Insect invasion: Armyworms are coming for lawns

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They are small, they are hungry, and they come to the US for lawns

Fall armyworms are on the rise, coloring the green turf in the northeast, midwest, south, and southwest brown.

NORTH-EAST RESIDENTS ARE REPORTED TO DESTROY INVASIVE INSECTS

According to The Smithsonian Magazine, insects are attacking at an “unprecedented” rate due to weather patterns.

The seasonal armyworms, according to the publication, can travel up to 800 miles in 24 hours, get into the jet stream, and fall down.

Several states are already reporting widespread and intense outbreaks.

Trap army worm Spodoptera frugiperda (JE Smith, 1797) on the corn leaf

Trap army worm Spodoptera frugiperda (JE Smith, 1797) on the corn leaf
(iStock)

According to Aggie Turf of Texas A&M, the female armyworms can lay up to 1,000 eggs en masse on suitable host plants or other indiscriminate surfaces.

With four life stages – the egg, the larva, the pupa and the adult butterflies – armyworms fly and mate at night.

According to the university, the development from egg to adult larva takes two to three weeks before the larvae burrow into the ground and hatch as adults up to two weeks later.

Several generations of armyworms occur every year.

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Damage caused by the pests initially appears like drought stress when the larvae of the army worm strip tissue from the lawn leaves.

“Damage can initially resemble drought stress, but leads to complete loss of leaves if the number is sufficient and the lawn grass is left untreated. Sometimes there can also be a clear line between damaged and undamaged areas, ”says the Aggie Turf website. “Healthy and actively growing Bermuda grass typically recovers after infestation and defoliation due to its aggressive, rhizomatous and runners-forming habit. However, newly established tufted grasses such as ryegrass or fescue can be stunted or killed by feeding army worms. “

Armyworms attack many different types of plants – especially when there is a shortage of food.

Due to the rapid destruction of the pest, experts advise careful monitoring.

Predators, parasites, and diseases work against armyworms – most actively in the early morning or late evening – and the approximately 1.5-inch long caterpillars can be controlled with specific insecticides such as halofenocide and spinosad.

“Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) products are widespread and selectively control small armyworm larvae without harming beneficial insects; however, Bt residues do not last longer than 1-2 days on lawns. Common armyworm insecticides in lawns include bifenthrin, carbaryl, esfenvalerate , Permethrin, and others, “states Texas A&M AgriLife Extension.

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However, the insects are resilient.

“Watch out for a second round of eggs, then attack when they hatch. Unfortunately, your weed is as good as gone no matter what, ”warned Smithsonian Magazine.