What Are Armyworms? & How To Get Rid Of Them?
The Fall Armyworm is the caterpillar (larval stage) of a moth and is more prevalent in the southern and mid-southern states. The insect is typically a minor, nuisance pest in northern lawns. While we do see sporadic, minor infestations of Fall Armyworm in central and southern Ohio & Indiana, they are infrequent. This year, specifically the last 3-4 weeks, however, we have seen a significant population increase. The increase in Fall Armyworm calls to our call center and damage to lawns has been dramatic.
The exact cause for the increase is unknown, but it is known that the adults and eggs can be and are carried by tropical winds and storms coming north from southern areas. They can also be transported by birds, wildlife and even cars! If population numbers are high in any given area or lawn, the Fall Armyworm can cause significant damage in a very short amount of time. Which lawn or which part of a metro area they will attack is very hard to predict and they can cause damage very quickly. Armyworms have chewing mouthparts and eat the individual grass blades.
Multiply one worm by the hundreds, thousands, or even more and you can understand how quickly and how severe the damage they cause can be. In many cases, lawns can go from green to brown literally overnight! Damaged areas can show up as spots of brown & dried out grass in some cases and can also impact larger areas or entire lawns. What makes this damage unique is that it happens fast! In some cases as quickly as 24-48 hours!
Answer: Because of how quickly they move, Armyworms are hard to detect and the damage they cause can occur fast. If you want to confirm Armyworms in your lawn, you can do a soap test to confirm their presence. Click here for instructions on how to perform the test.
Answer: ExperiGreen Lawn Care offers Surface Feeding Insect Control, which will help eliminate the spread of Armyworms and their damage. It’s important to keep in mind that while this can help stop the spread, additional treatments may be needed to fully eliminate them from your lawn.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP YOUR LAWN RECOVER?
In many cases, the individual grass blades are eaten down to the base of the plant (called the crown). If the crown area is still green, the plant may be viable. Watering, especially in high heat/low rainfall periods will be critical to helping your lawn recover.
Regular fertilization, timely weed control, proper watering, and mowing habits will aid in your lawn’s ability to recover.
Liquid aeration and overseeding this fall will make a significant difference in helping your lawn recover. We highly recommend performing repair work on your lawn now, in the fall vs next spring for a multitude of reasons. Cooler temperatures, morning dew, fall rains, and lower weed competition in the fall all are reasons to start your lawn recovery strategies now vs next spring.
As your trusted professional lawn service provider, we wanted to communicate about this unusual pest that is causing damage to central and southern Ohio & Indiana lawns over the last few weeks. We will work with you to help your lawn recover and aid you in the recovery strategies outlined above.
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