Almost every year in late summer, caterpillars invade turfgrasses across Georgia. Damage to established turf is mostly aesthetic, but newly planted sod or sprigged areas can be severely damaged or even killed.
Several caterpillars can damage turfgrass, but in late summer most of the problems are caused by fall armyworms. Their favorite turf to feed upon is bermudagrass.
Adult armyworm moths are active at night. Females lay eggs in masses of 50 to several hundred. Eggs hatch in a few days, and the young larvae begin to feed on leaf tissue. As the worms grow, they consume entire leaves of grass.
Armyworms are most active early and late in the day, spending the hotter hours down near the soil in the shade. Larvae feed for 2 to 3 weeks before pupating in the soil.
Weather conditions fuel the development of armyworms. Some UGA Cooperative Extension agents report this season as the worst they have seen in 25 years.
Daily observation is key in recognizing fall armyworm damage. Young caterpillars may be present but not causing noticeable damage to the plants. Fall armyworms are usually more active in the cooler parts of the day, but in extremely thick grass they can remain active while under cover. Learn more about armyworms from the UGA Extension.
We carry an effective treatment for armyworm infestation. The product is a curative, preventative and an exciter to get the worms moving to get them in contact with the material. It is not only a contact killer but a systemic as well, so it gets down into the soil to kill grubs that are not developed into the adult stage that you see in the lawns. Please contact us today to get pricing and availability of our treatment programs.