Fall Army Worms in
North Florida Lawns
Checking Insect Numbers In the Lawn:
lawn for Fall Armyworms and the sighns of damage they can
do should be done frequently to carefully monitor both harmful and beneficial insect
All armyworms are
light brown moths with a wingspan of about 1 ½ inch the fall army worm has a noticeable white spot near the wing
tip. Caterpillars are about an inch and a half when mature and are a pale brown to black with stripes along
their sides. Immature caterpillars are a olive grayish green and have a stripe that runs along their back. A
prominent inverted white Y on the head of the caterpillar makes it easier to identify from other similar pests or armyworms.
Damage to Lawn Grass by Fall Army
Larvae of the fall
army worm when in the more immature stage feed only on one side of the leaf blade leaving a transparent area on
the leaf blade but more mature caterpillars will consume entire areas of the leaf. When food supply becomes
depleted in large populations army worms will move locations in masses making a little army of moving
caterpillars giving them their name.
Feeding Habits of Fall Army
Fall armyworms are pests primarily on Bermudagrass, although they
can damage legumes, some vegetable and fruit trees and flowers as well.
Reproduction and Life Cycle in
Jacksonville | St. Augustine | North Florida Areas:
Fall army worms migrate long distances. Life cycles begin in the spring when
migrations reach the US or when overwintering pupae emerge as adult moths. Several generations of armyworm will
occur each year with the life cycle form egg to pupae only lasting a few weeks. Fall armyworms pupate in the
soil in loose cocoons.
Control for Fall Army
Predacious earwig, several spiders, ground beetles and
parasitic wasps all help to keep populations of lawn caterpillars in check.
Check for insect populations using a flashlight at night or
the can flush method.
throughout Florida have shown significant decrease lawn caterpillars by maintaining proper cultural procedures.
See reducing the need for chemical control.
When no beneficial insects are found and lawn caterpillars reach more than 10 per square foot then chemical
control may be necessary. Thuricide, Diazanon, Sevin or Dursban may be used in accordance with package label
directions for sod webworm treatment.
A Word of Caution from Me to You:
Perhaps it is my many years of dealing with the people in
the Agriculture industry who have lived long lives and encountered many troubles with chemicals during their
careers, but I cannot talk about chemical control without at least my mentioning the following
Make sure to read all directions carefully and apply liquid sprays diluted with
water at the application rate recommended on the product label for the pest you are targeting and do not mix
stronger than suggested target treatment rates.
insecticides are POISONS and approach their use with caution, wear protective eye gear and chemical resistant
gloves and rubber boots as well as long sleeved shirts and pants. Remember to wash these items separately from
other laundry immediately after application and shower after getting the clothes into the
Lastly but most
importantly, pay particular attention to lock unused chemicals up away from visiting children and pets.
So that’s it on the
speech about chemicals, I hope I have been able to help you know what’s wrong and how to treat it so now you
have to help me sleep easier by indulging me with these motherly concerns, fair trade don’t you think?
I’ll sleep easier knowing that you did.