Have you ever noticed a strange brown dead grass in your backyard? One that looks like a drought? Have you ever seen tiny bulky eggs that look like teen styrofoam balls stuck to your furniture?
You are not alone. For the first time since 1977, army worms have moved from their traditional farms in Kentucky and are eating grass and golf courses.
We talked to Kentucky Intologists to find out what these worms are and what to do if you see them in your yard.
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What is a fallen army worm?
The army worms that are now plaguing Kentucky are, in fact, the moths of the army.
Army worms often eat grasses and cereals. Army worms spread out over a wide area and ate whatever they could find.
Falling worms can be found in all of the Eastern and Central United States. In the colder temperatures below, the army worms cannot survive, so it spends its winter in Texas and Florida before searching for food.
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The caterpillars have a “Y” shape on the back of their heads and three stripes in the middle of their bodies, distinguishing them from those found.
What do we expect from the fallen army bugs most of the time, and what are we seeing now in Kentucky?
According to Bethany Pratt, a Jefferson County Veterinary Education Agent for the University of Kentucky’s Cooperative Expansion Service, fallen army worms are an annual pest in Kentucky.
But most of the time, they are not homeowners, they are a problem for Kentucky farmers.
“The corn or soybeans may have been in contact with the army worms,” Pratt said. Injuries are not primarily found in lawns.
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Pratt can often receive two dozen calls in the Jefferson County about war worms from late summer to early fall. This year she will receive many calls every two days.
According to Pratt, the caterpillars usually emerge by mid-June and live for 30 to 40 days. These are the crystals that destroy your grass. The larvae then learn to bury themselves in the ground. Once they appear, adult moths lay a second round of eggs and the process is repeated.
According to Pratt, we are at the end of round one and will soon begin the second round.
Are Fallout Worms Invading Species?
No. The fallen army worms are native to the United States and this region, Pratt.
But army worms are very aggressive, so the way they enter and destroy the compound can be called invasion.
What signs should homeowners look for to diagnose a fallen army worm?
Pratt’s homeowners are advised to take a pot of soapy water and place it on the grass. This pushes any buried army worms to the floor where they are seen.
The bite of an army worm is also a good clue, Pratt said. Army worms sometimes eat only the top layer of grass that leaves a “dirty glass” effect.
Once identified, what can be done to control an army worm?
Unfortunately, it may be too late when you notice that grass cover.
Those brown markers, the army worms, have already passed through your grass and are probably now digging underground and growing.
According to Pratt, it is best not to sow your grass again, as the second wave of worms is just around the corner.
Instead, check the number of eggs for the next round. These sticky little eggs can be seen on buildings, furniture, decorations, plants and any other exterior.
This is your sign to treat your yard for small caterpillars after seeing the number of eggs. It is recommended to spray Prat Monterey Beet or Spinosad.
Above all, Pratt emphasizes that even if you can do it, it will not completely eliminate the worms of the army.
“They plan to control or not to control them,” Pratt said. Nothing will be 100% controlled unless you remove your lawn.
Reach Sylvia Goodman at email@example.com. Find him on Twitter at @sylviaruthg.