Summer Time is Armyworm Season
Be on the lookout for Armyworms.
Yep, it’s that time of year to be watching out for armyworms. If you see large areas of your lawn have turned brown overnight, this could be caused by armyworms. Last year we had a major infestation in the Atlanta area. In the middle of July last year, I was called out to a new property as they were concerned about their 13,000 SF fescue lawn turning brown. I wasn’t sure what was going on my first visit, but when I went back two days later and saw that the affected area had more than doubled, I knew something serious has going on.
After a little digging around at the edges of the browned out turf, we found armyworms that were good and fat from all the grass they’d been eating!
I’m hoping that we don’t have such cases this year!
What are armyworms?
Armyworms are the caterpillar of the moth that arrives from Florida every year traveling with weather fronts. They travel north during the spring and summer laying their eggs in large batches between a few dozen to several hundred, resulting in rapid population growth throughout the summer, meaning by the time August rolls around the moth population will have grown exponentially.
Because of this rapid growth and spread, there could be so many armyworms that they will consume whole golf courses, sports fields and residential lawns. They feed mostly on Bahia grass and Bermuda grass, but we’ve seen all grass types affected. Fortunately, they only eat the foliage of the grass and not the roots. So, in most cases, the turf will recover once the worms have moved on or have been eradicated.
If you see armyworms in your lawn, check to see how many you really have before treating the area. One rule of thumb is if you see three or more caterpillars in your lawn per square foot, then you will probably want to treat it. You can call a turf treatment company to do the treatment or do it yourself. If you happen to be one of our clients, let us know, and we will handle this for you.
It is hard to say how long the armyworms can be active, but stay on the lookout for them at least until the end of September or the first part of October.