If you have army worms, you can treat them with Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt, Dipel), carbaryl (Sevin) or various pyrethroids found in the garden centers. The product I chose to use was Duo-cide. You can find this product or a similar product to this at one of our two commercial supply houses, Ewing Supply or JohnDeere Landscapes. Two generations of army worms can be seen in the fall, so watch out for them until the first frost.
The other pest we will encounter soon is the red-headed azalea caterpillar, a serious defoliator of azaleas. The azaleas will look prefect one day and the next be completely stripped of foliage. These caterpillars are brightly colored. They have yellow and black bodies with red legs and head. The female moth, as in the case of army worms, lays a large number of eggs in a cluster, so you have a large number of caterpillars on one shrub.
You can control these caterpillars with the same products you used to control army worms. Also, you can use acephate (orthene) to control them. You need to make sure that the temperature is in the 80s or lower before using acephate.
The best thing to do for now is to scout landscape plants and turf for these pests. Scouting is done by looking at your plants or using the soap flush in turf to find small caterpillars.
Tripp Williams, Colum-bia County’s agriculture and natural resource extension agent, can be reached at (706) 541-4011, or firstname.lastname@example.org.