Fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda,was a big problem for some fall 2021. With no ability to diapause (go into an overwintering state) and a low tolerance of cold temperatures, the low to extremely low temperatures recently experienced throughout Ohio have assured that THEY ARE DEFINITELY DEAD. The burning question now is, will it again be a problem this coming summer 2022?
Fall armyworm is native to semi-tropical to tropical regions from the southern United States to Argentina in the western hemisphere. It is not native to Ohio and cannot survive our winter low temperatures.
There are several armyworms that are native to Ohio. They can attack turf and winter wheat in the spring.
Common armyworm, Mythimna unipunctais native to Ohio.
Yellowstriped Armyworm (S. ornithogalli) and on occasion, Beet Armyworm, S. exigua,are resident to Florida but can make their way north traveling in air currents.
That’s exactly how fall armyworm arrived! A southern flow of air from Texas transported moths some 500 miles in 24 hours. These moths arrived late July or early August. Eggs were laid and hatched causing extensive damage to turf on golf courses and in home lawns and in the agricultural crop, alfalfa.
Note the following two articles in BYGL:
Fall Armyworms March Across Ohio
Re-Alert: Fall Armyworm, Part II?
So, what about this upcoming summer 2022? It will depend on the weather, air flow, and southern populations next summer.
Dr. Dave Shetlar states:
“Will we repeat the fall armyworm damage in 2022? My answer is simple. I really don’t know. History has taught us that armyworm outbreaks rarely occur year to year, but my thoughts are we are dealing with new weather patterns and I’m a bit concerned that this fall armyworm outbreak may have been caused by a genetic adaption in the population. This would help explain the shifts in food preferences and activity. For certain, I will certainly be listening to my southern colleagues next June and July to monitor what they are seeing which may suggest if we will get another big influx of this pest.”