Fall Armyworms: A Late Season Surprise

By: PJ LieschUW Insect Diagnostic Lab 

Over the last two months, states across the eastern half of the country have reported a historical outbreak of fall armyworms (Spodoptera frugiperda).  The larvae (caterpillars) of this pest can feed on dozens of different types of plants, ranging from field crops to garden vegetables and even turfgrass.  When abundant, these voracious caterpillars can decimate entire crop fields or home lawns over the course of a single night.   

Here in Wisconsin, we haven’t entirely escaped damage, but have fared much better than nearby states like Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. Our northern location and dipping temperatures helped spare us from the widespread damage seen in other states…Continue Reading  

Photo credit: Fall armyworm caterpillar. Photo credit: Frank Peairs, Colorado State University, Bugwood.org. 

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