Earlier start may mean bumper crop of insects
Scouting fields for armyworm activity is of primary importance – and not just in the lower canopy of wheat, but also in the dirt.
“It’s extremely important where rice, or other small grains like corn and milo are growing that you monitor that and be prepared for the armyworms to go across the road,” Lorenz said. “I’ve seen them crossing the road so thick, the road would get slick from people driving and crushing them. They don’t call them armyworms for nothing.”
Armyworms are also masters of the disappearing act.
Lorenz told of one producer with a damaged wheat crop who thought the worms were gone.
“I told him to lift up the dead grass on the ground and tell me what you see. He lifted it up ad said, ‘they’re everywhere!’” Lorenz said.
“Armyworms are like the vampires of the insect world. They don’t like the sunshine,” Lorenz said. The worms will often seek shelter under rocks or clods of dirt. “Fifty or 60 can cram underneath a dirt clod” the size of a half-dollar.
Chuck Wilson, director of the Rice Research and Extension Center in Stuttgart, said pyrethroids were the product of choice and warned producers to spray as late in the day as possible.
“Pyrethroids break down in sunlight, so late in the day spraying will help maintain activity when the armyworms come out at night.”
Growers should consult the MP-144 “Insecticide Recommendations for Arkansas,” or their county agent.