Bill has been working on lawns since 1996 and we have never seen any issues with armyworms in our part of Virginia until now. We are starting to get phone calls and emails from customers over the weekend, as are other mowing companies and others that we network with in the lawn industry, who are concerned because large sections of their lawns are turning brown in a matter of days. Armyworms have unfortunately been found in our area.
Important things that we have learned – this is an unexpected outbreak in our area of Virginia. We are not sure if this huge outbreak will be the new normal. Hurricane season definitely helped pushing populations from the Caribbean. (Female Armyworms do not overwinter in VA).
As many may not have heard of armyworms before, there is quite a lot of information that you will find online if you do a search. The first sign of armyworm activity takes place in summer and early fall with patches of brown grass. The grass blades will look chewed and you may even see caterpillars in your lawn. Lawns can turn brown in a matter of days from the caterpillars eating the grass blades.
If you see several armyworms please let us know, as that would indicate a larger quantity of them in your lawn and need for treatment to break the life cycle. You may also see more bird or other animal activity in your lawns as they eat the caterpillars. Fortunately they do not seem to damage the root system, as they are surface feeders. In most cases lawns will rebound with proper lawn care with fertilization and aeration and over seeding and time.
For those customers who elected our summer insect control application, one of the two ingredients that we use in that application does kill armyworms, but its residual effects only lasts up to 21 days on grass.
Please feel free to email or call Allison in the office (540-406-1767) if you have any questions. We are trying to rearrange our scheduling to get these emergency applications done as quickly as possible as we work around previously scheduled work and Mother Nature with what rain may be headed our way. The emergency armyworm application would be the same price as your late summer application price.
We are very appreciative of your flexibility and patience as our phone is ringing non-stop and emails are pouring in about need for service. This has unexpectedly hit our area very hard, and we are being proactive with our customers since this is a new curveball from Mother Nature that we have never experienced in our part of Virginia before.