How To Get Rid Of Army Worms
May 2, 2022

How To Get Rid Of Army Worms

In the last few summers army worms have become more and more active, destroying lawns across the country, including right here in Oklahoma. To help you identify these destructive pests and the damage they cause, our team put together this guide to army worms.

army worm in tulsa, oklahoma

What are army worms?

Army worms are one of the most destructive pests that appear every fall as if by clockwork and can wreak havoc on your lawn if they are not handled quickly. While commonly known as “army worm”, these pests aren’t worms at all, but rather the larvae of a common brown moth, and before the army worms turn into full-grown moths, they go through their voracious eating phase. 

What does an army worm look like?
Army worms are easily recognizable in your yard—be on the lookout for larvae that are around 1.5 to 2 inches in length, with a distinctive inverted “Y” mark on their head. They are usually covered in a variety of different colored stripes including red, green, brown, or yellow. 

What do army worms eat?
The army worm’s diet consists of any and all green foliage that it can find, but they specifically love your garden variety grass. They will chew through your blades of grass, often leaving them ragged, and giving them a kind of windowpane look, which is a textbook example of an army worm infestation. 

When are army worms active?
Adult moths are, predictably, most active during the night, which is when they can lay up 2,000 eggs in their lifetime. The larvae will begin to become active in the late summer or early fall and tend to come out of hiding around dusk to eat all through the night. 

Where do army worms come from?
Native to North America, army worms can be found anywhere east of the Rockies and even ranging up to southern Canada. As an invasive species across the world, they have managed to spread around the globe and cause untold billions worth of damage to crops around the world. These insects cannot survive in freezing temperatures, so throughout the winter, they will only survive in the warmest areas of the US including Texas and Florida. 

Army worm damage

Army worm damage is relatively easy to notice, but can sometimes be confused with regular lawn damage. Small brown spots may begin appearing in your yard and grass and leaves will begin to show noticeable chewing on the blades and edges. If the worms progress, your lawn can quickly turn completely brown, making the grass look dormant, but on closer inspection, you will see that the grass has been eaten away almost completely. 

How to prevent army worms

The single most important step in defending your lawn from army worms is vigilance and monitoring. You should check your lawn periodically for any sign of larvae appearing so that if you do unfortunately find worms, you can act before they become a problem. 

Luckily, a proper lawn care routine can also be very effective when defending against an army worm infestation. Regular watering, aeration, and mowing of your grass to an appropriate height are all great ways of preventing the lawn pests from getting a foothold in your turf. Keeping your yard weed-free and healthy will also make it a lot easier to spot the first signs of army worm damage.

How to get rid of army worms

If you notice some of the signs of army worm infestation, or you see the larvae themselves, then it’s important to act immediately. There are numerous different methods, both chemical and natural, when attempting to remove army worms on your own. Some potential methods are as follows: 

  • Soap and Water
    A gallon of water with a cup of dish soap, mixed together and then spread over your lawn. This mixture creates an impermeable layer that draws the worms to the surface during the day which makes them a very attractive meal for birds and other natural predators. 
  • Garlic and Pepper Spray
    A steeped mixture of garlic and red chili flakes steeped in water overnight. This will make your very own homemade insecticide which can be sprayed over the worms to kill them whilst keeping your plants safe. 
  • Neem Oil
    A classic, natural do-it-all insecticide is also of use when trying to remove army worms from your yard. A neem oil and water combination can be sprayed over your yard both as a preventative measure and also as a method of removing any active worm infestation. The only note with this method is to make sure that you are liberal in its application, especially following any heavy rainfall.
  • Pesticides
    You can also go to your local hardware store and pick up some pesticides that are designed to specifically target armyworms.

While you may choose to try any of these DIY treatments, they don’t tend to be very effective. To ensure you save what is left of your lawn and prevent the pests from spreading into your neighbor’s yard, call a professional right away!

Nutri-Green offers effective and fast relief. Our teams of talented technicians have the experience, expertise, and equipment to get rid of army worms for good. What’s more, we also offer lawn care treatment plans to help to repair the damage done to your lawn and help your grass thrive once again. 

Contact us today to schedule your army worm treatment!

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