Fall Armyworm—Spodoptera frugiperda

Fall armyworms have a wide variety of hosts, favoring grasses, but also attacking vegetables. In Maine they are mostly pests of corn and hay. They cannot survive winters in the northeast and arrive to cause damage later in the growing season.

Larvae are 1 to 1½ inches long, vary in color from light tan or green to nearly black and have a dark head marked with a pale, distinct, inverted "Y". Along each side of the body is a longitudinal black stripe.

The adult moth has white hind wings and dark gray front wings which are mottled with lighter and darker splotches. Each forewing has a noticeable whitish spot near the extreme tip. The wingspan is 1 to 1½ inches.

Larvae defoliate plants and, in the case of corn, feed in the whorl and later the stalks and cobs.

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Identification and Control Information

[Photos, left to right: University of Georgia Archive, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org; William Lambert, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org; University of Georgia Archive, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org]