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Issue No. 11, Article 5/June 3, 2005

Fall Armyworm Moths . . . Already?

Normally thought of as a pest of mid- to late summer, the fall armyworm generally isn't mentioned in the Bulletin in May. However, Ron Hines, senior research specialist at the Dixon Springs Agricultural Center, has captured two fall armyworm moths. The trap located at Rend Lake College in Jefferson County recorded captures on May 27 and May 31. Ron noted that fall armyworm flights usually begin in late June and last through August, although in 2000 there were also early captures of fall armyworm moths.

What does this mean? Perhaps these are isolated captures, and the main fall armyworm moth flight will occur in late June, July, and August. We could also continue to see small numbers of fall armyworm moths in traps until then. During this time, female moths are laying eggs, putting late-planted or replanted seedling-stage corn at risk. Armyworm larvae hatch from eggs in 2 to 10 days and will feed for 2 to 3 weeks. Larvae feed in the whorl of corn plants, causing defoliation. Most corn seedlings will recover from fall armyworm injury if feeding is not severe and the growing point has not been injured.

Fall armyworm larva.

Fall armyworm injury.

Keep an eye on late-planted or replanted cornfields for fall armyworm larvae. We'll continue to keep you updated on the status of this insect this spring.--Kelly Cook

Kelly Estes

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