Year of the Army worms

I have never received so many calls about worms in my life. I have been in the fruit and vegetable industry since I was a child, but this year seems unusual. They are hitting pastures, lawns and golf courses this year and I hope this is just an unusual year.

Army worms fall caterpillar Army worms moth caterpillars. It is one of the brown moths we see every night. They can lay up to 1,000 eggs on anything. I recently saw eggs being laid on fences and buildings. After hatching, the larvae go to the grass and begin to spoil. In the last few days of their life, they will eat most of the leaves, while they will be able to cultivate the field in a few days.

If you see them in the grass, they will continue after the worms have eaten everything. It usually takes a few days for your grass to recover and renew its leaves. We have noticed that they seem to prefer different grasses over others; They can be very selective. If you suspect you may have some, soapy water will definitely tell you. Mix only two tablespoons of dish soap with one gallon of water and mix. Pour a small amount of soap mixture over the grass and wait. If they are around or hidden, they will climb up. If you find more than 3-4 larvae in your small area of ​​soapy water, you will need to treat them before they start eating more. A good note is that if our grass is healthy, it should recover well. My grass is a good collection of grass and weeds, but fortunately I have not yet seen any army worms.

Grazing lands can be a little tricky. I recently visited a field where all grazing grass except the Johnson grass is eaten. We have pesticides for grazing, but it all depends on what kind of grass there is in your pasture and whether there are animals in your pasture. Another question is whether to try to cut pasture grass soon. Some pesticides can be sprayed on the day you want to cut straw or turn animals on it. If you are looking for options, call our office and we will discuss your options for your situation as each field is different, and we will give you the right answer.

If you have any questions about any aspect of gardening, feel free to contact Lucas Holman, UT-TSU Extension Agent, Wilson County at 615-444-9584 or


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