ARMY worm season is here again

Tuesday, May 22nd 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Armyworms launched an attack on Green Country lawns last year. Word is they're planning a second assault this year. Those who know say about half the moths you're seeing now in your yard are ready to lay the eggs of the next generation of voracious lawn munchers.

KOTV's Donn Robertson offers some counter-intelligence. The army worm moths have only a couple of weeks to prepare for the next wave of reproduction, they're getting nectar so they can lay their eggs, within a week to ten days, those eggs become army worms. Scott Williams, Binding Stevens: “Each time they lay eggs, they can lay about one thousand."

Last summer the armyworms hit before people could react, they left their mark on many lawns. Binding Stevens worker: “It won't hurt any of your plants or birds." They attacked Gil Knecht's yard. He's now getting advice, trying to stay off an attack. He has plenty of moths hangin' around the house. Knecht: "That's the first thing I though of, will we have another infestation." Scott Williams, Binding Stevens: "We haven't seen this many moths in ages, so we could be in a real bad year for army worms." Entomologists say the moths fly in from the south. They say there is so many this year because this past winter killed off many of their predators. They also say the moths thrive in cool wet weather.

Entomologists say insecticides aren't going to get the moths, so you have to wait until the eggs hatch. Bruce Peverley, OSU Extension: "We'll get outbreaks in large numbers and they work very quickly so the thing to is watch, be aware, be looking on a daily basis." Williams: "Be looking for those itty bitty army worms, and as soon as you see them make sure and spray." Gil Knecht already has his formula with pyrethrums in it, he's ready for them to hatch, and this time he will protect his lawn. Knecht: "It's rebuilt and looks real nice, I don't want to lose it again."

Entomologists say it will be difficult to predict when the moth's eggs will become armyworms, but if you keep a keen eye, you can stop their surge. Entomologists say the armyworm moths that are here now are a different species than the ones that hit late last summer.