Sometimes, during the late summer months, armyworms can invade turf grass in the southeast. The damage to established turf is mostly aesthetic, but newly sodded or sprigged areas can be more severely damaged. While there are several caterpillars that can damage turf grass, in late summer most of the problems are from armyworms. Their favorite turf to feed upon is Bermuda grass.
Armyworms are most active early and late in the day, spending the hotter hours down hear the soil in the shade. Larvae feed for 2-3 weeks before pupating in the soil. Moths emerge 10-14 days later. Armyworms look like a typical caterpillar. The entire life cycle from egg to moth takes about 28 days in the warm weather of August and September. If there is any doubt about whether worms are present, pouring soapy water on the grass (1/2 oz. dishwashing soap/gallon of water) will bring them up very quickly.
Control of armyworms and other turf caterpillars is relatively simple once the problem is identified. We can apply an insecticide for you. We can provide this service for you. The cost is the same as your regular lawn care applications.
It is not necessary to water after the application, but please do not cut your grass for 1-3 days after the service is completed.
Remember, armyworms will not kill an established lawn, but those with newly sodded turf should be more cautious when you see them active in the turf.