Breakdown: Why armyworms could be headed to a lawn near you?

Armyworms are eating hay and wheat crops in Wichita County which makes it difficult for farmers...
Armyworms are eating hay and wheat crops in Wichita County which makes it difficult for farmers to feed their cattle and sell the harvest.(Copyright 2018 RNN Texoma. All rights reserved.)
Published: Aug. 11, 2021 at 3:27 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - For many homeowners, growing grass and making your lawn look good can be a hard task. It takes time and plenty of attention. Imagine finally getting your lawn and grass just right only to find that brown patches are popping up. This is the story for some people in parts of north Mississippi and west Tennessee in Shelby County as more reports of armyworms are starting to surface.

Armyworms are caterpillars that are hairless and stout looking catepillars, that chew grass and grain crops. They are named armyworms because they show up crawling around in large numbers going from field to field or lawn to lawn.

Wikimedia armyworm
Wikimedia armyworm(Wikimedia)

One of my neighbors in north Mississippi told me first hand about the worms. She said they look harmless like a normal catepillar but they can be deadly to your lawn and grass. She remembers the worms from back in 2018 just before I arrived to the neighborhood. She said it was a bad outbreak as many homes went from green to brown lawns. This year the armyworms have made a comeback.

They originate from from South America and they migrate to the US every spring and cause damage to people’s yards every summer and into the fall.

Armyworm is actually a caterpillar that grows into a moth. According to entomologists they will stay in the caterpillar stage for approximately 10-14 days but its the last three days that they do most of their feasting. The worms eat grass, turf and feast on hay fields and crops. They eat constantly so they can damage your grass in just a matter of days. One of the initial signs for detecting the pesks is small areas of dead grass.

Scientist say predicting when armyworms will invade can be a tough call.

Pest control technicians reccommend cutting your grass if you see more than a few worms per square foot of yard and insecticides can help.

Thankfully, armyworms do not bite or sting and are not harmful to people or pets.

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