By-catch in Fall Armyworm Traps

Sep. 7, 2023

We have been noticing a number of moths in our fall armyworm (FAW) bucket traps that are not FAW, but rather a species of wainscot moth. These wainscot moths are accumulating in high numbers in the traps, and without proper identication, can be mistaken as FAW. While both moth species are in the same insect family, Noctuidae, FAW is an agronomic crop pest that requires monitoring, and the wainscot moth is not. Below are some images of both moth species. At first glance, one might feel it is easy to distinguish between wainscot moths vs FAWs - however, after some time in a trap, moth wings begin to degrade and identification becomes more difficult. Proper identification of what is in a trap requires sorting through the trap catches and looking specifically at the wings of the moths for key identifcation features. For instance, wainscot moths are lighter in color and have very little color vairation or markings on the forewings. On the other hand, FAW moths are darker and have more color variation and noticable markings on the wings. In addition, if the hindwing is visible, the wainscot moth hindwing is light tan color with no markings and FAW is light tan with a dark band around the outside. 


Please be aware of this by-catch that you may be seeing as you monitor for FAW! Happy scouting!