What is an Armyworm and what do they do to your landscaping? Noctuid moth larvae that travel in multitudes destroying everything in its path especially grass and grain. In the USA the southern armyworm is primarily found in the southeastern states. Well that clears it up hmm? The armyworm got their name because they travel in large #’, small armies, and eat everything in their path.
There are several species of armyworm and each causes its own type of destruction.
• The southern armyworm is specific to the southeastern states. It primarily feeds at night and has a broad range of host plants which include vegetables, fruits, field crops and ornamentals.
• Then there is the Yellow stripe armyworm which feed on vegetables crops, grasses and primarily on leaves but will also consume stems and tips of branches. A yellow stripe armyworm can defoliate a young plant.
• The beet armyworm can devastate a crop. They primarily feed on foliage but also a wide range of crops. Evidence of their presence is the skeletonized foliage left behind. The armyworm is a common grass pest but will also eat corn, beets, beans, tomato, flax and other grains.
• True Armyworm will feed on broadleaf plants and crops such as corn
Of the various species the beet army worm is the most devastating.
The earlier you discover you have an Armyworm infestation and treat the problem will result in less damage to your lawn and plants. Armyworms are hard to spot, if you see a larger than normal bird population in your yard or notice that small brown spots start to crop up it’s a good indication you have armyworms. Early treatment when the larvae are small brings the best results. Outbreaks are not common due to the armyworm having many natural predators. Monitor plants closely in early spring or summer months for signs of damage. The fall armyworm is a chronic pest in the southeast and seems to prefer lush, well fertilized Bermuda grass among others. More then 60 plants have been reported as hosts of the fall armyworm. Fall armyworms are more destructive to young not well established grasses such as fescue or orchard grass. The seedlings of these plants are small when the fall armyworm populations are at their highest. This can cause significant damage. As with many other pests treatment is all about the right timing – if detected too late the damage is already done.