Army Worms

Order/Family: Lepidoptera/Noctuidae

Description:

  • Adult moths are gray-brown to pale brown. The moth’s wingspan is about 1-1/2-inches.
  • The common armyworm has a white spot in the center of each forewing.
  • The fall armyworm wings are dark gray with a patch of white near the tip.

 

Biology and Habits:

  • Greenish white globular eggs are laid in rows or clusters on grass leaves or other objects near turf areas. Some females camouflage the eggs with body hairs.

 

 

Turf Attacked:

  • Common Armyworm: all common turgrasses.
  • Fall Armyworm: bermuda, bent, fescue, rye and bluegrasses
  • Lawn Armyworm: bermuda and zoysia grasses

 

Damage:

  • Only the larvae cause turf damage. The adults feed on plant nectar.
  • When the young larvae hatch, they jointly devour the vegetation in the immediate area, then migrate as a group to a new feeding site.
  • Larvae damage the underside of the leaves making the upper surface appear transparent. They also feed on the edges of the grass blades producing a tattered look.
  • Bits of uneaten grass and green colored frass is indicative of infestation.
  • Large areas, i.e., entire lawns, can be mowed down in several days.
  • Excessive feeding damage can kill bent and fescue grasses.