Armyworms on the Warpath!
Date: June 21st, 2012
Armyworms are destructive pests that quickly decimate entire lawns or fields of crops. Capable of causing thousands of dollars of damage, this nasty pest is one that you need to be on the lookout for!
Despite being called a worm, this insect is actually a caterpillar that eventually hatches into a moth. Despite a short life cycle of only 30-40 days, do not take this pest for granted!
When full-grown, the caterpillar stretches to 1.5 inches long and is usually green or brown, but can appear to be black as well. The caterpillar prefers to feed upon grasses and grains. Timothy hay and wheat are two favorites of the armyworm.
After the caterpillars have sufficiently destroyed most vegetation in a crop field, they will continue on to nearby lawns and backyards. The worms are known to multiply very quickly and what appears to be a small outbreak can rapidly escalate to an all-out attack. A single adult female moth can lay as many as 2,000 eggs in her lifetime!
Signs of Trouble
The first sign of a potential invasion in your lawn could be small patches of brown grass with the edges of the blades chewed. The damaged grass is much more susceptible to drought and other stresses. If the destruction is extensive, reseeding may be necessary.
Prevention and Control
Armyworms are surface feeders that can be controlled by insecticides when identified early. The active ingredients, Permethrin, Carbaryl, and malathion have been found to be effective against Armyworms. These chemicals are present in many over the counter insect killers including Sevin™ brand bug killers and Bonide™ Eight. A wide variety of insect killers for all applications can be found at your local CountryMax store, as well as on www.CountryMax.com.
It is critical to act quickly! As stated before, these pests multiply at amazing rates! You can stop the army if you move fast!
For a PDF with more information and pictures of an armyworm attack in Farmington, New York, click here.