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Yellowstriped Armyworms in Wakulla County

Yellowstriped armyworms are currently eating their way through Wakulla County specialty crops.

Yellowstriped armyworms are currently eating their way through Wakulla County specialty crops.

Yellowstriped armyworms, Spodoptera ornithogalli, have made an appearance in Wakulla County, Florida. While common in the eastern United States, and even as far west as the Rocky Mountains, as a pest its occurrence is limited primarily to the southeastern states.

The larvae damage plants by consumption of foliage. Yellowstriped armyworms typically skeletonize foliage but, as the larvae grow and disperse, they consume irregular patches of foliage or entire leaves.

These species are general feeders, capable of damaging many crops. Among vegetable crops injured are asparagus, bean, beet, cabbage, cantaloupe, carrot, corn, cucumber, lettuce, onion, pea, potato, rhubarb, rutabaga, salsify, sweet potato, tomato, turnip, and watermelon.

Other crops damaged include alfalfa, blackberry, cotton, clover, grape, lentil, peach, rape, raspberry, sorghum, soybean, sugarbeet, sweetclover, sunflower, tobacco, wheat, and several flower crops. In many cases, yellowstriped armyworms emerge on weeds or rangeland plants, with subsequent generations affecting crops.

Several wasp parasitoids prey upon this pest, and insecticides are an option for agronomic crops. For additional information on the biology and management of yellowstriped armyworms please read the following UF/IFAS publication.   Yellowstriped Armyworm, Spodoptera ornithogalli (Guenee) (Insecta: Lepidoptera: Noctuidae)


Author: Les Harrison – harrisog@ufl.edu

Les Harrison is the UF/IFAS Wakulla County Extension Director. He began his work in the Northwest Extension District as the Sustainable Agriculture and Extension Technology Agent in Leon County on August 25, 2006. His career in agriculture extends back over thirty five years and includes work in business, government and academic positions. Prior to working with the Extension Service, he spent 16 years with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in the Division of Marketing and Development. He worked in four of the division’s six bureaus. He has also managed farm supply cooperatives in Alabama and Virginia with annual sales over four million dollars, worked for an international grain company, and was a research associate for Auburn University’s Agricultural Economics Department. He has a Master’s of Science Degree in Agricultural Economics from Auburn University and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Journalism from the University of Florida. He is the author of over 400 publications and has written professionally for print and broadcast media.

Les Harrison

Permanent link to this article: http://okaloosa.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2013/08/17/yellowstriped-armyworms-in-wakulla-county/