In early August, NC State entomologist Rick Brandenburg observed fall armyworm (FAW) activity in North Carolina, sounding the alarm via a post on social media. If you remember a few years ago, the infestation and damage was widespread and devastating, leading to a heightened sense of awareness when it comes to this pest.
There are a few things to remember about FAW, Spodoptera frugiperda. First is proper identification. FAW has a dark stripe down both sides, four dark spots on the eighth segment and a distinctive upside down “Y” marking on the head capsule.
Second is the determination of an active population. This is easiest done using the soap flush technique described on NC State’s NC Turf Bugs page. It has great information on how to properly use this method.
If you do find FAW, we have some options. Most of the synthetic pyrethroids are effective in control, including Bifen from Albaugh, and Bifenthrin from CSI/Qualipro. Another option is CSI ProFlex.
These are best applied as a liquid spray in the evening. Just make sure to suspend watering for one day. The reason that we want to shut off irrigation is that these larvae feed primarily at night and if the turf area is watered, it may move the pesticide lower than where the insect is feeding.
Lean on Us for Help with Pests and Other Turf Issues
If you have any other questions about fall armyworms, feel free to reach out. Ewing’s Turf Tech Team, myself and Pat Gross, are here to help you with pest control solutions and to answer any turf-care questions you have, so lean on us for expertise and product selection. Feel free to email me at email@example.com or call/text 480-669-8791 and email Pat at firstname.lastname@example.org or call/text 714-321-6101.