A few days ago I received an email with some troubling content from a good friend and fellow deer manager, Doug Galloway. The piece of dirt Doug plays with is about three hours southwest of The Proving Grounds (my place). Doug reported that one of his food plots was totally destroyed by armyworms. He also reported that the armyworms had removed all the leaves from some oak trees on his property.
This morning, the local extension office reported that armyworms have been identified in several counties in southwest Missouri, including the county where The Proving Grounds is located.
If you are not familiar with armyworms, there is a great summary at Integrated Pest Management. Armyworms are named such because they can literally move across the landscape like an army, eating most forage in their path. They can be so numerous that they will literally stack up several inches deep against a building in their path.
The good news is that infestations are not always at a level that causes massive damage. When they are, there are several insecticides that can be used to control armyworms. Warrior RUP is an insecticide that is commonly recommended to control armyworms. As always, read and follow the product label. Timing of the application is critical as applying too early will not kill the coming worms and waiting too late will result in significant damage to the crop and the worms moving on before the insecticide is sprayed.
For some of you that have food plots in the southern states, the damage from this round of armyworms has already occurred. Some of you in the northern states haven’t even thought about planting yet. However, for those in the Midwest, it will be critical to monitor our plots, check with local extension agents and farmers, etc., to monitor armyworm activity near and at our properties.
Being a deer manager is not simply passing up immature bucks. During the next few weeks, it may mean fighting a literal army of worms for some of us. It’s better to fight than to let an existing food plot be consumed by this pest. The link I described above has some good tips about scouting for armyworms.
Growing Deer together,