Have you noticed mysterious patches of brown grass on your lawn? If so, you might be hosting a new houseguest. If you haven’t already heard, Wichita is currently being infested by an unusual pest: Armyworms! This invasive species can wreak havoc on your lawn, so read on to find out if they are living in your grass and what you can do about it.
What Are Armyworms?
The first thing to know is that Armyworms are not actually worms. The term refers to several species of moth larvae that bury about an inch into the ground to pupate. This stage lasts anywhere from a week to a month, and the larvae can be up to 2 inches in length
Once the larvae transforms into a moth, it’s harmless to your lawn. It will just fly away to repeat the cycle. But in the meantime, the larvae is hungry, and it likes to feast on grass – your grass.
The species currently invading Wichita is called the Fall Armyworm because it usually shows up in fall, though they haven’t appeared in Wichita since the early 2000s. Normally, these little pests stay farther south but seem to have decided to travel north this summer, much to the chagrin of Wichita homeowners.
Typically, Armyworm infestations only last a month or so, but don’t let that short timeline fool you. These pests can destroy a lawn in no time, leaving you with nothing but a brown dirt patch where your beautiful lawn used to be.
Are Armyworms Infesting Your Lawn?
The telltale sign of an Armyworm infestation is brown patches of dead grass in your lawn, which are caused by the Armyworm larvae living under the surface and eating your grass. To be precise, the Armyworms themselves are not killing the grass. Instead, as they eat the grass, your lawn volume thins out, which makes the remaining grass more susceptible to being killed by the summer sun.
So, if your lawn has brown patches of dead grass that you otherwise can’t explain, you might have an Armyworm infestation. To find out for sure, create a mixture of warm, soapy water, pour it onto the brown grass patches, then wait a minute. If there are Armyworms living underground, they will surface when flooded with the soapy concoction.
How to Stop Armyworms
Once you know you have Armyworms living in your lawn, it’s time to take action and fight back. It’s also important to note that size matters. If the Larvae are smaller than ½ inch, they typically can’t do much damage. However, if they are bigger, they need to be wiped out to save your lawn. Unfortunately, the bigger they are, the harder they are to kill.
The best solution is to use insecticide to wipe out the colonies. You can use either granular or liquid insecticide, though we suggest using liquid as it does a much better job. Talk to an expert or contact us to find out exactly which insecticide is best for you and your lawn.
With your insecticide ready, head out in the evening and spray the brown patches. Make sure you fully cover the area to wipe them out. You can even spray your entire lawn as a precaution, though be sure to consider pets or kids that might be out on the grass.
After spraying, wait about 24 hours before watering your grass, just to make sure the insecticide has fully done its job. Once you can water your grass, the dead patches will grow back normally. The damage caused by the Armyworms is only temporary.
Or Just Leave it to the Experts
If all of this seems a little overwhelming, and you would rather just leave it to the professionals, we are here to help. We specialize in all aspects of lawn care including pest control. So, whether you have an Armyworm infestation or any other lawn care mystery, we have the tools and the expertise to get to the bottom of it. Contact us any time for a free quote.