(by Jared Hoyle, KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)
Yesterday I received an email from a friend in Kansas City reporting that there have been multiple sightings of Fall Armyworm in Kansas City; Raytown, MO; Tulsa, OK; Wichita, KS; and DeSoto, KS.
Fall Armyworms (FAW) are a tropical insect that migrate from the south. Once they have migrated they can have multiple generations a year. Here in Kansas we can typically have 2-4 generations but it all depends on when the FAW get here. Young FAW are 0.5″ to 0.75″ long and the mature FAW can get up to 1.5″ long. An inverted “Y” on the top of the dark colored head is the best way to identify this pest.
FAW feed on grasses and will eat turfgrass leaf blades down to the crown. Once they finish that leaf they move on to the next. When there are heavy infestations large areas of green turfgrass will look brown in a matter of 24-hrs or less. When this occurs it can give a lawn or turfgrass area the appearance that the turfgrass is moving.
So are we all “shaking in our boots” now? Well don’t worry the FAW seldom kills the grass. It just kind of scalps it down so a flush new growth will restore the appearance of the turfgrass. With some water it will speed up the process.
Information in this blog post is from http://www.hfrr.ksu.edu/doc1628.ashx . Chemical recommendations for FAW control and can also be found at that publication (Shown in pictures below).
So don’t be too worried, but just be aware that they are in the area.
Hope everyone has a great Labor Day weekend!