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.
The Armyworm gets its name from its propensity to march side by side with other caterpillars as it searches out food sources. Armyworms are anywhere from 1 to 2 inches in length and striped in green, brown, or black with an off white or cream-colored upside down “Y” on their heads. The recent cooler temperatures and heavy rains in August and September in Dallas and Fort Worth are favorable conditions for Armyworm outbreaks.
Armyworms will feed on a variety of plants, including 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. 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, they are more quickly controlled with synthetic insecticides like bifenthrin and permethrin. This ensures quick knockdown and less damage to your turf.
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!