Armyworms invade North Alabama lawns

Published: Aug. 23, 2021 at 10:08 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - You may not be able to see them from your porch, but get out on your lawn, and you can’t miss them! Hoards of hungry invaders are dining on and destroying yards across the Tennessee Valley.

They’re called armyworms.

“I got up the next morning, and the whole yard was gone,” said Barry Key.

Key lives in the Clearwater subdivision in Hampton Cove. Four days ago, he discovered armyworms in his front yard after his neighbor notified him about them.

“I came out, and I did check, and in the front yard, there were a couple of places about the size of a pie plate,” said Key.

In less than 24 hours, the grass in his front yard was brown from the destruction of armyworms. Armyworms look like caterpillars with long stripes and can be seen marching across lawns. They cause damage by chewing plant tissue.

Key tried to contact his local lawn company but was unable to receive service due to the high call volume of people requesting service.

“I called our lawn service we had been with for years, and I thought we would get preference, and that was last Thursday. They told me they would come today, so I went and got something myself,” said Key.

Marcus Garner with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System said they have received more than 50 calls from homeowners in Madison County just like Key’s.

He said armyworms have been here for years and are brought in from people bringing in sod from other areas.

“The weather right now is conducive for armyworms. You have the rain showers, and the humidity outside, and Madison County has clay soil,” said Garner.

Garner said as a solution armyworms can be treated with insecticides.

If you have animals, he said you should purchase organic insecticides to protect your pets.

If you have armyworms, your grass will grow back next year. If you need any chemical spray, you can check your local hardware store.

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