Does your lawn look like a herd of goats have attacked it?
Leaving brown dead spots, patches, or maybe nothing but bare ground?
If you take a close look you will more than likely see armyworms marching across the lawn eating everything in their path. If you answered yes, you have been invaded by a brigade of fall armyworms, and they mean business.
In late summer, these camouflaged critters invade our lawns eating off what blades of grass we have left. The damage to established lawns is mostly aesthetic but newly sodded or sprigged lawns can be damaged more brutally or even snuffed out. In late summer most of our turf problems are from the dastardly fall armyworms, and their favorite turf upon which to feed is Bermudagrass of course.
Adult armyworm moths are active at night, sneaking about under the cover of darkness. The female moths are laying the eggs in masses of at least 50 to several hundred eggs at a time. The eggs hatch in a few days and the young baby armyworms begin to feed upon your lawn. Damage caused by small baby armyworms may at first look like your lawn is skeletonized, but as the babies get bigger, they eat the entire leaf.
For some reason if there are any doubts about whether armyworms are marching on your lawn, pour 2 gallons of soapy water on the grass in a 1 ft. by 1 ft. area (1/2 oz. dishwashing soap/gallon water will bring the little critters up to the top of the grass.
Since armyworms are most active late in the day and at night, insecticide applications should be made as late in the day as possible for best results. Do not mow the grass for 1 –3 days after application.
Armyworms can be controlled through the application of an insecticide to the lawn. Here is a list of insecticides to choose from:
BioAdvanced — 24 Hour Lawn Insect & Fire Ant Killer
BioAdvanced — Insect Killer for Lawns
Bonide — Eight Insect Control
Bonide — DuraTurf Insect & Grub Control
Ferti-lome — Broad Spectrum Insecticide
Hi-Yield — Bug Blaster
Ortho — Bug-B-Gon Insect Killer for Lawns
Spectracide — Triazicide Insect Killer for Lawns
READ and FOLLOW all label directions found on the package when using any pesticides.
Don’t forget — do not mow the grass for 1 to 3 days after application.