Fall Armyworms in South Florida Lawns: Everything You Need to Know
Fall armyworms might sound like something you don’t have to worry about in the Sunshine State, but in South Florida, these little critters can cause big trouble for lawns. In fact, armyworm problems plague areas of the southeast and outbreaks normally begin in early fall. We’ve compiled everything you need to know about fall armyworms, spotting signs of armyworm damage, and how to keep your Florida lawn looking its best.
What Do Armyworms Look Like?
Armyworms aren’t your typical worms. They’re caterpillars and can be sneaky. These lawn pests have dark green or brown bodies with stripes along their sides. When they’re small, they’re about the size of a matchstick, but as they munch away on your lawn, they can grow up to about an inch and a half long. Armyworm caterpillars are the larvae of an adult moth species. Armyworms prefer Bermuda and St. Augustine grass types, making lawns in Miami a #1 vacation spot.
How to Spot Signs of Armyworm Damage in Your Florida Lawn
If you start noticing your lawn looking like it’s seen better days, it might be an armyworm problem. Keep an eye out for brown patches or grass blades that look like they’ve been chewed on. Sometimes, you might even see these little critters crawling around, especially during the early morning or late afternoon. Appropriately named, armyworms march through lawns in large numbers, and can sometimes give the grass the illusion that it’s moving as they parade through. They feed on the grass blade, so you may need to take a closer look to see chewed or frayed grass, like what you would see after mowing with dull blades. Another sign of armyworms can be the increased presence of birds or wasps on the lawn. They may be there because they’re feeding on armyworms in your grass.
The Soapy Water Check
An easy way to check for armyworms in your grass is by using a soapy water mixture. Mix a tablespoon of dish soap with about one gallon of water and pour the soapy water over an area you suspect an infestation. If armyworm larvae are present in the thatch, they will come to the surface. This method may also reveal other insects like mole crickets or sod webworms.
How to Treat Armyworms in Florida
Once you’ve confirmed you have an armyworm problem, you’ll need a quick solution. Armyworm damage happens fast and it’s crucial to react quickly when they’re spotted in your turfgrass. While there are natural remedies available to homeowners, they aren’t always the quickest, end-all solution to an armyworm infestation.
Insecticides for Armyworm Control
One method is using insecticides specifically designed to target these lawn pests. Be sure to follow the label instructions carefully and apply them when the armyworms are most active for the best results. If you aren’t comfortable with the DIY route, you may want to contact a professional for lawn pest control in the Miami area. Pest management can be complicated and hiring a local company is the best way to ensure your lawn is protected from severe damage.
Another method is to introduce natural predators or parasites that feast on these armyworms. You can also consider natural solutions like neem oil or Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), a bacteria that’s safe for plants but fatal for armyworms. However, that won’t be successful when they’re fully matured.
Professional Lawn Pest Control in the Miami Area
If you notice armyworms in your South Florida lawn, One Two Tree is a lawn pest control provider you can trust. Since [year], we’ve provided lawn care services and pest management to homeowners in the Greater Miami area. We can provide peace of mind knowing your lawn is protected from damaging insects during any season of the year. In addition to pest control, we offer fertilization and weed control, lawn aeration, and tree services in Miami. We proudly service Fort Lauderdale, Pompano Beach, Pembroke Pines, Doral, Coral Gables, and surrounding areas. Contact us today for a free quote!