Warm-season food plots are challenged every day from weedy invaders, over-grazing and insects. Everything wants a piece of a field full of nutritious soils and palatable plants. A healthy food plot can quickly deteriorate because of invading insects. All food-plot crops, including sunflower, grasses, millets, soybean, brassicas, clover and corn are susceptible to one or more of these pests. Pesticides and selective insecticides can control invading insects that invade plots.
While pest damage is common to a small degree on every food plot, only significant losses should trigger pesticide application. Significant degradation will be evident when plants are completely defoliated or the seed heads are being consumed.
Army worms are probably the greatest enemy of wildlife food plots. As indicated in their name, these pests will invade a plot and consume the majority of the plants in just a few days and will demolish a plot in a hurry. Indoxacarb, Xentari, Warrior II and Spinosad can be sprayed to control army worms. For more information on armyworms and other pest control measures, refer to N.C. State University’s 2012 North Carolina Agriculture Chemicals Manual (www.ipm.ncsu.edu/agchem/agchem.html).
Food-plot artisans don’t really require a barn full of farm equipment, although every piece helps! But an ATV-mounted tank sprayer is worth its weight in gold and will continue to get use from pre-planting through food-plot maturation. After significant insect damage is found, plots can be sprayed with specific insecticides to control these invading pests.