The weather as of late has turned favorable for an insect that can cause mass destruction in your lawn – the Fall Army Worm. Our weather in North Texas has become wet and cooler as we start September. This is a major red flag for me and we need to be aware of this insect’s potential proliferation.
Fall Army Worm Caterpillars are the larval stage of the Fall Army Worm Adult Moth. The adult moth can lay up to 1,000 eggs at a time and do so in various places in, on and around turfgrasses. Once the eggs hatch, the larvae lower themselves to the turf to feed. In large enough numbers, they can eat huge sections of the green portion of your turf (grass blade) in a very short time period. They cannot be prevented or treated with insecticide granular products and must be sprayed to be controlled.
If you are already signed up for our Insect Control Program, you are covered. If you aren’t, contact us for pricing and we’ll ensure you get scheduled for treatment if necessary. This service also controls mosquitos, ticks, fleas, spiders, fire ants, chiggers and whole array of additional insects that are not only pests to you and your pets but to your lawn and ornamental plants as well.
Army Worm Detection and Warning Signs
Army Worms Are Visible
This is when you can actually see the caterpillar stage in your lawn. Young caterpillars under ½ inch will be light to medium green. Adults will be green to grey, up to 1 ½” in length and have an inverted “Y” on their head. You will find them feeding on the grass blade or on the ground surface, especially during morning hours before the heat of the day.
Brown Sections of Grass
If there are areas of your lawn that were green when you went to bed and brown when you woke up, it’s likely due to Army Worms. Normally you will see this happen in separate sections at first (i.e. the back yard is affected but the front yard is fine). It can, though, happen all over your yard at once. This is commonly confused with heat stress or lack of watering.
Moths Are Appearing In Your Lawn
Army Worms go through four life cycles – egg, larvae, pupae and adult. The adults are white to grey moths with ¾” to 1 ½” wingspan. They form in your lawn and breed in your lawn. If you see them flying or kick them up while your are walking through the grass, your lawn has Army Worms present.
If you are seeing any or all of these signs, let us know right away.
Although Army Worms are destructive, I don’t want anyone reading this to be alarmed. We at American Lawnscape perfected our treatment practices during the 2018 infestation. We are prepared to act quickly with the correct products to eradicate these and many more harmful yard pests!
As always, keep it Green!
* Photo courtesy of Texas A&M Agrilife Extension, Casey Reynolds, PhD