Wheat Armyworms, and Mythimna separata are also known as climbing cutworms belonging to the Family Noctuidae of the Order Lepidoptera. They are a type of moth larvae and are considered one of the most destructive pests of wheat since they can cause significant damage during the early stages of crop growth. They feed on foliage, stems, and ears of wheat, resulting in extensive damage to the crop. They feed on both young and mature plants but are more likely to damage young plants due to their smaller size.
In some cases, the damage can be so severe that it renders the crop unmarketable. The most common signs of infestation include large numbers of armyworms on the plants, feeding damage in the form of holes in the leaves and stems, and girdling of the stems. To effectively manage this pest, it is important to understand its life cycle, its preferred habitats, and the best methods for controlling it. This article will provide an overview of armyworms in wheat crops, including their symptoms, identification techniques, and control.
Wheat Armyworm Management in Wheat
Life Cycle of Armyworms in Wheat Crop
The life cycle of armyworms in wheat crops can be broken down into four stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. The egg stage of the armyworm is laid in masses on the upper surface of the wheat leaves and can take up to three weeks to hatch. After hatching, the larvae move quickly through the wheat crop, consuming leaves, stems, and heads of the wheat.
The larval stage of the armyworm is also known as a caterpillar, which is the most damaging phase. In this stage, the larvae feed on the wheat crop and can cause significant damage. As the larvae feed, they grow in size and can reach up to 1 – 2 inches in length. After about one month, the larvae will pupate in the soil. The pupal stage of the armyworm is the most vulnerable.
During this stage, the pupae are immobile and can be easily killed by predators or pesticides. The pupae will remain in the soil for about two weeks before emerging as adult moths. The armyworm’s adult moth stage is the life cycle’s final stage. The moths can live up to one month, and they will lay eggs on the upper surface of the wheat leaves, thus repeating the life cycle.
Occurrence of Armyworms in Wheat Field
- Location of Wheat Armyworm: Wheat armyworm pest has been reported in wheat crops in many countries, including Somalia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Brazil, Italy, Australia, the United States, and Mexico.
- Host range: Armyworms feed on various crops, including wheat, oats, barley, sugarcane, rice, jowar, bajra, and sorghum.
Factors Favoring Population Increase of Armyworms in Wheat Fields
- Weather – Warmer weather can provide ideal conditio