Fall Armyworms on the Move in Johnston County

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In the last week, several severe infestations of fall armyworms have been identified in Johnston County, particularly in bermudagrass hayfields with more than 6″ of growth. Fall armyworm larvae can strip a field of standing forage to stems within days. Growers are highly encouraged to scout standing bermudagrass fields every 1-3 days to look for damage. Drive around the edges of fields, paying particular attention to areas near woodlines, fences, or other structures, as larvae typically hatch and spread from these areas. An unusual number of birds feeding in a bermudagrass field can also be an indication of an infestation.
If the hay is ready for harvest and the weather allows, cutting the hay will usually cause feeding activity to cease. Otherwise, insecticide application is necessary to save the crop. Control options, including a listing of insectides labeled in North Carolina, can be found on the Forages website.
Please contact the N.C. Cooperative Extension of Johnston County office at 919-989-5380 if you have concerns or questions about fall armyworms.bermudagrass