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Lawn care specialist discusses impact of armyworms on lawns

Published: Sep. 1, 2021 at 5:40 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 1, 2021 at 6:48 PM EDT
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CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WWBT) - If you’re noticing brown patches spread rapidly on your lawn, you might be dealing with armyworms.

According to the Virginia Cooperative Extension Office in Powhatan, they have been receiving multiple calls about armyworm infestations in turfgrass.

In their Facebook post, the office says Virginia Tech’s entomology specialists, some VCE agents and golf course superintendents have reported armyworms in lawns and golf courses. The office says this outbreak is earlier than usual and could potentially lead to one of the heaviest pest problems they’ve experienced from this armyworm in Virginia

Robby Michael, a lawn care specialist, says he’s been getting nonstop calls about armyworms.

He says they look like caterpillars and can multiply rapidly.

“A female can have 15 to 2,000 eggs, and she can mate three times a day,” said Michael.

Michael says these armyworms can destroy yards and leave their damaging mark on your lawn.

“They can eat a football field in a day,” he said. “They can eat your yard. In two days, it will be totally brown.

Michael says you can do a test at home to see if you’re dealing with an armyworm infestation by using a bucket of water and soap.

“Fill a bucket up, at least a three-gallon, with warm water. Add a tablespoon of Dawn to it and slowly stir it. Don’t make bubbles or anything,” he said. “Take the bucket and dump it on the yard and wait. I’ve waited one second, two seconds and they start coming up to the ground.”

Michael says if you see five armyworms come up within a square foot of your lawn, you’re dealing with an infestation.

To get rid of them, Michael says certain insecticides can get the job done.

“Liquid works fast,” Michael said. “I spray the liquid down. In six hours, they are dead.”

The Virginia Cooperative Extension Office in Powhatan also says people should look out for pesticides with certain ingredients to get the job done. They urge people to look for products with one of the following active ingredients: azadirachtin, Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki (Bt), bifenthrin, carbaryl, chlorantraniliprole, clothianidin, cyfluthrin, deltamethrin, dinotefuron, halofenozide, lambda-cyhalothrin, permethrin, spinosad, or trichlorfon.

They also say most lawns will recover once treatment is done, but overseeding may need to be done.

Copyright 2021 WWBT. All rights reserved.

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