Early Alert for Fall Armyworms

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Rick Brandenburg & Terri Billeisen
 
Most of you are aware that fall armyworms do not overwinter in North Carolina and must migrate from Florida and the Gulf Coast each summer to initiate infestations. We use pheromone traps to monitor flight into the state so we can get a reasonable idea of when we might start seeing damage from the larvae. Capturing moths in June is not unusual and we often see outbreaks in late July through October.
This year, fall armyworm moths have been captured in traps in early May in North Carolina. Obviously, that is concerning. It doesn’t mean we will have massive outbreaks or even outbreaks happening really early, but it is a warning. We will continue to monitor the situation, but this is unusually early and we need to be aware and potentially be ready for fall armyworms outbreaks in July. For additional information on fall armyworm biology and control, visit the fall armyworm pest profile page on TurfFiles.