When we speak of armyworm we can be referring to many species of worms, especially speaking of pests in crops. The most common is the fall armyworm or by its scientific name Spodoptera frugiperda, which is one of the main pests that can be found on crops in the United States and throughout South America. It is known by that name because it almost always feeds on the plant’s cocoon. In this article we will analyze which are the best insecticide for armyworms, both liquid and in spray. We will also see some organic treatments to control them.
Although the most important damages that this armyworm produces are in large crops, you can also find them in your garden or orchard. You must be attentive and control your plants, because in a couple of days this pest can greatly damage your plantation. Keep in mind that you must use the insecticides that I will recommend here very carefully, uncontrolled use can bring more problems than solutions.
1. Features of army worm
Armyworms feed both day and night, are about 4 cm long, and are light green, yellow, gray, and black in color. As soon as they enter the cocoon of the plant, it becomes very difficult to control, so it is important to treat the crop before this happens.
When they reach adults they are a moth of about 3 or 4 centimeters. Its front wings are grayish and its hind wings are white. They generally lay their eggs on the back of the leaves, in groups of more than 300.
As we said before, they can travel great distances in a short time. So if they finish their meal in one place, they will soon find a better place to eat.
1.1 What do armyworms eat?
Globally, the greatest damage it causes is found in cereal crops such as corn, sorghum and rice. In this type of crops, this pest can reduce its production by levels greater than 30%. Hence the importance of being able to control it.
But the truth is that it not only attacks cereals, but also feeds on other plants. Among them, the ones that fall armyworm likes to eat the most are legumes and some vegetables.
This pest can reduce its production by levels greater than 30%
If you have a orchard at home, you will surely grow tomatoes and lettuce, they are the most common garden crops. If so, you should know that armyworms are very fond of eating tomatoes and lettuce. In fact, if armyworms come into your garden, they can eat just about any plant, grass, for example, that they love.
In warm areas, with very mild winters, they are active throughout the year, while where winters are stronger, they hibernate as larvae underground.
That is why it is good to be attentive, to know how to identify and control this pest. Or it may not leave you anything to harvest in your garden. 🙁
1.2 Armyworms life cycle
To know how to control and attack a pest it is important to know what its life cycle is. In this way we will know in which cases we can apply an insecticide, when it is better not to do it and when it is almost impossible to control it.
Let’s quickly see what the life cycle of an armyworm is:
As you can see in the previous image, the total life cycle of this insect is between 24 and 40 days. And in its larval stage, when it attacks crops, it can live up to 22 days. That’s a long time it can be eating our plants. The time it remains in its most damaging stage for plants is an important detail when analyzing a pest. In this sense, the fall armyworm can be considered a pest that takes a long time to disappear naturally. It is essential to treat with an insecticide on time.
2. Best Insecticide for armyworms
We have already talked enough about the Fall Armyworm, it is time to get to the point of this post. Let’s analyze which are the best insecticides to control this pest.
There are hundreds of insecticides that can be helpful in treating a armyworm infestation. The names of the products will vary depending on the country where you live, in the same way we will detail the best insecticides in a general way.
2.1 Liquid Insecticide for armyworms
When the attack of these armyworms occurs on plants in our garden, such as grass, flower plants, fruit trees, etc., it is very practical to treat it with an insecticide in spray format.
All the products that we will mention here come in liquid format, some to apply in spray, and others to apply in liquid form directly on the floor.
- Garden Insect Spray (Spinosad): this insecticide is fast acting and is totally odorless. It is useful for treating many common garden pests, including armyworms. Following the instructions on the package, you must apply it using a spray on the attacked plants.
- Thuricide BT, Caterpillar Control: This is an insecticide widely used by organic gardeners. It is made from bacteria toxic to many insects, including armyworms. Its degree of toxicity for humans and pets is very low. Its application must be done through the use of a spray.
- Bonide Caterpillar and Worm Killer: this insecticide comes ready to use, you can buy it in a container with its own sprayer. Like the previous ones, it covers many pests, including the fall armyworm. It is a natural product, based on the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis, ideal for organic gardening.
- Sevin Concentrate Pest Control: This is a very broad spectrum product, killing nearly 500 different pests. Its formula allows to protect more than 250 different plants, between ornamental plants, vegetables, fruit trees. It is very effective for the treatment of armyworms, being able to apply it up to a day before the harvest of your vegetables.
- BioAdvanced Complete Insect Killer: Capable of eliminating dozens of surface pests in just 24 hours. In the case of insects that are below the ground (such as armyworm larvae) their useful time is three months after application. It is excellent for controlling pests in the lawn.
I’ve named you just five liquid insecticides for armyworms. In all cases, they are products that you can get online in stores like Amazon.
2.2 Granular insecticide for armyworm
The most common way to attack pests like the armyworm is with liquid insecticides. But there are also a multitude of insecticides in granular format that can be very useful for the control of this plant. Let’s see some of them:
- Spectracide Triazicide Acre Plus Insect Killer: Excellent insecticide for killing insects on outdoor lawns. The moment you start to notice armyworm damage on your lawn, you should apply this insecticide. You just have to distribute the granules evenly in the soil and carry out a watering, this to improve the application. In this way you will be killing insects both above the grass and below the ground.
- EcoSMART Insect Killer Granules: This is an organic insecticide for armyworms and other insects, in granular format, which is safe to apply with children and pets, without risk of damaging the environment. Not only will it kill the bugs, but it will work as a repellent for 2-4 weeks.
- BioAdvanced Grub Killer Plus: Kills a large number of insects, including armyworms, ants, weevils, bed bugs, crickets, scorpions, etc. With just one 10 pound bag you can treat up to 5,000 square feet of your garden. In just 24 hours you will have eliminated a large number of pest insects, ideal for use on grass.
LLike the insecticides for armyworms in liquid format, you can also find them on Amazon.
3. Homemade armyworm spray
We have already reviewed a total of 8 different insecticides in liquid, spray and granular formats. Although some of them are sold as totally organic compounds, the truth is that they all have some chemical compound, which in one way or another end up damaging the environment.
That is why in this section I leave you two formulas of totally organic and homemade insecticides for armyworms. You will see that they are very simple to perform and much cheaper than any of the insecticides that I have recommended so far.
3.1 Fromula of garlic and hot pepper
As you can imagine, to carry out this insecticide you need garlic and a kind of very hot peppers. With these ingredients, a little water and a mixer, we have everything to start with.
Put about four hot peppers, eight garlic cloves, and four cups of water in the blender. Blend this mixture well and let it rest for about eight hours.
With the mixture resting well, you just have to strain it properly and place it in a spray bottle. You will see how this simple homemade insecticide will kill the armyworms that it touches.
3.2 Neem oil based formula
To finish this post I have selected this organic insecticide based on neem oil. In case you don’t know, this oil is the one obtained from the fruits and seeds of the neem tree.
Once a little of this oil has been obtained, the preparation is very easy and fast. You should only put two tablespoons of oil plus two tablespoons of liquid soap in one gallon of water. Shake this solution well until it has been mixed properly.
This mixture is now ready to be placed in a spray container and applied to your plants attacked by armyworms. In case it rains after application, it is advisable to reapply, as it is removed quite easily.
I hope this post has been useful to you. Any questions or recommendations you can contact us. 😉
More infromacion about armyworms control:
- Technical guidelines for sustainable management of fall armyworm – fao.org.
- Management of Fall armyworm – usmission.gov.
- Fall Armyworm Identification and Management – cabi.org.
- Management of the Fall Armyworm on maize – accessagriculture.org