April 12, 2006

The capture of true armyworm moths are on the rise in western Kentucky, leading to a call for farmers to be on the lookout for these damaging insects.

Pheromone baited traps on the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture’s Research and Education Center captured 290 and 252 moths per trap week, in the week ending April 6. These are unusually large numbers for this time of year, said Doug Johnson, UK Extension entomologist. While trap catch numbers cannot be directly translated to outbreak levels of the damaging larval stage, they certainly indicate that scouting for the pest is necessary, he said.

“In the outbreak year of 2001 our greatest first generation trap captures were about 400 moths per trap week during the middle of April,” Johnson said. “It is definitely possible that numbers near the 300 moths per trap week mark of this first week in April could indicate that record numbers of moths are in the offing during the normal middle-of-May peak time.”

In 2001, Kentucky producers saw outbreaks in hay and pasture fields as well as small grains. It is too early to try control measures, and high trap counts do not necessarily mean that a larval outbreak will occur. It does indicate, however, that producers, scouts and consultants should be watching for the worms to appear, he said.

Additionally, if an outbreak does occur, it will not be uniform across production areas. Each field will have to be evaluated for the presence /absence and relative number of worms.



Doug Johnson, (270) 365-7541, ext. 214