Monday, July 2, 2012

The Invasion of the Army Worms...YIKES!

While we were gone on our trip, we had an invasion of army worms.  The army worms are UGLY and can ruin  entire neighborhoods!!

Armyworms are a strange pest. The moths responsible for mobilizing the ‘army’ don’t overwinter in the North, just down in milder climes, where the armies of caterpillars are major pests of turfgrass. There are several generations a year down South, where infestations can occur on such a massive scale, reports our turf grass specialist Dr. Nick Christians of Iowa State University, “that you’ll see them reported on the evening news. The lawns appear to actually be moving, and severe outbreaks can cover a hundred mile stretch.”

They feed as they march, eating the tops of grass blades, and can be very damaging—especially down South, where the warm-season grasses that predominate get a much shorter cut than our Northern cool-season grasses. “The lawn looks severely burnt and drought stressed after they’ve passed over it,” explains Nick. If the weather is decent and rains come, the grass can recover, he continues, because—unlike lawn grubs—they don’t damage the root system. “But if armyworms feed on a lawn in the middle of a hot and dry stretch, they can destroy large sections.”

So how do these Southern menaces appear in the North? Our homeowner lives in the ‘somewhat Southern’ Washington DC region, but armyworms have been reported as far North as Massachusetts! “Wind”, explains Nick. “You’ll have the first generation of moths in the air somewhere down South, a big storm whips up around them and they can be blown incredible distances. The next thing you know there’s a report of a ‘moving lawn’ in New Jersey.” And while a marching army can cover vast distances back home, these Oz-borne invasions tend to be highly localized.


 Let me just tell you....when I received a phone call from my friend and fellow blogger, Kae...with this news, I was stunned!!  Kae's son was in charge of lawn duty while we were gone.  Imagine THEIR surprise when they came over and saw this INVASION!!!  I would have been totally creeped out!!!  And she was...

 By the time we arrived home...nearly three weeks later...the worms and their "remains" were all gone...thankfully!!  However, upon closer inspection, we discovered while watering what dead grass we had left...that there are hundreds of MOTHS laying eggs underneath the dead grass.  YIKES!!!  So, further research was done and we have learned that these types of army worms usually come in waves...and the second wave should be coming within the next couple of weeks.  OH JOY.  Not.
 You have to "biggify" the pics to get the FULL effect of these creatures.  It really makes my skin crawl just thinking about it.  I am extremely grateful to Kae and her family and my neighbors who all kept us informed as to what was going on.  Even the DEC was notified!!  The treatment / spray obviously worked as we did not lose our entire lawn...and that COULD have happened had nobody been paying attention.  So glad that none of these things got into the foundation...or inside the house somehow. 

We have been trying to stomp out the moths that are out there, but it appears that they have laid their eggs under the soil already.  

Will keep you posted!!

 This is the yard today...it appears to be growing back...you can see some green.

 Had to put CHLOE in the picture as she was assisting me with photography this afternoon!!
 Miss Chloe is chasing away the birds!!

22 comments:

Mr. Pip said...

Ugh, I've never heard of these creepy things. Yuck!

Your pal, Pip

Daryl Edelstein said...

ugh ... I will no longer whine about the nasty little green worm that ate my morning glories last summer .. we get lots of Miller moths that seem to live in the tree next to the living room window .. a constant source of amusement for Jack .. if only he didnt leave the remains for me ..

Donna said...

OMGGG!! Never heard of them but will definately be on the lookout!
Awful!!
hughugs

♥♥♥ The OP Pack ♥♥♥ said...

Oh that is awful. That would totally gross us out. Hope the next round isn't too bad.


Woos - Phantom, Thunder, Ciara, and Lightning

Ann said...

oh my, I've never heard of those but they would certainly creep me out. I don't think I would be able to set foot on the lawn with them out there

jen said...

ewww! Gross! I have heard of those worms before but never knew so much about them! Thanks for all the detailed information Jeanne!:)
Hope your yard gets back to normal soon!

Tucker The Crestie said...

We've heard of these - can't believe how much damage they do! So sorry! :(

Mitch and Molly said...

OMG, how damaging they are! We've never even heard of them!

Love ya lots,
Mitch and Molly

Two French Bulldogs said...

Yikes! Those things are nutty
Benny & Lily

faye said...

I have a pair of bluebirds and
about 7 cardinals that would be
feasting constantly on those worms...

yuki and rocket said...

agh! now we have the creepy crawlies!! only pest like worm we've ever heard of are grubs, never army worms.

yuki and rocket

Siku Marie, White Dog said...

ICK!!! Nature sometimes has a strange sense of humor. Wish they were gone for good and hope whatever treatment there is works so the next round is the last.

Teddy Bear said...

Wow, those are very icky. We hope they are gone for good.

Love,
Teddy Bear & Sierra

CAITLYNN OLDHAM said...

I have never heard of Army worms! They look very gross! YUCK!

Hound Girl said...

we live in texas, I have seen these but never in masses - we would see one or two here and there but they looked smaller. WOW I was so creeped out seeing them in the masses - that is just crazy.

Kathy said...

Wow! Scary! We had an outbreak in Tulsa about 10 years ago that was devastating - destroyed lawns overnight. These are relatively easy to kill with Sevin or other insecticides, but you must treat REALLY QUICKLY or your lawn may be gone. Best of luck to you! Hope they aren't headed our way!

Remington said...

WOWZERS! I haven't heard of those before....yuck!

D said...

My first time reading about those critters, eeek!

Pamela said...

Wow, what a creepy thing to come home to. I hope you don't mind that I decided not to look at the large version of your pictures.

Au and Target said...

We've never heard of them. They sound WEIRD!

Suka said...

Bizarre! I have never seen nor heard of these buggers! Yuck! Thanks for the information on them. Sorry they got to your lawn and I hope the damage is repairable. You certainly have a beautiful, and large, lawn!

Suka and K

Bassetmomma said...

Oh that is just so creepy! I have never heard of them before. Ick!