How To Keep Armyworms Out Of Your Turfgrass In Houston
Armyworms devouring leaves in a garden.

How To Keep Armyworms Out Of Your Turfgrass In Houston

Most people tend to get turfgrass for their home because it gives you a beautiful lawn that’s lush and green, and it’s perfect for children and pets. However, it wouldn't be right if only the pros were listed without the cons.

One of the biggest cons of turfgrass is the fact that it has an incessant need to be mowed and watered. It also requires raking, pulling weeds, and fertilizing. If you really think about it, it’s not that bad– home maintenance is what comes with homeownership, so this is to be expected. One of the biggest cons that many unsuspecting homeowners don’t expect is the emergence of armyworms.

Armyworms? That’s the exact question homeowners ask when they finally find out what’s destroying their lawn, aside from other rodents and pests.

Armyworms got their names based on how they invade lawns in large numbers, similar to a battalion of soldiers, only these soldiers are in a war with your and your lawn, fighting for their next meal. These pests are notorious for destroying lawns, leaving behind large, brown patches of dead grass. If you were ever considering selling your home in the future, the destruction of armyworms could drastically decrease the value of your property just from curb appeal alone, as their paths of destruction are quite unsightly.

The good news about armyworms is that they pose no threats to humans, if there is such a thing. Your lawn and potential gardens, on the other hand, could be in grave danger.

Contact your local Houston pest control if you’re tired of armyworms taking over your lawn. They’re going to be the experts very familiar with pests native to the area, including armyworms.

What Does An Armyworm Look Like?

Armyworms can actually look very different, depending on where they are in their stages of development; you might see them as adults or in their immature larvae stage. Armyworm larvae are actually caterpillars and grow to be around ¾ of an inch in length. Depending on the species, their colors can vary from green to brown or black with red, brown, yellow, green, or red stripes down their sides and backs. The way to truly distinguish them is the inverted “Y” on the tops of their heads.

Adult armyworms are actually moths and are quite hefty, coming in at about 1 ½ inch across. They have forewings and hindwings. Their forewings are dark gray with lighter and darker gray areas. Their hindwings are typically white or pale gray.

To go a little bit deeper into what armyworms look like, you also have to understand that there are different types of armyworms:

  • Fall Armyworms: Fall armyworms have pale brown bodies with dark stripes stretching the length of both sides with a white upside-down “Y” mark on the top of their head. It’s common for this species to be found from July to October; outbreaks typically happen after heavy rain showers.

  • True Armyworms: This species of armyworms can be found east of the Rocky Mountains. At first glance, they have greenish-brown bodies with white stripes and thin orange lines running along each side, four large dark spots on their underside, and a yellowish-orange head.

  • Southern Armyworms: Southern armyworms have dark green bodies, yellow or white stripes running lengthwise, and a brownish-red head.

  • Beet Armyworms: Beet armyworms originated in Asia but can be found on all the continents except Antarctica. The species is pale green with a dark head in a true army uniform fashion.

These armyworm species can be found in Houston except for the southern armyworm, as they’re commonly found in Central and South America and the Caribbean. Nonetheless, regardless of where these pests are commonly found, their destruction is still the same, wreaking havoc on yards all across the globe!

The Life Cycle Of An Armyworm

Armyworms overwinter in the larvae stage when partially developed. It’s not until spring that adult moths migrate north to start their first life cycle. Moths will mate and lay their eggs in masses of 50 to 100, covering them with a fuzzy substance that comes from the female. In just a few days (anywhere from six to 20 days later), the eggs hatch, and small larvae begin their hunt for food. Larvae can actually feed for as long as two to four weeks; however, certain species, like fall armyworms, can feed continuously. This feeding period is what happens before pupating into the soil. It’s also during this period when larvae are most likely to destroy your lawns.

The worms migrate north from late July through early August, feeding on many kinds of crops and grasses. The number of generations that can happen per year varies but can be as many as four to five generations that go through lifecycles in one summer. That’s not good news for you or your lawn.

As most things have to end, so does the lifecycle of armyworms. Getting control over these pests can mean the difference between a healthy lawn and an unsightly one.  It can also mean the difference between a 12% increase in property value and no increase based on curb appeal if you’re looking to sell your home anytime soon.

At Modern Pest Control, we offer lawn pest control services to protect your lawn against the different species of armyworms and other lawn pests. Our lawn care programs are specifically designed to meet the unique needs of your lawn and protect it from destructive pests. If you have armyworms and they’re destroying your lawn, call the professionals over at Modern Pest Control.

