Fall Armyworms Invade Yards, Pastures

Sep 27, 2012

Thanks to this summer's historic drought fall armyworms have invaded and are destroying yards and pastures in McCracken County.

Agriculture Extension Agent Doug Wilson said he has received calls about the hungry caterpillars for several weeks. While most of the calls came from homeowners, Wilson did visit a farm infested with the armyworms.

“It was just really odd looking," he said. "They came at this Bermuda grass field about 2 or 3 acres, and it looked just like it did during the drought. I mean, it was gray or brown. They had eaten it down to the ground.”

The pests thrive in periods of drought and usually appear in the early fall. Yard damage can take place in just one night with the armyworms leaving large brown spots where there was once lush grass.

Wilson says recent rains should allow a quick recovery, but he suggests a nitrogen treatment for pastures that have sustained major damage.