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Home Armyworms March Again

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Armyworms March Again

Reports are starting to come in from our branches that armyworms have become active once again. Spodoptera frugiperda, commonly known as the Fall Armyworm, is the caterpillar stage of a moth that actively destroys pastures, crops, and lawns. Armyworms will eat everything in the area until there is nothing left; the “army” then moves on to find another food source. With favorable conditions, such as a mild winter and a warm summer, heavy infestations can occur. Feeding takes place primarily at night and can cause considerable damage before being discovered. Early stages of damage may appear like heat-stress (brown patches) on your lawn and although major damage is rare, a large infestation can completely remove grass from a lawn area. In rare cases, armyworms can destroy a lawn in 24 hours (as was the case in 2000 in Oklahoma). Armyworm larvae range from dull yellow to gray or brown with three yellowish stripes down the back. They typically measure about 1.5 inches long and have a white, inverted “Y” mark on the head.