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Fiery Skipper

Fiery Skippers are found Eastern region of the United states.This species is one of the most frequently encountered orange skippers in yards and gardens.

Fiery skipper

Fiery skipper

Fiery skippers closely resemble butterflies but have a hooked knob at the end of their antennae. They have orange wings and are commonly seen feeding on lantana blossoms. Adult females glue hemispherical eggs singly to the underside of grass leaves. Newly hatch larvae notch leaves. As they grow, they consume entire leaves. The larva is about 1 inch long and has what appears to be an oversized black head, a narrowed “neck” followed by a dark thoracic shield, and a greenish brown body color with a granulated texture. Larvae spin silk shelters in the thatch from the third instar on, and are not readily seen unless flushed out with a drench test.

Fiery skippers rarely encountered or nonexistent in undisturbed regions. The adults will nectar at a wide variety of flower species, although those actually utilized should be recorded by an interested lepidopterist. The species exhibits the rapid skipping flights observed in many members of the family Hesperiidae.

Life Cycle:Egg: White, laid singly on host leaves Mature larva: Brown with numerous tiny, dark brown spots and a dark brown dorsal line. Head black. Chrysalis: Light yellow-brown with two dark brown longitudinal stripes.

Fiery skippers

Fiery skippers

DAMAGE Fiery skippers is usually seen from May through September and begins as brown spots of lawn, 1 to 2 inches in diameter. Spots may join together to form large, irregular dead patches. Leaves are chewed or missing. Damage usually occurs near flower beds where adults feed.

Managment:Reduce the layer of living and dead stems, roots, stolons, and rhizomes between the green blades of grass and the soil surface. Overseed with grasses that are not preferred. If more than 15 larvae are found per square yard, you may need to treat. Beneficial nematodes or an application of Bacillus thuringiensis effective against larvae.

CONTROL: Larvae are attacked by parasitic braconid and ichneumonid wasps. The extensive soil or thatch contact of fiery skipper larvae may make Steinernema carpocapsae nematodes a valuable control measure, although this has not been tested. Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. kurstaki (Bt) may also be effective against fiery skipper, although more testing is needed to determine its efficacy for this purpose. Use the drench test to monitor this pest, see MONITORING AND TREATING INSECTS AND MITES. Five larvae per square yard on bentgrass greens and 15 per square yard in bermudagrass indicate treatment thresholds.

Fiery skippers Larvae

Fiery skippers Larvae

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