In last week's Bulletin (issue no. 4, April 20, 2001), I wrote an article about the types of moths that Ron Hines, senior research specialist, Dixon Springs Ag Center, Pope County, is capturing in pheromone traps. People who operate either pheromone traps or blacklight traps expect to capture moths at this time of year, but only a few of them create any economic concerns. Obviously we all want to know about the activity of black cutworms when they begin to fly into Illinois from southern states at this time of year. However, wheat growers might be interested particularly in armyworm activity.|
Armyworm moths fly into Illinois at the same time as black cutworm moths; who knows, maybe they fly "tarsus in tarsus" (the entomological version of hand in hand). Ron has captured armyworm moths in some of his traps in southern Illinois, so wheat producers can anticipate finding armyworm larvae in their fields soon. The first few instars cause very little obvious feeding damage, but the larger instars can defoliate plants very quickly. In next week's issue of the Bulletin, we'll offer an overview of armywormsbiology, scouting tips, and thresholds.
Armyworm moth. (Note the single small, white dot on the center of the forewing that is characteristic for this species.)
We'll keep our eyes on other moths early in the year, including corn earworm, European corn borer, and southwestern corn borer. If conditions favor their survival this spring, all of these pests could cause significant damage in some areas. We'll keep you apprised of developments over the next few weeks.--Kevin Steffey