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July 15, 2021
By Mary HightowerU of A System Division of Agriculture
(Newsrooms: With art https://flic.kr/s/aHsmWd2LaZ)
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The fall armyworms surging through Arkansas pastures and lawns
apparently don’t understand the concept of a killing freeze.
Like the old saw, this army travels on its stomach, and searches for tender plants
to eat. The armyworms can often render a lush pasture nearly barren in a day.
“Right now, we’re seeing populations well above treatment thresholds in southern,
southwestern and western Arkansas from Mena into Fort Smith and Van Buren,” said Kelly
Loftin, extension entomologist for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.
“We’re seeing reports in north-central regions like Cleburne County over into Greene
Numbers have been increasing each week for the last 2 1/2-3 weeks. Fall armyworm catches
have been highest in the following:
“It’s a pretty intense year,” he said. “It’s a shocker.”
The deep freeze that took over much of Arkansas, Texas and other parts of the South
back in February should’ve put the kibosh on fall armyworms.
“Armyworms overwinter as adults in south Texas,” Loftin said. “If we look at the temperatures
we had in February, we would’ve expected more winter mortality.”
"Because of the extended rains during the spring, many ranchers had both quantity
and quality issues in their first cutting of hay, making it all the more imperative
to protect what’s left in meadows and pastures, for future grazing or cutting,” he
John Jennings, professor and extension forage specialist for the Division of Agriculture,
said lots of infestations are being reported.
“Often the armyworm moths are attracted to the most tender growing forage, so new
growth on recently cut hay fields, well-managed pastures and newly planted summer
forages like millet, sorghum/sudan, and crabgrass are at greatest risk,” he said.
Damage from small armyworms often shows up as light-colored grass tips similar to
frost or as small patches of green tissue missing from the leaf surface called windowpane
feeding. Damage from larger worms is more obvious with leaves and young stems being
“Producers should scout all fields closely with in-field observations and not from
the pickup windshield,” Jennings said.
Find additional information at the extension armyworm page; https://www.uaex.edu/farm-ranch/pest-management/insect/armyworms.aspx
Download the fact sheets: “Managing Armyworms in Pastures and Fields,” https://www.uaex.edu/publications/pdf/FSA-7083.pdf and “Fall Armyworm Recognition and Management” at https://bit.ly/3wFGKen.
To learn about extension programs in Arkansas, contact your local Cooperative Extension
Service agent or visit www.uaex.uada.edu. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @AR_Extension. To learn more about Division
of Agriculture research, visit the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station website:
https://aaes.uark.edu. Follow on Twitter at @ArkAgResearch. To learn more about the Division of Agriculture,
visit https://uada.edu/. Follow us on Twitter at @AgInArk.
About the Division of Agriculture
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen
agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption
of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative
Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work
within the nation’s historic land grant education system.
The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas
System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension
and Research programs and services 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.
# # #
Media contact: Mary Hightowermhightower@uada.edu