UACES Facebook Forage Pests
skip to main content

Forage Pests


With hay and forage being limited this year because of the drought, now is the time to start checking for any forage insect pests.


Nashville, Ark. – With the recent rain we have received in the area, pastures and hay fields may begin greening up some. With hay and forage being limited this year, now is the time to stay ahead of any forage insect pests.

Bermudagrass Stem Maggots

 Bermudagrass stem maggots may become a pest in pastures later in the hay season as the population builds. These maggots feed on the shoots causing the top two or three leaves to die. The plant or field may appear frosted from the damage. Systemic insecticides labeled for use in bermudagrass are not effective in combating bermudagrass stem maggot damage. Instead, they are aimed at controlling the egg-laying adults. When applied from 7 to 10 days following harvest, a pyrethroid insecticide application will normally protect the crop until the next harvest. The timing of the application is critical. During this window, the adults are emerging from larvae that pupated at the time of the cutting and are ready to lay eggs, and pyrethroid applications made after the 7-to-10-day window are less effective because some of the eggs have already been laid and the grass canopy may be too thick to reach the adults resting beneath.

Fall Armyworms

It is also important to continue scouting for fall armyworms. New growth will be particularly vulnerable to a fall armyworm attack. Many producers may be considering planting winter annuals to make up for the shortage of forage and hay from the drought. As these newly planted grasses emerge, they must be frequently scouted and treated if necessary to prevent any stand reduction or a complete loss. Clues to armyworm infestations include a frosted appearance to the field, the presence of birds or an odor of freshly cut grass. Insecticide application is recommended when populations reach an average of two or three worms per square foot. It is possible for hayfields to be dually infested with armyworms and bermudagrass stem maggots. In some cases, the timing of an application may coincide.

For more information, you can contact the Howard County Extension office at 870-845-7517 or find helpful fact sheets on our website at The Cooperative Extension Service is part of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.

By Dawson Bailey
County Extension Agent - Agriculture
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Dawson Bailey
County Extension Agent - Agriculture
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
421 N. Main Nashville AR 71852
(870) 845-7517


The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.