Fall Armyworm Maybe Crawling Around
The fall armyworm, primarily a pest of the southern United States, is a potential problem during late summer in the northern United States. The fall armyworm is a tropical pest that has a restricted overwintering area that reaches from south Florida along the gulf coast to southern Texas. Although a persistent pest in the southern United States, in the northern areas it’s considered a sporadic pest. In the northern United States one generation occurs, usually at this time. When fully grown the army worm is about 1.5 inches long. It ranges in color from olive green to light tan, to nearly black, typically with light stripes that run the length of the body. An inverted "Y" is present on the front of the head of the caterpillar.
Fall armyworms can feed on the turfgrass foliage often moving across the turf from its edge. The damage can occur rapidly and is often devastating. Monitoring for the pest through night observation of the adult moth flight (around street lights) and occasionally soap flushes (for caterpillar) are effective means for checking for pest presence.