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Battling Armyworms in Southern Lawns

Before and after pictures of a lawn that's been treated for armyworms.

Armyworms nest in the thatch of turfgrass lawns. If you catch them early enough, they’re a minor disturbance. But once they take hold–particularly in states across the southern rim of the nation–their numbers can explode. These sneaky pests hide beneath the surface of your lawn by day, emerging only at night to gnaw on blades of grass. If your grass looks brown or blighted, you should test to see if armyworms have set up summer quarters in your lawn.

What Are Fall Armyworms?

So-called Fall Armyworms (Spodoptera frugipeda) are really caterpillars. They’re typically one and a half inches long and have a distinctive series of white stripes on their heads, culminating in a single line to form a “Y.” Armyworms particularly delight in dining on St. Augustine grass and Bermuda grass, but also feed on cool-season lawns of fine fescue, ryegrass, bentgrass, and bluegrass and have been known to infest Zoysia grass as well. 

Detecting and Treating Armyworms in Your Lawn

Since these caterpillars hide by day, you may be challenged in detecting them. Consider calling in a local lawn care professional for an assessment. You may find birds eating the worms in small sections of your lawn. One method for drawing the worms to the surface is to apply soapy water, between one-half ounce and an ounce of dishwashing liquid to one gallon of water, to your lawn. The gray-green worms should come to the surface right away. It’s a good idea to mow your lawn and wet the grass with soapy water to draw the bugs to the surface where they can be eradicated. Don’t mow again for at least three days. 

However, getting rid of armyworms on your own can be difficult, which is why we recommend preventive treatment to help you control armyworms before they become a major eyesore. Got lawn? Tree & Turf Care offers an insecticide treatment to combat armyworms. After application in the spring (usually in April or May), this treatment works its way into the soil and roots, and then into the plant’s stem, to provide protection below the surface. In addition to armyworms, our treatment provides season-long protection from other pests like billbugs and black cutworms. 

Contact Your Local Lawn Care Professionals

Getting rid of armyworms on your own can be difficult. Contact your local lawn care professionals at got lawn? for expert help in getting rid of these pests. Contact us today at 770-468-2847 and see how you can get started.

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