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Armyworms likely to continue destruction of Kentucky lawns until first freeze

Insects called armyworms come around Kentucky every year during late summer and fall. But there...
Insects called armyworms come around Kentucky every year during late summer and fall. But there is some concern as reports of them have been higher this year than usual.(WKYT)
Published: Sep. 10, 2021 at 3:54 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Two weeks ago, we reported on armyworms taking over lawns across the Commonwealth. Until the first freeze, they will continue to create havoc on local yards.

“We have about 7,500 customers and we’ve treated close to 1,000 lawns,” said Phil Vanwingerden. “So, as a percentage, it’s relatively high.”

Vanwingerden is technical manager for Weed Man Lawn Care. He says since we spoke to them, most armyworms have gone from the caterpillar stage to the moth stage. While that’s better for lawns, they will now lay eggs to restart the cycle.

“You definitely need to have an insect control put on your lawn,” Vanwingerden said. “So, we are doing two applications. So, we come out and put one application to kill off what’s currently in their lawn and also as a preventer.”

In the mean time, if you see the caterpillars or their fuzzy egg sacks in your lawn you can get rid of them manually.

“You can just scrape them off and squish them, you can spray them down with soapy water if you see small caterpillars emerging from it,” said Jonathan Larson, extension entomologist at UK. “You can do anything you can to eliminate that very prone stage.

Larson says that once the first freeze of the season hits that it should wipe them all out.

“We are not going to see these again in the spring here in Kentucky and not the ones that are here at least,” Larson said. “They do not over winter in this state they cannot survive our particular brand of winter.”

Until that freeze, which is typically in mid-October, you can treat your yard with pesticides that you can get at most big name stores. If you see them in your yard, and are not sure what they are or what to do, you can call a local pest control or lawn care company.

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