How to Get Rid of Armyworms in Your North Carolina Lawn
The fall armyworm is a chronic pest in many areas of the Southeast, including some parts of North Carolina. Although they look like a harmless caterpillar, armyworms in North Carolina unchecked and untreated can infest lawns and destroy your lawn.
Dealing with an infestation is frustrating for homeowners, especially if you don’t notice the activity right way. To control armyworms, it’s important to first understand the signs of an infestation, what armyworms look like, and when they’re most active.
What are Armyworms?
Armyworms are the larvae of a moth, and they’re sometimes known for invading a lawn in large numbers, like an “army.” Despite the name, armyworm larvae resemble a caterpillar versus a worm.
There are several species of armyworms, but the Fall armyworm is the most common species found in North Carolina.
Armyworm larvae are green, tan, brown or black, and their head is marked with a yellow inverted “Y.” Full-grown armyworms are one to two inches long. They can be identified by a series of green, yellow or brown stripes and dots down the length of their body.
Why are Armyworms a Challenge for North Carolina Lawns?
Armyworms in North Carolina mostly feed at night or early in the morning, you may not notice them right away. Some signs of an armyworm infestation include:
Rapidly thinning turf areas
Browning patches of grass that take on a drought-like appearance
Increased bird activity on your lawn.
When are Armyworms a Problem for Lawns?
As the name implies, fall armyworms are most active in the early fall. During most of the year, parasites reduce armyworm larvae down to moderate numbers. Because parasites aren't as effective at controlling armyworms during certain weather, you may see an abundance of armyworms after a cold, wet spring.
Armyworms become more of a problem during dry, hot weather due to the favorable conditions in which they thrive.
How to Get Rid of Armyworms
The sooner you identify and treat an armyworm problem, the more successful your results will be. If you think you’re dealing with an armyworm infestation, contact your lawn care company immediately so they can inspect and identify any armyworm activity.
You can perform a soapy water test, which involves mixing a few squirts of dish soap into a quart of water, then pouring the mixture onto a small area of grass. If armyworms are present, they will rise to the surface.
For lawns that have already experienced damage due to armyworms, a lawn care company will apply a curative treatmentment meant to eliminate the existing armyworm population.
Unfortunately, sometimes homeowners don’t notice armyworms until extensive damage is already done. In this situation, consult with your lawn care company on which lawn care treatments will help improve the health of your grass. Seeding the damaged areas will help your lawn recover and fill in these areas.
If you need help controlling armyworms or you’re worried you may be dealing with an infestation, the best thing you can do is to contact a lawn care company, such as Weed Man, immediately. They will come to your home, inspect your lawn and provide you with recommendations on how to get rid of armyworms.
At Weed Man, we offer armyworm control and other lawn care services to the Raleigh, NC area. Learn more about how Weed Man can help you achieve a greener and healthier lawn by requesting a free quote, or call us at 919-552-1515.
Image Sources: fall armyworm, armyworms marching