Georgia growers should be on watch for increased armyworm pressure on pastures and hayfields, says Dennis Hancock, University of Georgia Extension forage specialist.
“I’m getting sporadic reports of armyworm throughout Southern Georgia and on into central Georgia,” he says.
For more information on treatment thresholds, insecticide control and management tips, check an Auburn University publication called Management Of Fall Armyworms In Pastures And Hayfields.
The bermudagrass stem maggot is causing major issues as well, Hancock says. “It seems to be fairly widespread in the southern third of the state and sporadic in areas farther north. I've been getting overrun with calls about this issue.”
The insect is so new he can’t offer a lot of concrete answers, he says, although he and colleagues are working to provide some.
“We have no systemic insecticides for forage systems. Contact insecticides are unlikely to make a dent in the problem, given the shear number of flies and the fact that they are flies (i.e., mobile). At this point, we do not have anything that appears to provide control, much less be cost-effective.
“Until then, if you see a severe infestation, the best thing to do is go ahead and cut it. It will not get better, and the damaged crop will only serve to shade and hold back future yields.”
For more information, see "New Insect Attacks Georgia Bermudagrass."