Super-Sod Reminds Homeowners to Be on the Lookout for Fall Armyworms in Their Lawns

July is the time to begin scouting for fall armyworms in the Southeast.

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Armyworm damage

Armyworm damage

If your sod has become discolored or looks like it has been exposed to frost this could be a sign of armyworm damage.

(PRWEB) July 30, 2014

Homeowners, don't let your beautiful new lawn go to the bugs. Armyworms love to eat brand new sod but they don’t originate there. Here are some facts about fall armyworms:

-Fall armyworms are not indigenous to the Southeast and cannot overwinter here.

-They aren't really worms, they are caterpillars.

-The caterpillars are the larval form of a subtropical moth that migrates here from the tropics in late summer. Some years they don't make it here, but when they do they typically arrive in July and can thrive until the first frost.

-They get their name from the caterpillar's behavior of moving across lawns in an army-like fashion.

-Armyworms are particularly attracted to new sod, and new sod is very vulnerable to damage.

-They do all their damage to lawns when they are in the caterpillar (or larvae) stage of their life cycle.

-Armyworm moths lay their egg sacs on homes, fencing, bushes, etc., but rarely do they lay eggs in grass.

-There is no "over the counter" preventative treatment available to homeowners for armyworms in the moth, egg, or pupae stages.

-However, insecticide is available to homeowners for treating when they're in the caterpillar stage. When you see a sign of them, treat your lawn immediately because they can do terrible damage within 24 hours.

How do you know if you have armyworms?

If your sod has become discolored or looks like it has been exposed to frost this could be a sign of armyworm damage. The damage often begins on the edge of the lawn and moves across. Also, a large number of birds in a turf area may be a sign of armyworms since they are an excellent food source for birds.

Test for armyworms with a soap flush: A soap flush is a mixture of 3 tablespoons of liquid dish soap with 1 gallon of water. We find that lemon-scented dish soap is the most effective. Pour the mixture into a 3' x 3' area and watch the action. The soap will agitate the caterpillars' skin and they will come to the surface - you can see them and then you will know to treat for them immediately. We recommend scouting for armyworms from July until the first good frost.

There are an abundance of insecticides available on the market that treat armyworm infestations in the caterpillar/larvae stage. In order to break the life cycle, you must treat more than once. Just because the armyworms have gone to pupae stage does not mean they are gone. They will mature into moths, lay eggs, hatch into caterpillars/larvae, and infest your yard again. Be vigilant and treat multiple times according to the insecticide instructions. If you live in an area prone to infestation, stock up on insecticide and be prepared to defend your yard with treatment when necessary.

Call your local Super-Sod outlet for information on insecticides that treat armyworms - many Super-Sod Outlets carry insecticides or they can recommend a source or service. Remember that whenever you purchase insecticides, be sure to read all insecticide instructions carefully and apply at the application rate recommended on the product label for the pest you are targeting.

For more information on armyworms visit NC State's TurfFiles and University of Florida's Featured Creatures.

Super-Sod is a family-run business that employs experts in turf and horticulture. One of their most popular products has been their Soil3 organic compost, delivered in a cubic yard BigYellowBag, which they make partially from composted grass clippings from their sod production. Super-Sod continues to develop new garden products, foster gardening and landscaping, and always seeks to improve their farming practices, technology, environmental stewardship, and employee knowledge.


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