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Armyworms Assaulting Green Country Lawns

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With more rain and cooler temperatures this summer, it's one of the worst years for the pests in more than a decade, and the fight will last until the first frost. With more rain and cooler temperatures this summer, it's one of the worst years for the pests in more than a decade, and the fight will last until the first frost.
Tom Lippert just put in a brand new Fescue yard and everything was going fine, but now it’s a different story. Tom Lippert just put in a brand new Fescue yard and everything was going fine, but now it’s a different story.
80 percent of the damage caused by armyworms happens in the final two days of their feeding. 80 percent of the damage caused by armyworms happens in the final two days of their feeding.
Benjamin Allen with Lawn America said they're getting tons of calls about the armyworms. Benjamin Allen with Lawn America said they're getting tons of calls about the armyworms.
BIXBY, Oklahoma -

An infestation is turning Green Country brown; that usually happens this time of year because of drought, but armyworms are currently to blame. With more rain and cooler temperatures this summer, it's one of the worst years for the pests in more than a decade, and the fight will last until the first frost.

Tom Lippert just put in a brand new Fescue yard and everything was going fine, but now it's a different story.

"Absolutely beautiful, until about two days ago,” he said. “And it just starts getting yellow and yellower and I thought ‘maybe I'm not watering it enough.'"

He was watering enough, and doing everything right. Turns out, it's armyworms, and his yard is the mess hall.

8/26/2014 Related Story: Armyworms Invading Some Green Country Lawns

"You can see the yard just crawl with worms,” Lippert said.

The armyworms come from eggs laid by migrating moths each summer, but this year is the worst assault in quite some time.

Benjamin Allen with Lawn America said they're getting tons of calls about the armyworms.

"With Bermuda lawns and Fescue lawns it will chew it down almost to the ground,” Allen said.

Crews are spraying to get rid of the hungry pests.

"With every life cycle every moth that lays its eggs, within a week, week and a half, we have another fresh set of worms,” said Allen.

So their population keeps building unless something is done about them; and each moth can lay 2,000 eggs.

The key is to catch them early. 80 percent of the damage caused by armyworms happens in the final two days of their feeding, before they burrow to later become moths.

"They can consume an entire lawn in a 24 hour period,” Allen said.

That's about how long it took the worms to eat up Lippert's Fescue.

"They just eat up the yard,” he said.

The good news is the grass doesn't die and will come back, but it might take over-seeding next year to get it looking good again.

There are plenty of insecticides you can buy to treat your yard, just check the labels, but liquids work best since granular insecticides take longer to take effect.

You should delay watering and mowing for about 24 hours to allow the insecticide enough time to do its job. 

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