Army Worm

An Army worm found in a DeSoto County resident’s yard.

Army worms have marched their way back to DeSoto County over the last few weeks and caused several lawns to be significantly damaged. 

Joy Anderson with the Mississippi State University Extension Center of DeSoto County said the army worms have already been an issue in other parts of the state.

“They’ve been marching forward through the state,” Anderson said. “They’ve now reached DeSoto County and it's affecting homeowners, hay producers, turf managers, and cattlemen.” 

Anderson said the infestations can be treated by professional lawn services or homeowners. 

“Commercial applicators can sometimes be the best option for treating, but homeowners might need to look into applying treatment themselves due to increased demand for professionals,” 

Although army worms will cause considerate damage, Anderson said most lawns are able to bounce back. 

“Well established lawns even with significant damage usually grows back,” Anderson said. “Watering, fertilizing, and weed control are all important when trying to revitalize your yard.” 

In regards to certain chemicals to get rid of army worms, Anderson said granules are not the best. 

“We don’t recommend granules,” Anderson said. “They drop to the ground and insects do not come into contact with them. Sprays work much better.” 

According to the Mississippi State Extension Service’s army worms publication, this year’s army worms are proving to be more stubborn than in the past. 

“In the past, a pyrethroid insecticide, such as bifenthrin (Ortho Bug-B-Gon) or permethrin has worked well against these in the home lawn.This year we are hearing some reports of fall army worms being hard to kill with pyrethroids alone,” according to MSU Extension Service.

There are other chemicals homeowners can try to rid their yards of the worms. 

“You can still try the bifenthrin first, but if it does not work, then a Spinosad product (GreenLight, Bonide, Monterey, and others sell this) should work better,” according to MSU Extension’s publication. 

Anderson said the worms are easy to spot and it is important that homeowners look for the worms. They appear as caterpillars with a dark green and black body. 

“People need to walk out in their yard and look for them,” Anderson said. “They’ll eat most types of grass, but they’re very fond of Bermuda grass.”

The army worms will not hang around forever. Anderson said when temperatures start to drop, residents can expect the worms to leave. 

“The population peaks and then starts to go down as the weather gets cooler,” Anderson said.

More information on treating for army worms can be found through Mississippi State University Extension Service’s Facebook page.

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