Identification: Young armyworms are pale green; older larvae are brownish with stripes along their bodies. Several species attack a variety of garden crops, including corn, beets, tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, onions, and peas. Adults are gray-brown moths that migrate northward in the spring to lay eggs on host plants and in lawns.
Damage: Armyworms feed at night on plant foliage and grass blades; they hide under foliage and debris during the day. Severe feeding can result in dead areas of lawn and ragged-looking or defoliated crops.
Control: There are several options to control and/or eliminate armyworms:
- Encourage native beneficial insects such as parasitic wasps that prey on caterpillars.
- Weed out grassy weeds as well as pigweed, plantain, and lamb’s quarters, which are host plants for the beet armyworm.
- Rose Rx 3-in-1 Wards off spider mites, whiteflies, lily beetles and Japanese beetles. Also controls black spot and powdery mildew. It works for all flowers and ornamentals; safe for houseplants and food crops, too.
- Caterpillar Control Eliminates cabbage loopers on broccoli, tomato hornworms and even the larvae of tent caterpillars and gypsy moths in fruit and ornamental trees. Active ingredient: Bacillus thuringiensis kurstaki
- Grub Guard Contains beneficial nematodes, naturally occurring microorganisms that live in the soil. They feed on Japanese beetle grubs, Colorado potato beetle grubs, cutworms, root weevils, flea larvae and other soil-dwelling insects. Won’t harm earthworms or most beneficial insects, safe around pets.
- Spinosad Spray A soil-dwelling bacterium that controls dozens of insect pests: bagworms, borers, beetles, spider mites, tent caterpillars, loopers, and more.
- Slug Guard These beneficial nematodes are tiny, soil-dwelling predators that target slugs, killing them within 48 hours. One application is effective all summer. Unlike chemical controls, they won’t harm earthworms or most beneficial insects, and they are safe to use around children and pets.