Armyworms are a species of caterpillar that may seriously harm Zoysia grass among other types of grass. These bugs leave behind a brownish-gray residue after feeding on the grass’s leaves. By seeing the harm they have done to your lawn or by searching for their larvae in the soil, you may determine whether armyworms are present there. If you suspect an infestation, it’s critical to act right away since armyworms may seriously harm Zoysia grass if left untreated.
How do armyworms appear? You won’t predict their coming. On the grass blades, female moths will deposit up to 2,000 small eggs. A few days later, the eggs hatch. The small caterpillars start off green with a black head and transform to brown with white lines on the side and a reddish-brown head as they eat through the grass over the period of around 14 days. They can reach lengths of more than an inch. Your yard is in jeopardy if you notice something eating your grass.
The reason why fall armyworms are called that is because they really move over a lawn like an army while feeding. Due of its late summer and early fall emergence, this pest has several generations to cause havoc in the South. People whose lawns are severely infected claim to be able to hear the eating. These assassin-like caterpillars only move at night and spend the daytime slithering inside silk-lined holes. They could first appear as a brown patch of grass that grows larger every day. Or you can go outside one morning and see nothing but dirt where a grass was the previous evening.
Almost all of the states east of the Mississippi are infested by fall armyworms, but the Southeast is where they cause the most trouble. That’s because they might only have one or two generations every year where fall arrives early in the north. You can get twice as many in the South. Yay! twice as likely to have a yard made entirely of bare dirt! Let’s play in the mud straight away and turn on the sprinkler!
In the sights. In regards to armyworm damage, I have both good and bad news. You’re safe if your lawn is made of zoysia grass. Armyworms in the fall don’t enjoy zoysia. The bad news is that they adore tall fescue, Kentucky bluegrass, Bermuda grass, and St. Augustine. The first two often escape the attack and return. The last two frequently perish.
Take the Army down! Finding autumn armyworms early, before they put in their final all-nighter on your lawn, is the key to combating them. If you capture armyworms when they are still caterpillars that are half an inch or smaller, you may cure them naturally by spraying your grass with a bacteria called Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), which is safe and only kills caterpillars. However, it won’t work on fully grown caterpillars.
I suggest acquiring a hose-end bottle of garden pesticide designated for armyworms to treat them. This facilitates quick and simple lawn spraying. Granular pesticides for lawns are ineffective.
Most gardeners have to deal with pests; while invasions may not always be predictable, we may always lower our vulnerability to assault and respond appropriately when we are injured.
In the summer, the life cycle lasts 30 days, while in the spring and fall, it lasts 60 days. Up to 2000 small eggs are laid by female moths on the blades of grass, and they hatch a few days later.
The small, 1- to 1.5-inch long caterpillars are initially green. They “march” through your lawn in big groups (in the thousands), eating it as they go. Fall armyworms’ color turns to brown with white lines on the side and a reddish-brown head as they consume grass.
The larvae eat on your grass for two to three weeks before they burrow into the ground to pupate. A fresh moth population appears in two weeks. The adult moth, which has a wingspan of around 1-1.5 inches after emerging from its pupal case, can be challenging to differentiate from other moth species. They pose no risk to your grass while they are still moths.
In warm-season turfs like Bermuda and St. Augustine in the southeast, fall armyworms are a major problem. Despite the fact that it is a warm-season grass, they dislike zoysia.
By eating the leaves of Bermuda and Fescue grass, fall armyworms harm the environment. They form a distinct demarcation between the injured and undamaged turf grass because they cross the turf surface together.
The first sign of their appearance can be a brown patch of grass that grows bigger every day. Or they could be really aggressive, leaving you with a lawn covered with just soil in a day or two.
Fall armyworms are cunning pests that only move at night and spend the daytime in soil-lined burrows.
Early detection of fall armyworms is essential for preventing the devastation they cause. A year-round lawn care program is essential for both preventative and curative maintenance.