June 2012: True Armyworm infestations have been reported in eastern and western NY.
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True armyworm (aka Common armyworm) larvae are being found across New York State. They do not overwinter in New York, but fly north from states to our south in the spring. Armyworm moth migrations are somewhat sporadic, cyclic from year to year, and difficult to predict. Our last notable infestations in New York occurred in 2001 and 2008. True armyworms are primarily a pest of plants in the grass family: forage / pasture /grasses & lawns, small grains and corn.
True armyworm larvae appear smooth, cylindrical, pale green to brownish when they are still small. Mature larvae are smooth and marked with two orange, white-bordered strips on each side. Larvae range in size from 1/8 inch to 1 1/2 inches long.
Young true armyworm larvae collected 7.18.12 from grass hay field in Jefferson County NY.
Pseudaletia unipuncta, photo by James Kalisch, University of Nebraska, Bugwood.org
True army worm in wheat 6.8.12 Reed Rd Genev, NY. Photo by Keith Waldron, NYS IPM.
Armyworm in orchard grass next to wheat field, Geneva, NY. 6.10.12 Photo by Keith Waldron, NYS IPM.
Armyworms infesting a wheat field:
Armyworms on a road: