Keeping an eye out for armyworms in crops

Heavy populations of armyworm have arrived in Indiana earlier than normal. Farmers need to scout their at-risk fields. (Purdue Entomology Photo/John Obermeyer)
Heavy populations of armyworm have arrived in Indiana earlier than normal. Farmers need to scout their at-risk fields. (Purdue Entomology Photo/John Obermeyer)

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – Purdue Extension entomologists are asking farmers to keep an eye out for armyworms in cornfields.

Scientists said cornfields which use grass, wheat or hay to cover crops are most susceptible to infestation. The worms lay eggs in the different types of grass and wheat during the fall and winter.

Experts said if not spotted in time, an armyworm infestation can cause crops to almost disappear overnight.

“If it doesn’t kill the plant, and let’s say its four-leaf corn, you’re talking about a 10 week delay in what could have been maturity at the end of the season,” said John Obermeyer, Purdue integrated pest management specialist.

Armyworms typically eat at night and will leave small notches in leaves.

Obermeyer said they are typically found just under the grass or corn and can be killed with an insecticide.

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