By Clint Thompson
Certain insect pest populations are increasing across Alabama. According to the 2021 Alabama Pest Report, the moth counts for fall armyworms and corn earworms are high. Data taken from sticky wing pheromone traps from eight locations across the state show that the fall armyworms numbered 82, up from the previous report of 20.
Corn earworms were at 80, compared to zero during its previous report. Also of note, the southern armyworm numbered 40, compared to 11 in the previous report.
The lesser cornstalk borer numbered 140, which is an indicator of dry soil conditions. The squash vine borer, a major vegetable pest, numbered 120, up from seven in the previous report.
The 2021 Alabama Pest Report says the fall armyworm continues its strong migration into crops in central Alabama. Likely due to recent storms, the fall armyworms have moved up faster and infested crops sooner.
The squash vine borer moths should be laying eggs at the bottom of the plants at this point.
There is also a rapid increase in potato aphids on tomatoes. Cabbage aphids are also high on late-planted brassicas.
Moth activity usually follows with caterpillar pressure within 10 to 14 days. It’s important to continue scouting your crops closely for caterpillars and other insects such as aphids, leaffooted bugs and stink bugs.