How to Get Rid of Army Worms
Army worms are known to plague lawns throughout Florida. These ravenous pests feed at night and are able to destroy entire landscapes within days. Learn more about army worms and what you can do to protect your lawn from these insects.
What are Army Worms?
Army worms are not actually worms, but the larvae of various species of moths. These caterpillars get their name from the way that they march across your lawn like an army of hungry soldiers, devouring everything in their path. While you can easily spot armyworm damage, the pests themselves are only active at night and retreat to their burrows during the day.
What do Army Worms Look Like?
Army worms are approximately 1 ½ inch in length and vary in color from dark greenish-brown to black. They usually have long white, orange, or brown stripes along the length of their abdomen, while their heads are commonly yellowish-brown and smaller than the rest of their body.
Where do Army Worms Come From?
Army worms are native to North America and can be found in areas east of the Rocky Mountains and as far north as southern Canada.
Army Worm Damage
One of the first signs of an armyworm infestation is discolored grass that lays completely flat. As the insects feed, they leave brown patches caused by chewing on the blades of grass. It is not uncommon for them to strip an entire lawn or crop field within a few days.
These insects can damage all grass types, including Bermuda and zoysia grass, as well as gardens and fields growing crops, such as corn, beans, sweet potatoes, and strawberries. Army worms can also cause damage to our Florida fruit trees, such as papayas, peaches, and apples.
What Attracts Army Worms to My Lawn?
Army worms are attracted to your yard as it serves as a food source. They are not picky eaters and will devour grass, crops, and tree foliage if it is in their path.
When are Army Worms Active?
Army worms are most active in late summer and early fall. During this time, they feed, mate, and procreate in the late evening and throughout the night. As they are nocturnal, armyworm damage often isn’t discovered until morning.
How to Prevent Army Worms
While there is no way to prevent army worms from coming into your yard, the best thing you can do is be aware.
- Check your grass often for signs of damage.
- Look on the underside of leaves or along the base of plants for rows or clusters of eggs.
- Walk the perimeter of your yard to check for signs of the insects.
- Take immediate action regarding your armyworm treatment.
- Contact your local pest control company right away before the infestation progresses.
How to Get Rid of Army Worms
The best way to treat an armyworm infestation is with commercial-grade pesticide applications. These applications should be applied several times throughout the year to help prevent future infestations.
What Kills Army Worms Naturally?
If you are looking for natural treatments to prevent army worms, several beneficial animals can help you win the war.
- Parasitic wasps—Harmless to humans but feed on garden pests such as army worms.
- Ladybugs—Ladybugs feed on armyworm eggs and other small garden pests.
- Lacewings—Lacewings also feed on their eggs.
- Birds—Birds are the apex predator of army worms at any stage of their life.
Contact Your Local Pest Control Company
If you suspect you have army worms in your yard, don’t wait! These pests can destroy your lawn within days, though it will take months to restore it. To not just protect your lawn from harmful pests, but help it thrive, contact Deans Services! Our experienced lawn care and pest control specialists will work with you to create your own customized lawn care and armyworm treatment plan.