Armyworms have been found in southern Michigan and as far north as Charlotte, Mich., last week. And experts are advising farmers to scout for the pest and consider control methods as soon as possible.

"I saw a real bad field north of Indianapolis about two weeks ago, and they've emerged here (in Michigan) already," said Charles Scovill, agronomist with Garst Seeds, Inc. "They were so bad down there that even the grass on the edge of the fields was just sticks. It looked like snake grass.

"They appear to be moving from south to north, but the eggs have been here (in Michigan). Now they're hatching and moving into corn and soybeans."

Armyworms are a problem for farmers because the insect can devour traditional field crops, most often feeding at night making early detection difficult. Once having exhausted their food supply, the worms migrate as an "army" to new host plants in adjacent fields.

Chris DiFonzo, Michigan StateUniversity field crops entomologist, has received reports about armyworm infestation in corn and wheat. She said the wheat crop has been particularly hard hit.

"Back in 2004, our last big armyworm outbreak in wheat, many people commented on how fast damage seemed to occur. One day the field looked fine; a couple days later the wheat had thinned considerably," said DiFonzo.

In the case of armyworms, younger insects are easier to eradicate. That is why detecting their presence early is so important.  Early detection also provides better control with a smaller rate of insecticide, ultimately saving producers money, said DiFonzo.

"There is no substitute for walking into a field to see what is going on," said DiFonzo.

MichiganFarm Bureau