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Armyworms in field crops

Armyworm is the caterpillar stage of certain moths and can occur in large numbers especially after good rain follows a dry period. During the day armyworms shelter in the throats of plants or in the soil and emerge after sunset to feed. They like to feed on young leaf tissue, giving the leaf margins a tattered appearance. Heavy feeding leaves only the midrib of the leaf. The most serious damage results from the habit of the older larvae of feeding on the green stem just below the head of maturing barley. The severed heads fall to the ground and cannot be harvested. Control is rarely warranted except where large numbers attack small plants.

Further information

  • Crop Insects: The Ute Guide Northern Grain Belt.
  • Pests of Field Crops and Pastures: Identification and Control. Editor: P.T. Bailey.

Last updated 10 June 2010