Are you seeing a large volume of small caterpillars crawling around in your lawn and on your hardscapes around your home in Dallas or Fort Worth lately? It’s very likely you are experiencing an infestation of Armyworms! These little insects pose a threat to your lawn and landscape as they feed on the leaf tissue of your lawn and other ornamentals.
In 2021, the Dallas- Fort Worth area is seeing a major infestation of Armyworms in residential lawns.
The Armyworm gets its name because hundreds of them march side-by-side to march side by side, like an army, searching out food sources. Armyworms are anywhere from 1 to 2 inches in length and can easily be mistaken for a caterpillar.
They can be identified by their stripes which can be green, brown, or black with an off white or cream-colored upside down “Y” on their heads. Armyworms are most often spotted after cooler temperatures and heavy rains like we experienced in June and early-July in Dallas and Fort Worth.
While it is possible to see Armyworms in Saint Augustine, it is unlikely they will feed on it. Armyworms will feed on a variety of plants, but they prefer warm season turfgrasses like Bermuda.
The smaller caterpillars will start feeding on the lower section of the leaf blade and as they mature will move up higher on the blades to feed. The beginning stages of the caterpillars do less damage to your lawn than the later stage caterpillars. These later stage caterpillars will eat the green leaf tissue of your turf, leaving behind a clear husk – known as a “window pane” effect.
Eventually you will notice the leaf tissue is turning brown as they damage the entire leaf blade. The damage will often resemble drought stress. Even though they will feed any time of day or night, they tend to be most active in the morning and evening hours when the temperatures are lower.
Though the Armyworm has many natural enemies like wasps, flies, ground beetles, birds, skunks, and rodents, when they come in outbreaks like the Dallas Fort Worth area is experiencing they are best controlled with synthetic insecticides like bifenthrin and permethrin.
This ensures quick knockdown and less damage to your turf. It only takes days before a beautiful lawn is left brown and lifeless, so it is important to act immediately!
If you’re currently experiencing an outbreak don’t wait – call us today and we will schedule a visit to treat your lawn right away!