Five Tips To Help With Armyworm Control

Armyworms are a problem that will plague homeland business owners every year, so long as you have turfgrass. True enough, turfgrass definitely comes with great benefits, aesthetically, but do the pros really outweigh the cons? When the cons include armyworm infestations, turfgrass quickly becomes a hassle many aren’t too sure they want to deal with, despite its lovely appearance.

It’s not exactly known what causes armyworm infestations. Theories have stated that cool springs and summers that increase moisture levels are the preferred conducive conditions that armyworms thrive in. Then again, it’s also been said that because wasps and flies are natural predators of armyworms, the fact that they don’t like cooler, moist temperatures is what allows armyworm populations to thrive and grow.

What’s even stranger is that armyworm populations fluctuate year to year without any indication. Their population fluctuation can happen every year or ten to 15 years; go figure, right? Nonetheless, armyworms can be quite hard to get rid of without the right approach.

When it comes to armyworm prevention, the first step is to know the warning signs of an infestation. This gives you the knowledge to know exactly what you’re dealing with and how to handle the situation at hand best, to determine whether you need a professional pest control company for treatment if the lawn damage isn’t too severe or just a few store-bought products. If you notice your lawn isn’t as healthy looking as it once was, you could have an armyworm infestation.

Here are some warning signs to look out for:

  • Turfgrass that's brown in certain areas or patches.

  • Leaves that have been chewed up or have small holes in them

  • Physically seeing active armyworms, especially in the early morning.

  • There is an increase in bird populations around your yard, which feed on the armyworms. This actually isn’t a bad thing– they’ll eat the armyworms for you.

  • A cotton, web-like substance on the underside of leaves.

To prevent an armyworm infestation, there are some steps you can take to make your yard as unappealing to them as possible.

These include:

  1. Check plants and landscaping frequently for armyworm presence.

  2. Utilize neem oil. Combine two tablespoons of neem oil and two teaspoons of liquid dish soap with a gallon of water and pour into a spray bottle. Spray the solution over your plants, and armyworms will be deterred from your yard.

  3. Mow the lawn regularly.

  4. Get ongoing pest management services from a certified pest control provider.

  5. Place small birdbaths around your yard, as birds eat armyworms and naturally see a feast and eat the worms out of your yard.

There are lots of factors that can cause an armyworm infestation. Unfortunately, the average homeowner is not prepared to handle such invasive pests independently with the efficiency necessary for complete eradication before severe damage has occurred.

If your lawn is suffering from the presence of armyworms, call Modern Pest Control for removal services.

Professional Armyworm Control For Houston Residents

The first sign of armyworm infestation is usually small patches in your yard that look dried out or are turning brown. These brown, patchy areas will soon consume your yard as the worms grow older and require more green vegetation to survive. At this moment, you will need to call Modern Pest Control.

Founded in 1952, we have been serving Houston and the surrounding areas with quality and professional pest control services. Because we’ve been in the industry for so long, we know all about the pests native to the area, including armyworms.

Our technicians are licensed and certified to treat your yard and landscape with preventive and curative treatments that will keep pests out of your yard and your life.

We have a proven nine-step lawn care program that is tailored to meet your lines needs and usually includes the following:

  • Winterizer and pre-emergent weed prevention applications.

  • To keep the turf strong and healthy, specific applications are February, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, and November.

  • Multiple fertilizer applications are designed specifically for Texas grasses.

  • Organic soil amendments as needed.

  • Lawn insecticide treatments.

You can find our lawn care services under our residential pest control services.

We offer three specific programs for your choosing:

  • Modern Plus: Starting at $34/Month

  • Signature: Starting at $62/Month

  • Signature Plus: Starting at $92/Month

All three services include quarterly pest services to ensure your home is protected, our service guarantee, and year-round protection from ants, roaches, millipedes, crickets, silverfish, pill bugs, and earwigs.

We offer our service guarantee, but we also offer free inspections to our customers. With a free inspection, there’s no excuse to neglect to get your yard inspected for armyworms, especially if you’re noticing the signs of an infestation.

Our main focus is to bring Houston property owners the highest level of armyworm control. We thoroughly inspect your yard and check the lawn for damage, larvae, and other armyworm activity. Once we’ve determined your yard shows signs of armyworm activity, we’ll then treat your lawn. This may include lawn insecticide applications,  fertilizer treatments, organic soil amendments, and more, depending on your lawn’s specific needs and how severe the damage is. 

Always remember that prevention is key here. At the first sign of armyworms or even the moment you notice your yard isn’t looking as healthy as it used to or could look, this is when you call us. Once we treat your lawn, you can implement the preventive measures listed earlier to maintain your yard and keep armyworms and other lawn pests at bay.

By working with us to develop and maintain a healthy, lush yard, you will be able to keep armyworms away. To learn more about these services and schedule a no-obligation inspection, contact Modern Pest Control today.

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