use, chemical type,
grazing and hay harvest restrictions are all factors that should be considered when
determining a product to use.
All of the above information has been obtained from UAEX research and Extension Fact
Sheets. For more information or to obtain any of these articles, please come by or
contact the Howard County Extension Office at 870-845-7517.
The MP144 Insecticide Recommendations contains a complete list of chemicals, application instructions,
and grazing/hay restrictions for the products that the Cooperative Extension Service
suggests to use for fall army worm control.
By Kaycee Davis County Extension Agent - AgricultureThe Cooperative Extension ServiceU of A System Division of Agriculture
Media Contact: Kaycee Davis County Extension Agent - Agriculture U of A Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service 421 N. Main Nashville AR 71852 (870) 845-7517
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